Energy Local Totnes



What: Energy Local Totnes; a club for buying and selling locally generated renewable electricity at a fair price
Where: Within the Totnes Substation
Why we love it: A chance for local residents and businesses to buy green local energy at low cost
Total installed capacity: Est. 400 kWh
Average annual generation: Est. 400,000 kWh
CO2 equivalent per year*: 120 tonnes
Est. annual Income to TRESOC: 2% share
Status: £25,000 grant received March 2022 to scope out the project, from Team Devon’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Business Prospectus Funding. £120,000 grant received September 2023 to develop the club in the consumer market, from the Energy Saving Trust’s Redress Scheme.


Energy Local Totnes is a club for buying and selling locally generated renewable electricity at a fair price, saving customers money off their bills, and paying small local renewable generators a little bit more for their excess generation.

Our modelling suggests that the average household – ie, 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, then they could save up to 30%.



In 2022, Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) received a grant from Devon County Council’s Post Covid Economic Recovery Fund to start the club. TRESOC worked in collaboration with Energy Local CIC, 100Green (Formerly Green Energy UK), Totnes Town Council and Transition Town Totnes. Energy Local CIC have previously established 8 other Energy Local clubs across England and Wales. TRESOC have recently been awarded a REDRESS grant from the Energy Saving Trust (EST), to further develop Energy Local Totnes (ELT) over the next 2 years.


Area Covered by Energy Local Totnes





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 be able 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 that we can actually reduce people bills, and then we hope to invite people on low incomes to take part.



TRESOC are starting the club with the renewable electricity generated by the 15kW solar PV array on the Totnes Civic Hall. These panels are owned jointly by Totnes Town Council and Transition Town Totnes.

The green electricity will be sold to 100Green, who then sell it to Energy Local Totnes. Because it is being sold locally, within the Totnes Substation, it can be sold at a cheaper rate.

To take part in the club as a generator or a consumer, participants need to be within the Totnes Substation. This is larger than it sounds, and includes Totnes, Dartington, Ashsprington, Littlehempston, Harberton, Harbertonford and Halwell.

Households and small businesses are able to become members.



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.

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!


Interested in taking part?

Local people who want to buy their electricity from ELT need first to sign up or register their interest through the Energy Local website, then they will be instructed in how to switch their energy supply company to 100Green, and onto the Energy Local Totnes Tariff. To join the ELT club, you will need to be within the Totnes Substation and have – or be happy to have – a smart meter fitted. If you are interested in joining the club, please register your interest on the Totnes club page of the Energy Local CIC website.


Energy Plus Model

Energy Local have established several similar projects across England and Wales. This wil be 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


Developing ELT

A Redress Energy Grant from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) will support the growth of ELT in the local domestic market, including member education on shifting energy demand and energy use, evaluation of the Energy Local Plus model, knowledge dissemination, and the replication of the model. The University of Plymouth will independently review the business model and its replicability.

ELT objectives are as follows:

· To develop Energy Local Totnes by signing up 400kW of locally generated renewable electricity into the club (25% new generation) balanced by 200 plus households in the first 2 years

· To save household members between 10 – 30% off their energy bills and to reduce their carbon emissions by a target of 30% (the amount of carbon savings will be dictated by the energy mix of their previous supply company. If their previous energy company supplied 100% green electricity, then the savings would be smaller)

· To engage all 200 household members in workshops on energy consumption reduction and demand shifting to maximise the use of local renewable electricity

· To investigate the benefits and viability of using storage within a club – especially with predominantly solar generation – and its role in managing network constraints to help install more generation

· To evaluate the financial, environmental, and social viability of a local renewable energy market, using the Energy Local Plus model (EL+). This will cover the 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, University of Plymouth, and carried out by a master’s student on the Sustainable Environmental Management MSc

· To share the Energy Local Plus model nationally with other community energy organisations through knowledge dissemination: improving the Energy Local website and materials; a 4-minute video; a case study PDF; events and workshops

· To replicate the model by training 10 more Energy Local advisors and establishing, to the point of operation and including incorporation, 2 new EL clubs (in addition to ELT)

· To engage the next generation in community-scale energy through pre-school and primary school renewable energy education programmes

· To examine the potential for EL+ clubs to provide additional income streams for people on low incomes who have had solar PV installed as part of the ECO Grant scheme