Positive Footprint won the Best Home Installation of the 2010 Yorkshire and Humber Microgeneration Award (YHMA) and was a runner up for the YHMA Best Home Installation in 2011.

The aim of the awards ceremony is to showcase the very best in small scale renewable energy projects in the Yorkshire & Humberside region. These Awards highlight best practice but also demonstrate how it can be replicated throughout the region.

Positive Footprint’s nomination in 2011 was for a full in-roof solar PV array, which provides the electricity, and an Air Source Heat Pump, which powers a three-cylinder hot water and heating system. This was combined with a 40 hour battery back-up in the event of a power cut. It is believed to be the largest domestic solar PV array in mainland UK.

Click on the photos to see larger versions of the awarded Solar PV systems we installed.

Positive Footprint’s Winner of the YHMA Best Home Installation 2010

Solar Photovoltaic’s (PV)

An in-roof solar array of 47 solar panels, replacing the entire South facing roof of the property. The total output of the PV system is rated at 8.01 kWp and covers 65m2. There are three individual arrays making up the system, two with 16 panels and one with 15 panels. Three inverters are located in the roof space with a wireless link to the Sunnybeam display inside the home, allowing the client to monitor the daily output and be aware of any system faults.

Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)

An ASHP provides hot water to the heating circuit and master hot water cylinder. On the client’s request, the master hot water cylinder then distributes this heat to three other hot water cylinders, one located above each of the two bathrooms and the kitchen. The water temperature of each of the cylinders is monitored by an additional controller so that the master hot water cylinder only distributes the hot water to a cylinder when it falls below a set temperature. The ASHP ensures that the master cylinder temperature is maintained at the set point.

Battery back up system

As the client lived in an area of frequent power cuts, they requested that a backup battery system be installed. The battery system is designed to be operational when a grid power cut is detected. The power supply to key household circuits are maintained at all times. Two Studer battery inverter chargers ensure that the solar PV inverters continue to generate electricity during a power cut without the risk of generated power being exported onto the grid. The circuits consuming electricity are powered by the PV system or batteries depending on the generation level of the PV system. If excess power is generated by the PV system, the batteries are recharged. This system ensures that the client always has power and that the maximum yield from the PV system is achieved.


The original 1960′s insulation at a depth of 25mm was removed from the property and replaced with 280mm of Knauf Ecose insulation. This bought the house up to current building regulations and reduced heat demand and required size of the ASHP.

Positive Footprint’s Runner Up in the YHMA Best Home Installation 2011

The installation includes 21 on-roof Solar PV array and extensive building insulation. These improvements were installed as the owners were interested in saving money in the long term whilst reducing their environmental impact.

Solar Photovoltaics (PV):

The system installed was an on-roof mounting system with 21 x 185Wp Solar PV panels, manufactured by Phono Solar. The total output of the PV system is rated at 3.89 kWp and covers 27.3m2. The panels are grouped together to form a single array comprising one row of eleven panels and one row of ten panels. This provides a compact and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Also installed was one Sunny Boy SB3300 inverter, which was chosen because of its high efficiency & reliability thus, providing very good value for money. The PV system will provide approximately 70% of the electricity needs.

Difficulties faced and how they were overcome

The property had many overhanging trees, which would interfere with the solar PV panels and block the solar radiation. This was overcome by trimming the trees in a way that kept them standing but removed the shade and interference with the home’s roof and solar PV panels for years to come. The installation went otherwise extremely smoothly with no issues raised or created.

The Solar PV Energy

The Solar PV panels produce around 3,360 kWh per year. Therefore, the Solar array will generate around 70% of its own electricity on-site. The energy that is generated from the 21 Solar PV panels is demonstrated to the users of the house via a Sunny Beam display unit, which is wirelessly connected to the PV system with Bluetooth. The information displayed on the Sunny Beam unit includes the current output, daily yield, total yield, specific annual yield, CO2 savings and the remuneration.

Measures taken to reduce the need for energy

The house has been thoroughly insulated by a third party insulation company. Also, every window is double glazed, saving 50% of the energy that would be otherwise wasted with single glazed windows. The home has had an A-rated condenser boiler installed, delivering high efficiency heat and hot water to the home. To help the boiler operate at an even greater efficiency, the radiators have had thermostatic valves fitted, ensuring that the boiler’s energy is not excessively wasted. As well as this, the property has a fully programmable thermostat to ensure the boiler is not using more gas than is required. The large solar PV array that has been installed on the  home provides a great example of the potential for solar electricity to power our homes, and to save money whilst doing so. The insulation shows the clear desire to reduce the energy consumption in the first place showing improvements to an existing building can produce significant energy and cost savings.