BECOME PART OF THE COMMUNITY MOVEMENT TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FUTURE
BECOME A TRESOC MEMBER TO INVEST AND BENEFIT
GAIN an equal vote in how the Society is managed and how local energy resources are utilised and conserved
DEVELOP a local energy supply offering protection against fluctuations in international energy markets
CUSTOMERS get lower energy bills and protection from energy price fluctuations
ENABLE the community to participate in the ownership and management of renewable energy resources
ENHANCE the contribution of the community centred in Totnes and the surrounding area in dealing with global climate change
LOWER carbon footprint for end users
BECOME eligible for a variable interest payment, based on the performance of TRESOC
CONTRIBUTE to the provision of local renewable energy supplies to build long-term prosperity and economic security
ENABLE customers to support local renwable energy
A NEW WAY TO INVEST
A Social and Financial Investment
We encourage you to view an investment in TRESOC as a social as well as financial investment. We believe renewable sources of energy are required to address the twin challenges of climate change and energy security threatening the wellbeing of every community. TRESOC helps residents and communities to shape the renewable energy ‘landscape’ and use of resources through active participation in a community of interest. The Society has engaged with like-minded groups, residents, councillors, universities, developers, trade bodies and affiliates as part of a broader community movement aiming to promote localism and build local economic resilience.
Each member is able to help shape TRESOC’s development and engagement through a one member one vote system of governance, where we welcome your participation, and take part in a much broader movement of civil society as well as being able to expect a reasonable financial return.
By making community energy an easier option, achievable by more people, we want to enable communities and individuals to exercise real market power. In 2013, the Local Economic Blueprint for Totnes and District was published which identified the potential value to the local economy of our renewable energy resources as some £6m of income per year, plus a share of the £85m investment in order to develop them.
The Blueprint was a result of an 18- month study by the REconomy Project, and partners including Transition Town Totnes, Totnes Town Council, Totnes Chamber of Commerce, The Totnes Development Trust, KEVICC, Schumacher College and South Devon College, with input from South Hams District Council, identifying key projects to take the work forward, one of which is TRESOC.
TRESOC has 500 members. People have become members through their investment at both the minimum (£20) and the maximum (£20,000) levels, and for a variety of reasons.
A circular economy seeks to rebuild capital, whether this is financial, manufactured, human, social or natural. The concept includes a shift from fossil fuels to the use of renewable energy, and the role of diversity as a characteristic of resilient and productive systems. It also includes discussion of the role of money and finance as part of the wider debate. TRESOC is striving to bring power to the idea of local community shareholding, to create opportunities for local jobs and to build a sustainable organisation.
As an early community renewable energy pioneer, and founder member of Community Energy England, TRESOC is engaged with and lobbies government for support for the community energy sector. The role of communities in decarbonising the power sector and sourcing 15% of our energy from renewables by 2020 is now specifically recognised and supported by the UK government with the recent publication of the Community Energy Strategy.
The comments below summarise what we feel is the need for a better balance between global and local commerce to support thriving economies:
“Expanding lending and investment for our small businesses is vital to achieving the competitive, diverse energy market that this country needs. Community energy in particular is central to my ambition to move from the Big 6 to the Big 60,000, and must be supported. We need more communitygenerated power in the UK’s energy market and to enable a wide range of investors – from commercial banks to individuals – to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Rt Hon Greg Barker, Minister of State for Enterprise and Climate Change
“My hope is that Britain’s first ever Community Energy Strategy will mark a step change for the sector and lead to a sustainable and significant expansion in the years ahead.”
Rt Hon Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Interested in Becoming a Member?
This is the prospectus for our previous share offer 2014. It explains the benefits of investing and how it works
A new Solar Schools Share offer is being planned January 2019. Let us know if you’d like to receive the new prospectus when it’s ready.
Please contact us with any questions you have about becoming a member. We’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.
HOW IT WORKS – YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
If we haven’t covered your question, we’d love to do so. Please call us on 01803 867431 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
How is the Society run?
Totnes Renewable Energy Society is a co-operative owned by our members, with a set of rules including our aims, and we ask our membership to vote on major decisions. Members elect the Board, who then take the mandate from our AGMs where we set out our strategy for the coming year in order to make day to day decisions about project development, outreach, administration and all our other activities which go in to the running of the Society. We have monthly Board meetings with around 10 people, and weekly work sessions on Mondays at the Reconomy Centre in Totnes with around 5-6 people from the team. At other times, we work from home as well as meetings, site visits, advocacy and outreach which take us far and wide.
Who can join?
We are a democratic society and membership is open to everyone. The issue of shares has been prepared in order to be accessible to all members of the community, irrespective of your economic circumstance or whether you normally engage in financial investments.
All members, regardless of the size of their investment, have equal voting rights in determining how their local renewable energy resources are developed and managed.
How much are shares?
What is the minimum investment?
Who can invest during a Share Issue?
• All membership applications are subject to approval by the board following the close of a Share Issue.
• Members must be aged 18 or over at the time of applying, and shares can be bought in trust for minors.
• Shares can be bought as gifts by filling in the application form with the recipients details.
• We currently only accept applications for membership during a Share Issue where details will be shared in a prospectus. However, in September 2018, members voted to support a move to a permanently open share offer.
When TRESOC was established, membership was only open to those living in and around Totnes and its fifteen surrounding parishes. At our SGM in May 2014, members voted to remove the boundary restriction to membership. This simple rule change allows ex-residents, would-be residents, frequent visitors, friends and family and those directly linked to our projects and partners to be eligible for membership. See the distribution of members by location here.
What is the maximum number of shares I can buy?
How can one dispose of one’s shares in the event of need? & What happens in the event of death?
Shares can only be sold back to TRESOC, they are not trade-able. You may withdraw your shares on 180 days notice at the discretion of the Directors, and shares may only be withdrawn 3 years after they were purchased. In the event of death, shares can be transferred to a nominee, a personal representative or bequeathed to TRESOC, although there is a modest admin fee. Please see our Society Rules if you’d like more information.
Who can vote on electing the Board and other decisions?
The Board is elected by the Members. All Members of the Totnes Renewable Energy Society have one vote regardless of how many shares they hold.
Does TRESOC investment qualify under the Enterprise Investment Scheme?
No. At present we do not qualify for EIS because in some cases we”ll invest our money to take an equity stake in another company and we do not own them outright. Our model has been to work with developer partners who help bear the development costs.
Why do the costs for solar projects vary?
There are two main variables. The cost of the technology is constantly going down and Feed In Tariff rates rise in line with inflation. The rate is also guaranteed for a certain number of years. The duration of the feed-in tariff payments dropped from 25 years to 20 years for solar PV installed after 1 August 2012. Generally speaking, solar systems cost more when installed on roofs (as compared to ground-mounted) because of scaffolding, and the additional time to install. Similarly, lots of smaller systems have a higher cost than one large system on a single roof. In terms of value, research published by the University of East Anglia looked at valuing land for carbon-capture, recreation and bio-diversity… we hope to see a wider appreciation of the use of real estate that’s more in line with the Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet, Profit.
I invested in the first Share Issue – when will I see some interest?
TRESOC has invested in solar installations, which give us an annual income, although it’s not enough to pay out a dividend/interest to members as yet. Running costs average £21,500 a year which go towards one part time Bookkeeper/Admin manager, accountancy, legal fees, insurance, website hosting, outreach, advocacy, emails, printing, publicity, and so on. TRESOC’s Directors (Finance, Law, Planning, Engineering, Communications), Project Manager and Webmaster volunteer their time. The entire TRESOC team has put in a great many unpaid hours of work. Had Totnes Community Wind Farm gained consent, it is true to say that TRESOC would be in a stronger position financially.
The value of the shares of those who invested in 2010 and 2011 remains the same. TRESOC feels a duty to these shareholders because of their long term support, and our intention is for them to have the same returns as 2014 investors. Therefore, returns to all members will be somewhat lower than they would have been without this historical duty, but with new projects underway and bank financing, modest interest for our members is a priority.
Can I invest from overseas?
Yes, although all share issue applications are subject to approval by the board.
How do you decide which projects to focus on for a Share Issue?
As an active Society, we have a range of projects in various stages of development, so when it comes to a Share Issue, we take a snapshot of where we are and produce a prospectus based on the information we have at that time. Things can and do change, so we can’t offer any guarantees. For example, it’s possible that if a project fell at a late hurdle, or if we raised more than our target during a share issue, we might invest in an earlier-stage project. As well as looking for new projects ourselves, we regularly get suggestions from members and others about further possibilities for renewable energy project, so there is plenty happening at any one time! The key is keeping our members informed as changes occur, organising a vote if need be.
What happens if you get insufficient funds to implement projects described in a Share Issue prospectus?
If we don’t reach a minimum threshold and we do not have enough money to cover our running costs, then all new investments would be returned in full. Then TRESOC would be wound up, assets sold, and all existing members would get a share in proportion to their investment, taking into account any depreciation. We hope this will never happen!
Tresoc Member Locations
Reflecting a locally-owned community energy membership base, at least 94% of our members live within 10 miles of Totnes. Find out the full distribution of Tresoc’s investment support with these infographics.