Solar Charger Making Workshops in September

Sally has been working with Art&Energy CIC to bring TRESOC these day long workshops, where participants will have the chance to:

  • get hands on with solar power
  • learn how solar panels work
  • explore what goes into making one
  • handle the tools and components involved
  • test their device

At the end of the day participants will be able to take home their own solar panel to charge their devices. All materials are included and no experience is necessary but because of space limitations, the workshops are for adults only. Places are first come first served, so please click on the dates below and book now to avoid disappointment!

Monday 16th September 2019

Saturday 28th September 2019

Staverton Hydro meeting July 31st 2019

The Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society (SHCBS) will be welcoming residents of Staverton Parish and TRESOC members to an update meeting on progress with the Staverton Hydro Project from 7-9pm on Wednesday 31st July at The Courtroom, Staverton.

Although the opportunity to pre-register for FIT payments has now passed there are other routes to realisation of the project in the near term and the SHCBS Board wishes to consult with the local community before taking a decision on how best to proceed. The Staverton Hydro Project is still in the planning process, pending a decision from the Environment Agency on whether to approve the Project. TRESOC and the Fishtek consortium are working closely with the EA on the Reports and Studies required to address concerns raised and we are encouraged by a suggestion from the Agency to work with SHCBS on a profit sharing basis to realise this.

The evening will consist of a short presentation on the current state of play, followed by a discussion where we would like to hear views on the options available for making further progress.


Soundart Radio – Every Child Has A Voice

REEL have teamed up with Soundart Radio to create a series of programmes about renewable energy, made by children and for children.

Soundart have launched a new children’s programme/workshop called ‘Every Child has a Voice‘. It is a kids club for 6-12 year olds running on Saturdays and during the holidays, which will teach children how to make radio programmes and get them interested in radio. It is designed to show children how to have a positive voice in the media and society, without having to expose themselves; it’s the antithesis of negative kinds of social media.

REEL is inviting its delivery partners to take part in a series of programmes, bringing experts into the studio for the children to interview.

Interview 1: Saturday, November 11th 2018, 12-1pm.

The first interview kicked off with Ian Bright, speaking about Renewable Energy, Climate Breakdown and Community Ownership.

As founding Director of Tresoc and its current Managing Director, Ian’s career in forestry and consultancy steered him towards reflecting on why the Community itself was best placed to change the face of renewable energy.

Listen to guest interviews on Soundart Radio every Saturday at 12-12.30pm, from now and into December.

Simon Vassall

Sales Manager, BECO Solar

Simon brings his knowledge of Solar Energy to the Noise Art radio club.

Interview: Saturday, 18th November 12-12.30pm

Kate Reville

South Brent Community Energy Society

Talking about Wind Energy, Energy Efficiency and Housing Developments.

Interview: Sat, 24th November 12-12.30pm

Jodie Giles

Senior Project Manager - Communities

Jodie has helped lead the way in Community outreach for Renewable energy progress in the South West.

Interview: Sat, 1st December 12-12.30pm

Pete Kibble

MD Dart Renewables Ltd

Pete Kibble is helping to transform hydro scheme development around the UK.


Interview: Sat, 8th December 12-12.30pm

Totnes Community Development Society

Find out more about the TCDS’s new membership opportunity at Tresoc’s AGM.

Also giving a short presentation on the night, Mark Burton from the Totnes Community Development Society [TCDS] will talk about the exciting new developments that, as a local community member, you can help support.

Totnes Renewable Energy Society are signing up to this free membership offer which is available to download here or, alternatively by visiting their website.

TCDS is about “development through a community organisation of buildings and land in Totnes – owned by those living and working in the area.” Part of that development includes the ATMOS project: an initiative to create jobs, affordable homes and community space – through a Community Right to Build Order – on the old Dairy Crest site in Totnes. Site plans and designs include an Energy Centre, which Tresoc are looking forward to being involved with.

AGM 2018

14TH November 2018, 7-9pm
Royal Seven Stars, Totnes


Guest Speaker – Guy Watson
Riverford Organics’ Founder and Farmer


At this year’s AGM we’re celebrating our 11th year with guest speaker Guy Watson who’ll be talking about Ownership – is it time for something different? This free event is open to members and general public so you can bring friends and family too.

We exist to benefit our community, to create renewable energy projects that deliver low cost energy from local sources, backed by local investors.

As well as reporting on the past year’s activities we’ll also be looking ahead to 2019 – set to be a landmark year. After recent feasibility studies, we’ll soon be offering opportunities to invest in upcoming local schemes, including  a Solar Schools Share Offer, the anaerobic digester at Old Parsonage Farm on the Dartington Estate and the new Staverton Hydro – the culmination of 4 years’ work with our partners Fishtec and consultations with the local community. This will involve repairing the weir for the Environment Agency and also be repairing and maintaining the leat itself, taking it from just a tiny trickle to a healthy supply of water fit to keep the hydro plant going.

We believe in ethics and sustainability in business and that there’s a new, kinder way of doing things to benefit local people, the local environment and local economy. These are transformative times worthy of celebrating and Totnes is once again ahead of the curve. We hope you can join us for an inspiring evening.

Ian Bright & the Tresoc team

Staverton Hydro

Planning Submitted to Restore Hydro Power to Town Mills, Staverton Leat

On the 10th October Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society [SHCBS] submitted a planning application to South Hams District Council to install a 100 kW Hydro Turbine on the Leat at Staverton. The Lease and Option Agreement has now been signed with the landowners. An application has been made to Historic England for changes to a ‘scheduled ancient monument,’ in order to pass the HV electrical cable under the river bed to Dartington, where a dear park pale is known to be located. The pale is the foundation of the dear park wall, that is thought to have been washed away in a flood and moved to its current location, under the bed of the river. We hope to submit the abstraction licence application in November.


SHCBS was awarded a grant of £20,000 from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) to kickstart the development of a 100kW hydro power plant at Staverton Leat. SHCBS used the grant to carry out a feasibility study and look at the potential of the new hydro scheme on the River Dart to supply electricity to the Dartington Hall Trust Estate. The study included financial modeling to determine the economics of the scheme and environmental monitoring to assess potential impacts. It was concluded that the scheme would be economically viable at a flow rate that was environmentally sensitive.

The Fisheries Impact Assessment concluded that steps can be taken to mitigate all impacts of the scheme on habitat quality. It recommended that a best practice Larinier super-active baffle pass be installed to improve fish and eel passage at the site. The National Rivers Authority deemed the existing fish pass to be far from best practice, only being passable during  periods  of  high  discharge. It is more likely that migrating fish pass via the breach in the weir. During the construction of the new fish pass works will be undertaken to repair the damaged weir wall, thus stabilising the river bed above the weir. The migration of salmon and sea trout to upstream spawning grounds has been the key factor influencing the choice of technology at the Leat. Extensive research has demonstrated that fish can pass entirely unharmed through the slowly rotating Archimedes screw turbine, in use at Totnes Weir. Thus, an Archimedes Screw Turbine at the Leat is the obvious choice.

Once the project was deemed economically viable and environmentally sensitive, SHCBS took out a non-recourse loan of £55k, also with RCEF, to fund the development work needed for planning permission and financial closure. The studies included:  A Wildlife Report; A structural survey of the leat; A Heritage Statement; A Flood Risk Assessment; Noise Impact Assessment; Landscape and Visual Impact Appraisal; A tree/hedge survey; and, an Archaeology Study. The proposed hydro plant is located in an environmentally sensitive area.  The environmental sensitivity of the area is recognised in the studies, with the wildlife report concluding that the development and operation of the scheme would have a low environmental impact due to the design of the plant. Planning permission for the scheme was submitted on the 10th October 2018 and, subject to this SHCBS intends to launch a share and/or bond offer in April/May next year, with construction starting in June/July. Residents of Staverton Parish and members of TRESOC will be given the first opportunity to invest in the scheme, to ensure local community ownership.


Through 10th September to the 5th October, The Charity Bank is running a Follow The Money campaign [#FollowTheMoney]. Tresoc were delighted to be invited to be a part of this, meeting up with the Charity Bank on the first day of their campaign on a visit to Totnes.

As you may already be aware, The Charity Bank provided a loan to Tresoc during a crucial stage of the society’s development, allowing the solar installation at Hatchlands Farm to get underway and for our solar portfolio to expand. Charity Bank are profiling us in a national campaign to show how Tresoc have developed into a thriving local renewable energy society, with all the benefits this brings to our community.

Read more about how this timely intervention helped Tresoc, with words from our Executive Director, Ian Bright, on the Follow The Money Campaign website.

Thank you to local Tresoc members who were able to turn up and be a part of this occasion.

The 3rd Annual Archimedes Screw Fest

The 3rd Annual Archimedes Screw Fest 

Totnes Weir
Event date: 6th October 2018
Time: 10am-4pm
Admission: Free

Join us to celebrate the River Dart and its most spectacular new landmark – the twin turbines of the Totnes Weir hydropower scheme.

We’ll be celebrating the many ways we all care for the River Dart – we support clean energy, make art, write poetry, stop plastic getting in to it, learn about biodiversity, become citizen scientists, notice problems, track and log wildlife, swim, boat and fish considerately…

Rain or shine there’ll be loads of fun activities going on all day …

  • Turbine Tours at 12 noon and 3pm
  • Eureka! Meet Archimedes in person
  • Citizen Science and rivers bugs with Westcountry Rivers Trust
  • Renewable energy technology workshops for primary children with REEL
  • Join in with the “Plastic Free Salmon” art project
  • Find out about Bio-Regional Learning Centre’s pilot Dart Charter on the Dartington Estate
  • Learn about more community energy investment opportunities from TRESOC
  • Yummy arancini (Archimedes favourite snack) from The Kitchen Table

The Screw Fest is Tour Stop #4 on Transition Town Totnes’ Eco Homes Weekend trail. 

How to get there
The site is accessible via foot- and cycle-path from Totnes to Dartington – it’s about half a mile upstream of Totnes town centre. It’s a lovely easy walk on flat ground. No parking nearby.

Hope to see you …

All best

The TRESOC Team.

A Vote for Innovation


We were overwhelmed by the support for the transition to a permanently open share-offer. We received 120 ‘yes’ votes and no ‘no’ votes. Voting closed on Saturday 1st September.

A move to a permanently open share-offer would give our members quicker access to their money, by removing the 3 year minimum investment period, and enable us to accept new members at any time – bringing in cash to develop new projects as they arise and more projects being installed.

Co-operatives UK have launched a Share-Booster programme to encourage best practice and innovation in the community shares market. Most community share-offers are time-bound, for example, standard practice is to hold the investment for a minimum of 3 years with a notice period of 180 days. The Co-op believe that established societies should ideally be making open offers, as a principal way of maintaining membership and share liquidity. And we believe it’s time for Tresoc to innovate in this way too.

Changing the society rules requires a significant amount of legal work. Co-operatives UK are currently providing grants of up to £10k to do this and launch new open-share offers. We’ve already applied for the grant which has been provisionally awarded. However, in order to draw down the money we need to provide the signed heads of terms agreements for the new solar installations we are proposing. So it is all taking much longer than we anticipated, and the ‘spring solar share offer’ that became the ‘summer solar share-offer’, might even become the ‘autumn solar share-offer’. However, it is well worth waiting for because it will now include more roof top solar pv on community buildings and the re-financing of the Charity Bank loan (that we took out to purchase the 50kW Hatchlands Array).

A move to a permanently open share-offer and to make these beneficial changes to the society rules required a member vote. For it to be valid, we needed a quorum, which was 50 people.


Learn how to Generate Renewable Energy from Goats Poop!

 ‘Walk & Talks’

Old Parsonage Farm, Dartington
19th September – 1pm / 3.30pm / 5.30pm


Join tenant farmer Jon Perkin and the Tresoc team down on the farm to discover how a 100kW anaerobic digester on the Dartington estate could process farm yard manures with other green materials and food wastes from cafes and restaurants on the Dartington Estate, and turn it into renewable energy.

Free, but you need to register at:

Kids very welcome 

The AD plant would generate green, low cost energy for local businesses, increase regional energy security, displace burning of fossil fuels for electricity, use waste products, divert waste from landfill, provide an opportunity for local people to invest locally and directly access the economic benefits, and support local jobs.

How it works

Organic waste materials processed by anaerobic bacteria in a digestion tank on the farm would produce methane gas, which would then be used to generate electricity and heat – a method that is beneficial for the environment. The spent digestate, with valuable plant nutrients, would be used as a clean organic fertiliser on the farm.

The feasibility study has been carried out by Tresoc in partnership with tenant farmer Jon Perkin, of Old Parsonage Farm (home of Dartington Dairy), the Dartington Hall Trust (DHT) and Dr Phil Hobbs of Anaerobic Analytics. Totnes based Argand Solutions has been monitoring the energy demand of Old Parsonage Farm and the wider Dartington Estate, and has determined that an AD plant would work.

Community Energy Fortnight 2018

Community Energy Fortnight 2018

Community Energy Fortnight 2018

The annual Community Energy Fortnight (CEF) is a platform to showcase inspiring examples of communities who are sharing their resources, wasting less and embracing new technologies as diverse as solar-PV arrays, wind turbines, hydro-electricity and biomass heat.

The theme for this year is ‘Energised Communities‘. From 23 June – 8 July we will be celebrating the energised communities who are tenaciously generating and saving energy, fighting fuel poverty, improving their local environment, reducing carbon emissions and innovating the energy system. The fight against climate change is people powered!

We are looking for event organisers to help us make 2018 an even more diverse and distinctly louder celebration of all things community energy. For an overview of what happened last year, see here. For resources and inspirational ideas for your event, check our event pack. If you’re interested in running an event for CEF18, or would like to know more, please fill in this form, or email

Can’t organise an event? You can still can involved in the Fortnight by spreading the voice on social media, writing a piece for the CEF blog, or attending the UK’s largest Community Energy Conference which will kick-start the Fortnight and see the launch of the much anticipated second State of the Sector report.

Goats’ dung could give farm renewable power

A green project to power Dartington with dung has been give a €£18,000 grant to fund a feasibility study.

The study will look at how to set up a 100kW anaerobic digester producing energy from farmyard manure at Old Parsonage Farm on the Dartington Hall estate.

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) has won the grant funding for the feasibility study from the Rural Community Energy Fund.

If the study proves the renewable energy scheme is commercially viable, TRESOC will be looking at raising cash for its construction through a community share offer, so that the plant is owned by the local community – ensuring the economic benefits from the project are shared locally.

PHOTO: Farmer Jon Perkin with his goat herd whose dung could help produce renewable energy at Old Parsonage Farm, Dartington Dairy.

Jo Talling, Dartington Hall Trust’s property director, said: “We welcome this research into whether an anaerobic digester would work on the estate, as there are currently large quantities of farmyard and food waste produced here that are unharvested.

“We would be very keen to add to the existing renewable systems we’ve been installing on the estate since 2016: the two biomass boilers heating the Green Table Cafe, listed Dartington Hall courtyard buildings, the granary and Space studios, as well as a solar array. We look forward to hearing the news.”

The plant would process farmyard manure with other green materials and, potentially, food wastes from cafes and restaurants on the estate.

The dung and food waste would be processed by anaerobic bacteria in an on-farm digestion tank to produce methane gas, which would be used to generate electricity and heat.

The spent digestate, with valuable plant nutrients, could be used as a clean organic fertiliser on the farm.

Roger Papworth, Rural Community Energy Fund programme manager, said: “The fund was pleased to award a grant to Totnes Renewable Energy Society as this is a great example of a community group investigating renewable energy options that the fund aims to support.

“We look forward to hearing of a positive outcome once this work has been completed.”

The feasibility work will be carried out in partnership with tenant farmer Jon Perkin at Old Parsonage Farm and Dr Phil Hobbs of Anaerobic Analytics, a leading international expert in biogas research, specialising in optimising bioenergy productivity.

Careful monitoring of the energy demand of Old Parsonage Farm and the wider Dartington Hall Estate will be completed with Totnes-based Argand Solutions.

PHOTO: Jon and Lynne Perkin, Old Parsonage Farm.

Anaerobic Digester Project at Dartington Hall Estate

by BBC Radio Devon: 23 November, 2017

The grant will also be used for engaging with the local community, with the extension of TRESOC’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning programme to include two more local schools.

The local community will be invited to several meetings to discuss the project, which are planned to take place early next year.

Interested parties will be invited to take part in a ‘walk and talk’ session, to visit the site and to ask questions about the project in an informal setting.

TRESOC’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning Day Project, co-delivered by the Bio-regional Learning Centre, is a 4-day module for Key Stage 2 students within the Totnes area. It includes practical, hands-on making, site visits, critical thinking and presentations.

TRESOC ran the pilot project at St Christopher’s Prep School, Staverton, in June this year.

PHOTO: Children from St Christopher’s School making a basic Archimedes screw with pipes and elastic bands as part of TRESOC’s renewable energy education programme.

Thanks to a donation from an anonymous TRESOC supporter, it was able to make a short film during the pilot to show potential sponsors and schools what the project is all about.

TRESOC’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning [REEL] is a schools programme co-developed and designed with the Bio-Regional Learning Centre.

[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”27778718″]