SolarWall was invented by Conserval Engineering’s president, John Hollick in the late 1980s. SolarWall is a new invention for solar collectors. SolarWall systems are building integrated and consist of perforated metal heating panels mounted on the building’s sun facing wall. SolarWall heaters were first used to heat and ventilate large buildings with a requirement for air or fresh air ventilation. Solar space heating and solar harvesting are other applications that are ideally suited for SolarWall heaters. The unglazed design has been used for heating or preheating large volumes of fresh air when it comes to heating and cooling. 2-stage SolarWall heater is becoming the preferred choice for achieving higher temperatures when heating buildings in colder climates.


Traditional solar thermal panels were designed to heat domestic hot water and were generally roof mounted. Space heating accounts for the largest energy use for buildings in particular climates where snow accumulation is common. It was decided to have a solar collector that would not freeze, thus air became the heat transfer medium instead of water or antifreeze; a wall mount orientation was selected to eliminate any snow buildup associated with roof mounted panels and the vertical orientation was found to increase winter solar gain as it was more perpendicular to the low winter sun angle and the snow was found to reflect much as 50% more solar energy. An additional bonus with utilizing the wall and a building.

Building integration of a solar energy system such as SolarWall, became popular with architects incorporating LEED certification , a popular green building design standard developed by the US Green Building Council into their customers’ building designs.

Building integrated solar air heating has become a popular form of solar heating , with thousands of installations in over forty countries. According to Solar Energy Industries Association over 5,000,000 square feet of these panels are in operation as of 2015.

The Conservative Group of Companies includes Conserval Engineering of Toronto, Conserval Systems of New York Buffalo and SolarWall Europe of Paris. SolarWall is marketed through licensees and distributors around the world.

PV / Thermal

The SolarWall PV / Thermal technology developed by Hollick of Conserval Engineering is a hybrid solar system that generates both heat and electricity from the same surface area. By combining PV with the air heating technology, the PV heat is removed from the back and drawn into the transpired collector. The heat energy is then ducted into a building ‘s mechanical ventilation system or to an air water heat exchanger where it offsets the conventional heating loads. The end result is that pairing the SolarWall heat collectors with PV modules maximizes the solar energy from a given space by allowing buildings to have both solar electricity and solar thermal energy.

About the author


View all posts