The Energy Potential of Local Food Waste

Caspar Sayany, MEng Renewable Energy student at The University of Exeter and Tresoc intern, recently presented his research findings on the energy potential of local food waste in Totnes.

Caspar interviewed 49 businesses in Totnes and found they produce 164 tonnes of food waste per year, or 3,161kg/week.  The UK’s millions of tonnes of unavoidable food waste, like peelings and apple cores, has costs – energy, money, space, time, smell and environmental.  Our AD project at Dartington at Old Parsonage Farm will be a great way to recycle nutients and to produce energy.

Separating waste will be the challenge…. maybe we can learn from Japan‘s gomi (rubbish) guides: “Trash-related issues could easily become a cause of trouble with your neighbors. To establish a comfortable life for both you and others in the community, it is important to follow local rules for trash collection.”

Take a look at Caspar’s presentation, download it here.

Polish producer Adam Dzienis, filming Caspar, is creating a film to highlight the vital and thriving contribution of co-operative energy across Europe.

Staverton Director sought for BenCom

Following the publishing of this post, a Tresoc Member and resident of Staverton was appointed to the Staverton Hydro BenCom.


The newly formed Staverton Hydro Community Benefit Society is seeking a Director from Staverton to join its small team.  Details of role and responsibilities to follow.  For initial enquiries contact

Putting our hydro knowledge to good use

We are moving forward with the Staverton Leat Hydro Project, researching the history of the Town Mills hydro plant that was in operation for 40 years, generating electricity for the Dartington Estate.  Read the story, it’s a fascinating history!  This small-scale, regenerative project will incorporate a single Archimedes turbine.  In addition, the project aims to restore the leat walls, which have fallen into disrepair and are threatened by inconsistent water levels.  A new fish pass and smoult pass will help up- and down-stream migration of river life.

Totnes Hydro Weir delivers!

The Totnes Weir hydro plant has been generating electricity since December 2015.   It’s two turbines each produce power for KEVICC school and the foundry on the Industrial Estate and the plant is currently over-delivering – from an installed capacity of 300 kW up to 370 kW!  Designed to withstand a 100 year flood and the additional impact of high spring tides and increased river levels due to climate change, the scheme has coped admirably with the recent storms we’ve been having.

In the photo, the left turbine is providing power to KEVICC and the right turbine to the Foundry on the Industrial Estate.

SHINE project kicks off

We’ve started our SHINE project… solar PV on the roofs of 77 social housing homes across the region, from Plymouth to Exeter, concentrated in Totnes and Dartington. Expected annual generation 270,000 kWh. Savings for SDRHA residents approx. £40,000 per year. C02 equivalent 121 tonnes per year. NOW GENERATING! – the array on Devon Rural Housing Association’s HQ, also home to the Totnes Work Hub. Lower electricity bills for tenants! The SHINE project launched on Friday 27th March, 2015.

Hooray, we are Best Community Initiative, 2015!

Tresoc is the winner of the RegenSW’s 2015 South West Green Energy Award for the Best Community Initiative.  “As judges, we are impressed by the dedication and achievements of community led energy initiatives, an area showing substantial growth and momentum across the country and particularly here in the South West. This is an ambitious movement that is increasingly showing it can deliver.  The year’s winner has an excellent balance of community engagement with local residents and has developed an innovative partnership model with a housing association and local installer.

It has successfully installed solar PV on social housing, to provide power to local households and reduce their electricity bills significantly.  Please can I invite onto the stage the winner of the 2015 South West Green Energy Award for the Best Community Initiative: TRESOC” – Emma Bridge, Community Energy England, lead judge

“Winning the “Best Community Initiative” in the South West is a great compliment that you and the entire TRESOC team richly deserve for your passionate desire to develop green energy opportunities in and around Totnes.” – Ian Alexander, Charity Bank

Tresoc shortlisted for Awards

The shortlist for Community Energy England’s Community Energy Awards is actually quite a long list, but we’re on it, yay!  The awards this year will take place in Oxford on 5th September, following the Community Energy Conference 2015, “New Government, New Dawn” as part of Community Energy Fortnight, 5th-20th September.

The conference is free to attend (including lunch and refreshments) to ensure that as many communities as possible can participate in the speaker and interactive sessions.   The Awards shortlist is an impressive group of practitioners who are contributing significantly to the sector, so whether we win or not, you may like to consider attending to learn more and show your support; it’s also free. 

Clean Energy for All – Yes!

Governments and policies change, but the crisis of our times around energy and the environment is real and urgent.  Thanks to everyone for contributing so enthusiastically to our interactive event on 23rd July.  Lots of conversations about clean, green energy and the community’s part in producing, owning and managing it – specifically around 1) the papal message on “care for our common home”, 2) big picture renewables changes, 3) what local gov is doing, 4) making community energy work on the ground 5) future project types, and 6) educational opportunities at Totnes Weir. It was a fun couple of hours, thanks to Hal Gillmore of the REconomy Centre, exploring where we stand – in this moment here in the UK – with another winter of fuel bills on its way.  Outcomes include a multi-faith event in the autumn dedicated to the encyclical, urgent correspondence with local MPs, an offer to keep the Weir area tidy, an idea for a generating play park… more on this soon!

Here’s an interesting pdf from Climate Outreach & Information Network (COIN) about framing language about climate change to mobilise activity across the world’s 5 faith groups: COIN-Our-Voices-4 pages – June-2015

Cheaper bills for tenants – 27 homes installed with solar

We are currently visiting SDRHA tenants whose systems are up and running, explaining how to make the most of the free electricity they are getting, whilst managing the process of making appointments and scheduling installations.
“A number of tenants have commented to me how pleased they are with their new solar panels, and think it’s a great idea to install solar panels on as many properties as possible.  They are particularly excited about receiving reduced fuel bills, which also meets one of SDR’s objectives of supporting our tenants to reduce fuel poverty” – Francis Bourke, SDR Operations Director
Watch this 3 minute video – we’re working in partnership to install arrays on tenants’ roofs from Exeter to Plymouth.


More renewables for Totnes!

We have achieved over a QUARTER of a MILLION pounds in local investment… £258,000 to be precise.  Your investment (min £20, max £100,000) has kick-started our ready-to-go solar projects, bringing them into community ownership.  Thank you for making an ethical, secure, investment in community-scale, clean energy installations… co-owned with your friends and neighbours.  Millions have been raised by Community Energy groups across the UK – we have the power!

More good news – TRESOC has succeeded in meeting Charity Bank’s rigorous criteria and has received a “Heads of Terms” document for a loan of £356,000 based on two of the solar projects in our prospectus; 70+ Housing Association roofs and the purchase of the operating array on Hatchlands Farm barn.

Dartington make further investment in TRESOC

The Dartington Hall Trust has increased its investment in TRESOC at a key point in the Society’s growth.  The Trust joined TRESOC as a corporate member in 2010 and recently chose to invest a further £20,000 in TRESOC’s current Share Issue, bringing the total raised so far to £230,570. Our members continue to email us words of support along with their investments: “the reward for small investors is definitely seeing the alternative energy base grow and develop.  I and others will rejoice just to see the solar panels spreading!”

Update on our Charity Bank loan application

Tresoc investors will know from our Prospectus that the Society is looking to raise £500,000 to £1,500,000 to fund a portfolio of hydro and solar projects. To date we have raised some £200,550, which is no small sum, but the income from this level of investment is not enough to cover our annual operating costs (admin, insurance, accountancy etc) even without paying directors.  However, we are in discussions with Charity Bank with regards to a loan facility that might allow us to fund our projects and establish Tresoc as a viable business. We are very pleased to be working with this specialist lender whose aims fit well with our own, and who offer flexible loans and support to social enterprises. Please see Charity Bank’s website for more details.

We have met the Bank’s representative and on 29th September submitted our application for a loan that we could draw down, as and when needed. The application process is expected to take 6 to 8 weeks. During this process the bank will be determining whether, and on what terms, a loan may be made to us, and the Board will look in detail at our finance projections to ensure that any loan terms we agree fit with our aims to be a sustainable, growing organisation, paying a return on our members’ investments.

Meanwhile, the Board, in consultation with members, has decided to keep the share offer open on the terms outlined in the Prospectus, until such time as we have a decision on the Charity Bank loan. If we are successful in our application, the full details of the implications of the loan, and what it will allow us to achieve, will then be communicated with our members.

All monies received through this share offer are held in a dedicated deposit account and will be repaid in full if we do not raise sufficient capital to establish Tresoc as a going concern. There is still time for old and new members to invest in Tresoc and now is the time to show your support for renewable energy in community ownership.

Please call us 01803 867431 or email if you would like to discuss this or any other aspect of Tresoc.