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.

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.


TRESOC Spring Share Issue – note from MD, Ian Bright

We’re kicking off the discussion with great news about our 1 MW for Totnes & District Share Issue.  Those of you who came to the AGM in December will know that following refusal of the Totnes Community Wind Farm planning application last year (see previous blog entry) we’ve been extra busy with other projects. All this hard work is now paying off in the form of new consented solar pv and hydro power projects.  Specifically, we have reached agreement with South Devon Rural Housing Association to install solar panels on all of their suitable properties.  The Survey work is nearly complete and over 100 households will soon enjoy a source of free electricity, helping out some of those most at risk of fuel poverty and supporting growth in the local economy through our project partnership with BECO Solar.  TRESOC will benefit from the Feed in Tariff income, enabling payment of dividends to our members.  
We’ve also secured agreement with Dart Renewables for a £500,000 community investment in the hydro project at Totnes Weir, and more at other hydro power sites on the Rivers Teign and Dart.  With extra solar schemes in the pipeline this adds up to a TRESOC investment package in consented local renewable energy projects with a combined value of more than £1.5 million.  
With the Government’s Community Energy Strategy and other measures supporting growth in community renewables this is a huge opportunity for local people to earn a healthy income from large and small investments in local renewable energy installations.  It will also provide TRESOC with working capital to develop more projects in solar, hydro and various forms of biomass – and who knows – maybe another wind project one day!  
We’re finishing off the detailed legal agreements necessary to realise these fantastic opportunities in our Share Issue, scheduled for April.  Meanwhile, we’ll keep you informed of progress and look forward to hearing more from our members.
Many thanks and best wishes to all TRESOC members and supporters,
Ian Bright, Managing Director

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.