Shine Social Housing



Who: South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDRHA)
Where: 42 properties across the region
What: 607 solar panels
Size: 151.74 kW total
Makes: 148,000 kWh of electricity per year
Average equivalent saving: reduces CO2 emissions by about 85 tonnes per year.

We notice a real difference in the summer and pay half as much as before. I am on a key meter so it is easy to monitor in terms of time between top-ups.”

Cheryl Usher-Philipson, Shine solar recipient.

Outcomes and benefits

Expected annual generation will be 148,000 kWh.  CO2 equivalent avoided by the use of clean energy will be 71,000kg or 71 tonnes per year.*

If Shine residents are paying 15p/kWh and they use half of the PV electricity (the assumed norm), then, in total, they would be saving £13,338 per year.  If they use all the PV electricity they would be saving £26,676. Actual savings are probably somewhere in between.

* Based on Defra – average of 2014 & 2015 numbers.

The Shine Project | Social Housing Initiative for New Energy


The Shine Project is the result of a partnership between South Devon Rural housing Association (SDRHA) and TRESOC. The project was completed in 3 phases and took almost 2 years to complete. In 2015, TRESOC was awarded RegenSW’s ‘South West Green Energy Award for the Best Community Initiative’ for the Shine Project.

Lower electricity bills for SDRHA residents
The result is solar PV on the roofs of 40 SDRHA homes across the region, from Plymouth to Exeter, concentrated in Totnes and Dartington – which means cheaper electricity bills for tenants and welcome relief from rising energy prices. And thanks to SDRHA, the majority of properties also receive a device for solar-heated hot water. The project includes arrays on Forder Lane House and a 25-bed care home and SDRHA’s HQ (also home to Devon County Council’s Totnes Work Hub).

Local roots
SDRHA was established in 1958 and its purpose at that time was to provide housing for staff retiring from work on The Dartington Hall Trust’s country estate. The Association has evolved over the years into a strong, community-based organisation for South Devon.

Local business and jobs
Totnes company Beco Energy Solutions completed the survey work, installation, project management and customer care throughout the project. Another local company, Argand Solutions, is working with generation data from this project to develop their energy data analytics platform (Energy Lenz).

Using local investment capital to buy, install and maintain the panels means that profits from the scheme will go back into local people’s pockets, and back into the local economy.

Participant feedback


After Shine Phase 2 was complete, we asked 21 participating tenants to fill in a short survey about their experience with the Shine Project.  10 people returned the survey.

  • 9 out of 10 survey respondents reported having a positive attitude towards PV.
  • 7 out of 10 people were happy or better with the solar system once it was up and running.
  • 6 out of 10 people claimed to have changed the way they use electricity since the panels were installed (we provided printed information and talked through the process with everyone).
  • 7 out of 10 people reported changes in their energy bills (i.e. they could see a reduction).

It’s a fair assumption to say that the process raised awareness of electricity use patterns with most people.  As time passes, we expect to be able to see some clearer ‘before & after’ data.

“TRESOC’s community investment model is allowing us to benefit a large proportion of our tenants simply because TRESOC can operate at scale. The fact that SDRHA tenants will benefit directly from lower electricity bills, and TRESOC’s local members will benefit from Feed in Tariff income is ideal.  And, not investing our capital in retrofit solar means that we can continue to explore other renewable energy technologies, allowing us to look to the future. It’s a perfect model for any housing association. Local money, local investment, what’s not to like?”

Steve Prime, SDRHA CEO

“This project clearly shows how TRESOC can use local investment capital to benefit the local economy and to support people in our community potentially at risk in terms of fuel poverty”

Ian Bright, TRESOC MD


Hatchlands Farm



What : 203 roof-mounted solar PV array on farm building at Hatchlands, providing low-cost electricity to the farmer, with an excess exported to the grid.
Why we love it: Already generating electricity and investment-ready for immediate income. Great model for community investment in farm buildings. An ideal alternative to groundmounted arrays.
Total installed capacity: 49.9 kWp
Average annual generation: 50,229 kWh [FiT rate as of Nov 2011: 34.5p gen, 4.5p export]
Est. annual net income to TRESOC: £17,000
CO2 equivalent per year*: 24 tonnes
Customer equivalent per year**: 12 families’ typical use
Purchase price: £168,000 + transaction costs + VAT
Status: Commissioned in November 2011. Long term lease in place with landowner to 2036; 25 year FITs and lease. We have carried out due diligence on the performance of the system, and negotiated a price with the developer to give a return on investment of 9%.

View here the 2017 Performance Study of the Hatchland’s Solar Array [provided by Intern, Robert Weinhold].

Hatchlands Farm

Hatchlands Farm sits just off the Plymouth Road about 5 miles west of Totnes. TRESOC were involved in helping to develop this project with installers South West Solar Projects a few years ago. It is now installed as a 49.9kWp system which was offered to us at a negotiated price earlier this year, and would increase our overall capacity and returns.

There is a market within the area for profitable renewable energy generation via sub-50kw solar PV installations on existing agricultural buildings, although many of these opportunities have been pursued privately. Roof-mounted panels on large, stable roofs provide the ideal electricity generating scenario for community development or investment.

Lescaze Solar Array

Lescaze Solar Array

Listed 30s building goes solar in local partnership.


Who: Lescaze Offices, Dartington Hall Trust.
Where: Lescaze House, Shinner’s Bridge, TQ9 6JE
What: 120 roof mounted solar pv panels
Size: 29.9kW
Commissioning Date: 2016.
Makes: 28,000kWh/yr
Customer Equivalents: 6.7 average typical houses
Average equivalent saving: 13.5t/yr

William Lescaze offices have new 30kW solar PV array.

A partnership between The Dartington Hall Trust and TRESOC, working with Beco Energy Solutions.

A new 30kWh solar-PV array has been put on the roof of the Lescaze Offices in Dartington village to provide renewable electricity.

Ian Bright, managing director, TRESOC, says: ‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Dartington to produce low cost green electricity for key stakeholders, high value employment in local businesses and a sustainable financial return on local community investment.’

You can read the full press release from The Dartington Hall Trust here.


Totnes Weir



What: An equity stake in a twin Archimedes Screw Hydro System and new fish pass
Where: at Totnes Weir, developed by Hydrosense.
Why we love it: Fantastic landmark scheme with widespread support. Local water supply pumped using energy from the river. Win-win for clean energy and spawning salmon & sea trout. Great partnership arrangement with developer and community.
Total installed capacity: 300 kWp
Average annual generation: 1,250,000 kWh
CO2 equivalent per year: 597.5 tonnes
Customer equivalent per year: 333 families typical use * Estimate based on the most recent statistics from the DECC showing that annual UK average domestic household consumption is 4,115 kWh.
Est. annual income to TRESOC: (21% stake): £37,500
Total cost: £500,000 to buy a 21% stake in the project.



The Totnes Weir Hydro power plant was constructed in 2015 and began generating electricity in December 2015. It has been performing ahead of expectations with electricity generated being higher than forecast.

Designed to withstand at least a one in 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 recent storms.

Two Archimedes Screw turbines are generating clean, renewable electricity for Totnes.  The scheme is expected to generate around 1,250 MWh of clean electricity each year – enough to power around 300 homes for at least 40 years*.

A new best practice fish pass has been installed adjacent to the turbines to allow more salmon and sea trout to migrate past the weir and spawn in the Dart catchment.  An automatic fish counter has also beed installed to monitor the number and sizes of fish using the pass.  Extensive research has proven that fish can pass through the slowly rotating turbine with no adverse effects.

A recreational area is being created near the turbine house with information about the scheme and a new canoe launch platform has been created.

Tresoc now participates the Annual Archimedes Screw Festival at the Totnes Hydro Weir, organised by The BioRegional Learning Centre.

* Estimate based on the most recent statistics from the DECC showing that annual UK average domestic household consumption is 4,115 kWh.



Follaton Community Centre



Who: Follaton Residents Association Ltd.
Where: Whiteley Avenue, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 9BJ
What: 28 solar panels
Size: 7 kW
Commissioning Date: 26/06/2013
Makes: 6,009 KWh of electricity per year
Customer Equivalents: the yearly electricity demand of 2 typical families
Average equivalent saving: reduces CO2 emissions by about 2.9 tonnes per year.



In terms of an investment for our members, the FiT rate for this installation is 14p / kWh for total generation, plus 4.5p for deemed export on 50% of total generation, index linked, and we are expecting to earn around £1,100 per annum (2013 rates).


The Community Hall  |  Follaton Residents Association

The Community Hall is the main facility of the Follaton Residents Association, which also manages play areas and open space on the Follaton estate in Totnes.  The Community Hall is home to Follaton Community Cinema, which was created by Follaton residents with borrowed equipment in 2011 to show great films – and, more importantly, to bring together people from across the area. After receiving some funding, the cinema now has state-of-the-art cinema equipment and prides itself on creating the full cinema experience – plus a few community touches, like homemade cakes!

We are happy to have contributed to the reduction of operating expenses for this venue, where many classes and activities take place, such as Kung Fu “Dragons”, yoga, flower arranging, kids parties, ‘Crawlers & Climbers’ and the Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Singing for the Brain’.

Leatside Surgery



Who: Leatside Surgery
Where: Babbage Road, Totnes, TQ9 5JA.
What: 114 solar pv panels
Size: 27.4kW
Commissioning Date: completed 2012.
Makes: 24,000kWh/yr
Customer Equivalents:  5.7 average typical houses
Average equivalent saving: 11.5t/yr


The Leatside Surgery

Leatside’s solar PV system is the result of a partnership between Totnes Renewable Energy Society and Yokk Solar Ltd, in collaboration with Leatside Surgery.  The panels were engineered and installed by Yokk, and financed and owned by TRESOC for the benefit of the Leatside building owners, staff, patients, and TRESOC members, plus the community at large in terms of CO2 reduction.  With 14,000+ registered patients, the savings gained for the surgery can be channelled into patient care.

In addition to the surgery’s electricity bill saving, TRESOC members’ investment of £39,000 will earn a return of around 9% over the 20 year lifespan of the project through FiT payments on all electricity generated by the panels, regardless of whether its used by the surgery or exported to the grid, plus a deemed export.  As our Director of Engineering, Mandy Burton says, “This is an important milestone for TRESOC that our members can be very proud of – our first live project.  The display panel in the lobby will show you how much is being produced right now, and the total energy produced and carbon saved since they were installed.”

Looking to the future, Leatside’s Strategic Business Manager Janine Payne told us, “We look forward to seeing the panels generate savings for Leatside Surgery over the years to come.”