Solar Panels, aka solar modules, are not any where near as complicated as everyone tries to make them. You will read all the great things that solar modules are made of and how one uses less of one thing or the other which makes them better. And then another brand uses more of something to make theirs better. This all might matter in extremes like outer space, but here on Earth they are really all about the same to the home owner. All or 99% of solar modules have a 20 to 25 year warranty and all are so close to the same size per watt that it don’t matter at all.
If you are putting a solar module on a boat or an RV or something portable, then you still don’t care as much of what they are made out of. As long as it is mounted in a way that will be strong enough to handle what you will be using it for. Modules for your home do not require an extra large frame because they are normally mounted to a racking system that is either, mounted in concrete or fixed to the roof of your home. If it is mounted on an RV it should be mounted in a way the wind can't get under it.
There are thin film solar panels and even painted on modules that I guess have never made it to the market. No need for these anyway unless you are going to be bending them around corners which is not required unless you are building a solar powered car, boat or air plane. Thin Film is very useful if you are on a camping trip and want to roll or fold them up for storage. Great for battery charging on laptops, cell phones and IPods.
You can mix your solar panels and brands. As long as all solar panels are rated at the same voltage and you are wiring in parallel. The amps will add in parallel so the panel amps will not matter. Only the voltage has to be the same. The solar modules could be split up but there is no need to have two or three charge controllers when one will do the job with no voltage or amp loss from the solar modules.
If you are wiring the modules in series then the voltage don’t matter. Because the voltage will add. But all solar modules must have the same amp rating. In series the amps will be the amp rating of the smallest rated panel so the amps have to be the same.
Just for the looks of it. If you have 2 solar panels of one brand and 2 of another brand you should mount them apart from each other. But that is only for looks. You will notice that some homes have one brand or type of solar modules on the top of the house and then 4 or maybe 8 on a pole in the yard of smaller or larger or even other brands. They are all still wired to the same electrical system.
Sum it up:
You can mix match the solar panels if you are building amps, as long as you keep the voltage rating the same and wired in parallel.
You can mix match the solar panel if you are building voltage, as long as you keep the amp ratting the same and are wired in series.
Heavy frames on panels are only needed when the panels are going to be mobile, Like on Boats and RVs. Most have a wind rating of over 100 MPH heavy frames or not.
The warranty is 20 to 25 years on panels and size per watt is very close to the same, so it don’t matter what they are made of. (Chevy, Ford and Dodge all make trucks and they all start and take you there and back so a truck is a truck right? Just have to get the right size of truck. Most all solar modules are made in the same factory, So it is the same for modules as it is for most anything else. Just pick the brand and size you need for your install)
A lot of people don’t know, the hotter the solar panel gets, the less power they will put out. The colder the solar panels are the more power you get.
Solar Panels are the easiest part of the whole solar power system. Pretty much just pick the ones you like.