Bright Sparks at Harbertonford Primary

TRESOC had an excellent time last week with Year 5s and 6s from Harbertonford Primary School. On Monday we spent the day visiting local renewable energy sites, including Marley Wind Turbine, Dartington Solar Farm, Dartington Wood Chip Boiler and Totnes Weir Hydro. The next day we returned to the classroom to explore the science behind these technologies, through a series of interactive workshops. The students were really engaged and asked some fantastic questions that got everybody thinking! 

Many thanks to Harbertonford Primary for taking part in our REEL (Renewable Energy Experiential Learning) programme, funded by the Energy Redress Scheme Grant for the Energy Local Totnes Project. Energy Local Totnes is a club for buying and selling locally generated renewable electricity at a fair price, saving local people money off their bills and paying local generators a better price. For more information:


Marley Wind Turbine


Testing out mini solar panels in different locations

AGM 2023

Dear TRESOC Members and Friends,

We are delighted to invite you to our upcoming Annual General Meeting, taking place on Monday, 13th November from 7.00p.m. to 9.00p.m. at St John’s Church Bridgetown.

As we reflect on the past year and look forward to the next, we welcome all members, friends, and the public to join us in shaping our strategy for the forthcoming year. Your participation and input are invaluable to us, and we hope you can align with and endorse our ongoing efforts.

In preparation for the AGM, the Directors’ Report and a summary of last year’s Accounts will be sent out to members. The Directors’ Report is available at the bottom of this bulletin and the accounts with be available here shortly. A signed copy of the accounts will be submitted to the Financial Services Authority and made available prior to the AGM.

To attend, please register by emailing You will receive a link to join the meeting upon registration.

For members unable to attend, we kindly request that you arrange a Proxy Vote. As per TRESOC rules, we require a 10% member vote at the AGM, so every vote is crucial. Please download, sign, and submit the Proxy Voting Form either by post or through the door at TRESOC, 107 High Street, Totnes, TQ9 5SN or via email to

Join us for an evening of discussion and the first mince pie of the season! We will also have a guest speaker (to be confirmed) who will share insights and updates relevant to our mission.

We look forward to your participation in shaping TRESOC’s future!

TRESOC awarded grant to develop UK’s first domestic market for renewables

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) are delighted to have been awarded an Energy REDRESS grant from the Energy Saving Trust (EST), to develop Energy Local Totnes (ELT) over the next two years. EST recognised the Energy Local Plus project as highly innovative and able to demonstrate a new business model for buying and selling locally generated renewable energy for the benefit of communities; a first in the UK.

TRESOC will continue to work with Energy Local CIC to grow the size of ELT by connecting 400kW of local renewable energy electricity into the club, (including 100 kW of new generation), and signing up 200 local households as new customer members. Small businesses can also join as customer members.

TRESOC’s modelling suggests that the average household – a 2-3 bedroom house with average electricity consumption – will save 10% off their bill. But if they are able to shift the times of their demand and use the electricity when it is generated, they could save up to 30%.

We anticipate that domestic generators with excess electricity from their solar PV will be able to sell it into ELT from 2024 onwards. This is intended to drive the development of domestic solar, as well as provide an additional income stream for householders.

A key aim of the project is to keep the economic benefits of renewable energy within the local economy and provide residents and small-scale generators with some protection from fluctuating external markets. However, the long-term aim is to lift local people out of fuel poverty by providing low-cost electricity. The first year of the project will be a trial to ensure the reduction of people’s bills. Once that is established people on low incomes will be invited to take part. ELT will also invite low income households that have had solar PV installed as part of the ECO grant schemes.

The club will go live in October 2023, when 8 households will be switched onto the Energy Local Totnes tariff with 100Green. It takes about 3 weeks for the full switch to take place. The next round of switching is due to take place in Spring 2024. Anyone who wants to buy their electricity from ELT needs first to sign up or register their interest through the Energy Local website. To join the ELT club, households will need to be within the Totnes Substation and have – or be happy to have – a smart meter fitted.

The University of Plymouth (UoP) will evaluate the financial, environmental and social viability of a local renewable energy market, using ELT as a case study. The University will investigate direct economic savings and carbon emissions of the households in the ELT club based on their use over the course of a year and their previous tariff and supply company. This research and evaluation will be directed by Professor Ian Bailey, and carried out by a master’s student on the Sustainable Environmental Management MSc.

The results of the UoP evaluation will be disseminated GB wide to community energy organisations, using the web, events and workshops.

The EST grant will also provide training for 10 more Energy Local advisors and establish, to operation and including incorporation, 2 new EL clubs (in addition to ELT). Other potential substations include South Brent, Ashburton and Buckfastleigh areas.

In addition, the grant will support and grow the Renewables Energy Experiential Learning (REEL) programme, educating 120 school and pre-school children about community energy. TRESOC are already in discussions with Park School and S John’s to take part in the project.

The EST grant recognises the significant potential of this project, it is highly replicable, and once we have demonstrated it here in Totnes, it will spread to other places and has the potential to start some real systemic change, making the energy system more equitable as we transition to a green economy.

Initially the club will start small, as the number of customers must be balanced by the amount of generation, but it will continue to grow as new generators join. Harrison’s Garage on the Totnes Industrial Estate will be the next generator to join the club, selling the excess electricity from their newly installed 30kW solar array. TRESOC have a planned pipeline of community-owned rooftop solar PV projects, that once installed will sell their electricity into the club. In March 2024, it is hoped that Totnes Weir Hydro will join the club: this will increase the potential size of the club – and the savings to be made – exponentially.

ELT member households will be invited to take part in coffee mornings, which will provide demand reduction and demand shifting education activities to maximise the use of the cheaper local renewables. They will also receive smart plugs to help them manage when they use their appliances.

Energy Local Plus model

Energy Local have established several similar projects across England and Wales. This will the first that will continue to grow, as new generators and customers join, continuing to support the growth of community renewable energy, while reducing peoples bills and greening the local economy. This new business model is called Energy Local Plus or EL+.

Once this new business model has been demonstrated in Totnes, it will spread to other places and has the potential to catalyse some real systemic change, making the energy system more equitable as we transition to a green economy.

Benefits of Selling Energy Locally

Buying and selling renewable energy locally has many economic, social, and environmental benefits:

· The community benefits from buying energy more affordably, helping to reduce fuel poverty

· Small local generators receive a decent export rate for their excess energy and more control over pricing

· Profits are retained by the local community, supporting the local economy

· Fairer export prices mean more local renewable energy projects become commercially viable for households, communities, and businesses, which acts as an economic driver for more renewable energy development and a gradual greening of the local economy

· Local renewable energy resources make the community more energy secure, self-reliant, and resilient, as energy prices are decoupled from volatile international markets

· The environment benefits as consumers reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions

· Buying renewable energy from local places make consumers feel more connected to energy supplies and fosters energy responsibility

· Balancing local supply with demand helps the national grid reduce the need for costly network upgrades

· Less electricity is wasted through transmission losses, as the distance from supplier to customer is shorter

Clay Park Project Update

In this video, we discuss the Clay Park project by Transition Homes Community Land Trust and TRESOC. Our project aimed to showcase a new business model where a community energy company and a local housing developer could generate low-cost green electricity for affordable housing. The Rural Community Energy Fund awarded us grants to investigate and develop the project.

However, due to economic challenges such as the increased cost of materials after the pandemic and the energy crisis created by the war in Ukraine, the financial model for the project needed to be reworked. Transition Homes Community Land Trust partnered with Aster Housing Group. This has helped ensure the housing development can provide 100% affordable housing, but with a shift in how energy for the homes will be sourced, has meant there is no business case for a microgrid or TRESOC’s continued involvement.

TRESOC is extremely grateful to the Rural Community Energy Fund for its support. We continue to develop the microgrid model through our Energy Local Totnes project and hope to inspire other community energy groups to plan their own microgrids.

Energy Local Totnes Launch

On the 24th March TRESOC will proudly launch the South West’s first Smart Local Energy System, Energy Local Totnes (ELT), a new economic driver for the development of local renewable energy.

Energy Local CIC has been setting up clubs around the country that help create local markets for power. They designed technology that uses smart meter data to allow households to club together to show they are using local, clean power when it is generated. The households then agree a price with local generators that’s better for the generators as well as reducing their own bills. For more information on how Energy Local clubs work click here.

Green Energy (GE) UK are acting as the partner energy supplier who will ensure there is enough power for the households in the club when there is not enough local electricity generated.

Totnes Town Council have officially signed a GE UK contract to supply the excess from the 15kW solar PV array on the Civic Hall, into the club. GE UK are now doing the technical work that it takes to become their energy supply company. 35 people have already registered an interest in becoming part of the club, and these will be the first customers. GE UK will start to sign these customers over at the beginning of April.

The number of customers in the club needs to balance the amount of generation. Jem Friar, the Totnes Energy Local advisor will be responsible for this matching. To start with, we will be able to sign up 10-15 people, to use the power from the Civic. Soon after the club is in operation, Harrison’s Garage intend to join the club, as they have installed a new 30kW system on the roof of their garage. This should mean roughly another 15-20 people can join, depending on the modelling. As more generation joins the club, balanced by more customers, the club can grow. This is real innovation at work. It will be the first Energy Local Club in the country to be able to grow in this way.

Energy Local Totnes will be its own co-operative, and totally independent of TRESOC, although TRESOC will be a generator member. It will have its own board, made up of generator and consumer members, who will annually set the match price for the club. The match price is the price that the generator and consumer gets, when a consumer matches their energy demand to local generation.

This is a pilot scheme, so we are looking to test the Energy Local concept locally to make sure it really will save people money before we can roll it out on a larger scale. For the first year, only solar PV will be selling into the club. With the increased rate that generators receive for their electricity many new local renewable energy projects will become economically viable. This is something that TRESOC is working hard to explore and make the most of.

To read more about the prices that the club has set for energy use, and to find out more about registering your interest head to the Energy Local Totnes page.

AGM 2022

We are pleased to invite you to our Annual General Meeting at 7.00p.m. on Monday 14th November 2022. Members, friends and the public are welcome to attend, ask questions and help us develop our strategy for the year ahead – we’d like to welcome all of you!  Our goal – as always – is that you are aligned with, and endorse, the efforts we are making on your behalf.

The Directors’ Report and a summary of our latest Accounts to 31st March 2022 will be sent out to members prior to the AGM, or you can download them via the links below. A signed copy of the accounts has been submitted to the Financial Services Authority, and will be available here prior to the AGM. In order to attend, email to register and receive the link.

If you are a member and are unable to attend, it is vital you arrange a Proxy Vote. The Rules of TRESOC require 10% of members to vote at the AGM and, with 560 members, every vote counts. Please download and sign the Proxy Voting Form and put through the door at – or post to – TRESOC, 107 High Street, Totnes, TQ9 5SN, or scan and email to

Introducing our new Energy Local Coordinator

We have now appointed an Energy Local Advisor/co-ordinator, Jem Friar, who will be responsible for establishing the Energy Local Totnes Co-operative. If people want to register their interest, they can go onto the Energy Local Totnes page on the Energy Local website: Totnes | Energy Local.

Jem will be working on the project for approximately 6 months. The project has been made possible thanks to grant funding received by TRESOC from Devon County Council to establish an Energy Local Club to buy locally generated renewable energy, which will then be sold through the club at a discounted rate. Local people and businesses will be invited to join the club to benefit from reduced cost electricity and Jem will be working alongside Energy Local CIC to support the club.

REEL success at St. Christopher’s School, Staverton

We were delighted to work with students at St. Christopher’s School n Staverton last month as part of our REEL programme – Renewable Energy Experiential Learning.

The programme includes student-led critical thinking around our global need for energy and takes place over 2 days. It involves site visits to see real technologies in action to produce renewable energy, followed by a making day in school, creating our own versions of renewable energy technology designs through arts and craft. It took place on 15th and 16th June.

Headmistress, Alexandra Cottell says;
“The children at St. Christopher’s hugely benefit from the input they have from the REEL project. Both the field trip and the on-site learning are very engaging and offer an excellent hands-on approach to STEM learning.”

On the field trip day we visited the Marley Head Wind Turbine, thanks to South Brent Community Energy; the Solar Farm and Woodfuel Boiler on the Dartington Estate, thanks to Dartington Trust; and the Totnes Weir Hydro thanks to Dart Renewables.

On the making day, we ran 3 workshops, solar, wind and hydro (experimenting with solar circuits, lemon batteries, multi meters, making Archimedes Screws and Savonious wind turbines).

Each REEL project supports joined up skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). REEL is now in its 5th year, has been delivered for free to over 10 schools and over 260 children have taken part.

Welcome to Hannah Slade, TRESOC’s new Legal Director.

Hannah is a Senior Associate at Foot Anstey solicitors and is a member of their dispute resolution team specialising in property litigation. Her key areas of interest include enforceability of restrictive covenants and easements.

Hannah works for clients across a variety of sectors including large retailers, high net worth individuals, and landed estates. In all cases she aims to provide clear and practical advice to clients and enjoys tailoring this advice to suit each client whether they’re a multi-national company or an individual.

Sadly, Stephanie Burns has had to step down due to time commitments, but we are very grateful to her for her support over the last 2 years.

Find out more about who’s who at TRESOC on the About Us page

Energy Local Talk Tuesday 15th March, 6-7pm

We’re delighted to be hosting Mary Gillie, Founder and Director of Energy Local, for a talk at the REconomy Centre in Totnes on Tuesday 15th March, between 6-7pm. Energy Local is a Community Interest Company transforming the electricity market for communities and small-scale renewable generators. Their mission is to help communities get more value from small-scale renewable generation by using the electricity locally. Thanks to a grant of £25,000 from Team Devon’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Business Prospectus Funding, TRESOC will be developing up to five new community-owned rooftop solar PV installations in Totnes. These will combine to establish an Energy Local Club in Totnes (Energy Local Totnes) to buy the electricity generated, effectively establishing Totnes’s own renewable energy marketplace. Within an Energy Local Club, householders and small businesses pay a lower price for electricity if they use renewable energy from local generators when it is generated; the customer pays less, and the generator receives more. Right now, people living near renewables purchase the electricity back for three or four times the price the generator is paid for it.

There are many community and environmental benefits to an ELC. The community benefits from reducing fuel poverty by selling energy affordably and allowing locally owned generators more control over pricing, all keeping the profits in the local economy. The environment benefits by customers reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.

TRESOC are looking for five large south-facing roofs – they could be a school, a row of terraces or an industrial building – and for householders and businesses to join the Club and use the green, local, cheaper energy. They are also looking for someone to train as an energy advisor and to run the club. This will be a paid, part time role with flexible hours so would suit a parent with young children. In addition, volunteers will be needed to support setting up the Club and to be members of the Energy Local Totnes board.

TRESOC will own and operate the solar PV on each of the 5 sites (approximately 250kW, enough to power to boil 250 kettles at peak output) and will raise the capital to install the panels through a community share-offer, which means all profits from the scheme will return to the local economy. The occupiers of each site will have a Power Purchase Agreement with TRESOC for the energy used on site and any excess electricity will be sold into the Energy Local Club within the local substation area. The scheme will be supported by Energy Local CIC, who have established several Clubs in England and Wales. Totnes Energy Local Club will be the first to allow local small businesses to take part. Once the Club is established new generators can join, balanced by new customers, and the club can continue to grow. To take part generators and members of the club need to sign up to the same energy tariff, an Energy Local Tariff, that is currently being provided by Octopus Energy.

Anyone who would like to be involved in the Club, as an energy advisor, a member, a board member, or who knows of a large south facing roof, please email or call TRESOC on 01803 867431. And come to the talk! Places are limited to please book, again by emailing



TRESOC has new Finance Director

TRESOC is delighted to have a new Finance Director, Raymond Seager. We were sorry to say goodbye to Dominic Turner, who had to leave us for health reasons and are sad to lose him. Raymond comes to us with a wealth of experience in finance, working nearly 20 years variously for Bank of America, Barclays and HSBC in public sector finance. He started to focus on environmental finance over 10 years ago, helping to develop the ESG capital markets. He has since broadened into the wider sustainable finance area, encompassing environmental and social projects, and works as a consultant training and advising organisations. He moved to the Totnes area with his wife and two kids in 2017 and becomes TRESOC’s Finance Director in 2021.