Lescaze Solar Array

Listed 30s building goes solar in local partnership.
William Lescaze offices have new 30kW solar PV array.

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

The Dartington Hall Trust invested £35,000 in Totnes Renewable Energy Society shares to provide the funds needed to invest in the array. TRESOC worked with local renewable energy company Beco Energy Ltd to deliver the project in Dartington village. The solar array, carefully hidden from view on the Lescaze Offices roof was completed in late November.

Due to the Grade II listed status of the modernist flat-roofed building, which was designed by Swiss American architect William Lescaze in the 1920s (with additions in 1936), listed building consent was needed as well as planning consent from South Hams District Council.

The consent required the array to be invisible from ground view so the array is set back from the roof edge on a Flamco Falx mounting system using ballast that maintains the roof integrity. The Qcell 280 Wp modules will deliver around 21,000 kWh of green electricity annually and reduce the building’s carbon dioxide emissions by 11.48 tonnes a year.

TRESOC will provide electricity to the Trust at a reduced rate.

Karen Williams, chief operating officer of The Dartington Hall Trust, says: ‘It’s great to be working with TRESOC on the Lescaze project, by providing equity investment through our SEEDbed programme we have been able to secure a renewable energy supply for one of our buildings as well as being able to provide targeted enterprise support for a valued community organisation through our SEEDbed incubator programme.

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.’

David Inscoe, managing director, Beco Energy Ltd, says: ‘We have delivered many projects with TRESOC, from social housing to commercial roof top projects, and are delighted to have delivered another success.

To fund the project, the Trust made an equity investment of £35,000 in TRESOC through its SEEDbed programme. This follows on from the Trust’s investment of 20K in 2014, and £200 as a corporate member when TRESOC was founded in 2010. TRESOC will maintain the array with the specialist monitoring services of Argand Solutions.

[Press release provide by The Dartington Hall Trust, 2017]

Solar PV bill-saving for housing association residents

After a dream of a process, we have a new working partnership with South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDRHA) to install solar PV on all of their suitable properties.  The solar panels will provide a source of free electricity for SDRHA tenants during daylight hours or to heat water when tenants are not at home during the day.

TRESOC has engaged local company, BECO Solar to carry out the work.  A preliminary desktop survey shows that over half of SDRHA’s properties are suitable for solar PV installations.  Site surveys will now be arranged with tenants to ensure that roof structure and electrical connections are suitable before preparing a final list of homes for viable solar PV installations.  Although not all roofs will meet the criteria, and therefore not all SDRHA tenants will benefit directly, local community investment will enable SDRHA to use its own resources to further improve the energy efficiency of its entire housing stock.

SDRHA has been installing solar PV for the benefit of its residents for some time, working with Transition Town Totnes’ Transition Streets initiative and through TTT’s current PV referral scheme.  TRESOC has now provided a solution that allows SDRHA to give some welcome relief from rising energy bills to many more tenants.

Steve Prime, SDRHA’s Chief Exec, commented for the upcoming press release,

“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 is not to like?”

The TRESOC team is delighted to be working on this project.  Funding for the scheme will come from the local community through a TRESOC share issue later this Spring.  Feed In Tariff payments will provide a return to potentially thousands of TRESOC members in the local community, adding further benefit to the local economy.