You are here: Products

SolarWall® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below you will find answers to some of the most common questions concerning a SolarWall® system.


Questions and Answers

Why should I buy SolarWall®?

Many reasons:

  • SolarWall heats air for free providing thirty or more years of free heating
  • SolarWall can improve indoor air quality since more fresh air can be brought into the building without increasing heating costs. New ventilation codes require more air to solve sick building syndrome and SolarWall heats this air for free.
  • SolarWall can displace large amounts of energy, and therefore it has a high contribution value to reducing CO2 emissions.
  • SolarWall is maintenance free and has no moving parts
  • SolarWall is non polluting and uses renewable energy.
  • Solar heating could become mandatory for some government departments, which are committed to lowering greenhouse gases or solving energy shortage issues.
  • SolarWall is one of the lowest cost solar energy systems available on the market
  • Solar energy offers clients positive public image and shows leadership with renewable energy.
What is the SolarWall® technology?

The SolarWall technology is an unglazed solar air heating system that is usually installed on a wall. The solar panels heat the fresh air that is required in commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. The panels are all-metal and available in a variety of colors. For a detailed introduction to the SolarWall technology view our flash presentation. Also find out more information in our SolarWall products section.

How much does it cost?

SolarWall is inexpensive and may even be a lower cost option than many other architectural wall products. The cost to a contractor is higher than standard metal panels, but the end cost to the building owner is lower after the various tax credits, grants and accelerated depreciation have been accounted for.

Are there any grants/rebates/incentives?

Commercial and industrial clients in the USA can receive a 30% Federal tax credit. There is a six year accelerated depreciation for the SolarWall system instead of 40 years for buildings. Various states have tax credits and grants as well, some as high as 50%. In new construction, the credits can often offset any incremental costs for SolarWall. In Canada the SolarWall system is eligible for provincial incentives. Click here for detailed SolarWall grant/rebate/incentive information.

What is the payback?

The payback can be immediate to a few years. SolarWall has one of the best returns on investment of any renewable energy product and a better payback than many other building products such as high efficiency windows, photovoltaic panels and heat recovery devices.

How much heat will it produce?

Each square foot of SolarWall surface can generate over 160 Btu/hr of heat (500 watts/square meter). A 1000 ft2 SolarWall heater will provide over 160,000 Btu/hr of thermal energy (50 kW) on a sunny day.

Has the SolarWall technology been tested?

The SolarWall system has probably had more testing and monitoring by governments than any other solar heating product. USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Austria, Japan and others have already spent millions on testing and field monitoring of numerous installations around the world. The independent monitoring has allowed Canada and USA to support the technology. The United States Department of Energy, a strong advocate of SolarWall technology, calls it a transpired collector.

Is there any maintenance?

No! The SolarWall cladding is similar to other metal walls which require no maintenance and is designed to last as long as other metal cladding materials. Any fans or dampers attached to the SolarWall system are required in any event and would have the same maintenance as any other fan.

Is there any cooling benefit?

Yes, the SolarWall cladding stops sunlight from reaching the main wall or roof and acts as a shade for that surface. In fact, in warmer climates, applying the SolarWall cladding to roof as well as the south wall can significantly lower the cooling load of a building. New research is currently underway to allow SolarWall panels to provide night time cooling and day time desiccant cooling.

What is the unique feature of the SolarWall heater?

SolarWall is all metal, a building material and also an efficient heater. It does not need a glass cover which is typical of other solar designs. For the price of a wall, an owner gets thirty or more years of free heat and better indoor air quality.

Does it work with PV panels?

Yes, in fact, SolarWall panels can be designed to cool PV modules and recover heat that would be otherwise lost in building integrated PV arrays. This co-generation (solar thermal air heating and PV electricity) system is referred to as SolarWall PV/T.

I have hired an architect to design my building, what should I do?

SolarWall is normally custom designed for each wall or roof to maximize energy savings at the lowest possible cost. Instruct your architect to visit our web site to get more information, then send us the contact information for the person in the architectural or engineering firm. Our Professional Engineers will work with your design team to integrate the solar heating system into your new building. Remember, the tax credits and grants normally apply to the owner of the solar heating system, so we can present you and your management with a cost benefit analysis taking into account the various grants and tax concessions.

Are there any benefits for the architect or engineer to use solar energy?

It depends on the location. Many architects and engineers now have a professional responsibility to evaluate renewable energy in their designs and specifying SolarWall or SolarWall PV/T allows them to meet their obligations.

I've heard about LEED; does SolarWall qualify for LEED points?

Yes, in fact, Clients are reporting as much as 6 LEED points for their SolarWall projects.

Does the SolarWall system heat fresh air or recirculated building air?

Most SolarWall systems are designed to heat fresh air, not stale building air. In fact, many clients report on the tremendous improvement in indoor air quality with a SolarWall heater. If your building suffers from inadequate fresh air or make up air (factories) SolarWall is one of the lowest cost options for you. If your building is of the new air tight designs, you must provide for an adequate level of fresh air for your employees. (Occupational Health and Safety regulations are in addition to most building codes.)

My building will be leased and the tenant pays the heating bills.

If you own the solar heater, you are likely entitled to the grants and tax incentives, and possibly the future carbon credits. One option is to install a SolarReadyTM SolarWall system without fans and let your tenant connect the fans to the SolarWall heater. The heating costs of the building will be permanently decreased, and this is a very marketable feature.

I do not need the heat in the summer, what happens?

The SolarWall panels are self venting and will actually be cooler than other walls which are not vented.

I want to install PV panels to produce electricity and have no extra room for solar thermal panels.

Not a problem with SolarWall PV/T. Just mount the PV panels onto the SolarWall panels and the same surface area will now produce both heat and electricity. If fact, for roof mount systems, use SolarWall as the PV racking system and connect the heated air to the nearest roof top HVAC unit. Best of all, much of the heat from the building integrated PV panels is now removed, improving the PV efficiency, extending the roof life and saving more energy and money.

Can you cool the air in the summer?

Yes. We are currently evaluating drying of desiccants necessary for desiccant cooling. In addition, our roof mounted panels will radiate heat to the clear night sky and a properly designed night cooling system is expected to provide up to 40 watts of cool air per square meter of panel from sunset to sunrise. If you have a potential night cooling project, please contact us at info@solarwall.com or at our contact info site and provide us with details of the project.

How much CO2 can be displaced with the SolarWall technology?

Every 5 square meters of SolarWall panels displace approximately 1 ton of CO2 emissions every year.