As it is Community Energy Fortnight, we are delighted to announce that residents at Transition Homes’ housing development at Clay Park in Dartington could benefit from their own supply of affordable green energy, thanks to funding awarded by the South West Energy Hub in partnership with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
Working with Transition Homes Community Land Trust (THCLT), TRESOC has been awarded a Rural Community Energy Fund grant of almost £30,000. The funding will be used to carry out a feasibility study into the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) array plus on-site battery storage and electric vehicle charging points at the 31-home Clay Park development.
If the study proves successful, a micro-grid will be set up to supply the site, taking renewable solar energy direct to residents at a below-market rate. It is estimated that the PV array could generate 180,000 kWh of energy, worth nearly £30,000 a year*, on which residents will save approximately 10%. As well as improving local energy resilience, this would save an estimated 45 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Our vision is to create a dynamic, highly prosperous region with high living standards and an outstanding quality of life, and clean energy is an important theme running through our activity, so I’m pleased that the South West Energy Hub has awarded this feasibility grant.
“The scheme could not only help to improve quality of life for local people on lower incomes, but also make an important contribution to tackling the climate emergency. We look forward to hearing the results of the study.”
Sally Murrall-Smith, TRESOC’s Operations Manager said, “The grant, worth £29,156, will be used to evaluate the economic viability of the scheme, design the system, determine the best technology mix, and cover organisational and legal costs, community engagement and project management.”
“We’re delighted that TRESOC has been successful with this grant bid, and we are looking forward to working with them,” added THCLT Project Coordinator Nicola Lang. “Delivering the PV array and micro-grid system will help us to reduce the environmental impact of the homes at Clay Park while making it more affordable for residents and supporting the local economy.”
THCLT has planning permission for 31 highly energy-efficient eco-homes at the progressive Clay Park development in Dartington, offering a choice of affordable rent or shared ownership for local people in housing need. It has invited TRESOC to become the energy supplier, and to own and operate the system.
TRESOC intends to raise the capital to install the solar PV panels, microgrid, and operating system, estimated to cost £180,000, through a community share-offer. Clay Park residents will be able to purchase shares in the scheme if they so wish. Interest from the income to TRESOC will be distributed to local shareholders, strengthening the local economy, while boosting employment via local procurement rules. TRESOC will also develop an ongoing renewable energy education programme in partnership with local schools and Clay Park residents.
The feasibility grant was provided by the Rural Community Energy Fund, a government scheme administered by the South West Energy Hub in partnership with Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the South West Energy Hub said: “This innovative scheme is a great example of how developing local green energy can bring a wide range of economic and community benefits at the same time as helping tackle the climate emergency. We are really pleased to be able to award this grant funding to TRESOC and hope that other local communities will be inspired to follow their example.”
Part of the funding has been allocated to a community engagement programme to run alongside the study. This will comprise:
- Four Walk & Talk (site visits) during the first week in September, exploring the site and giving an opportunity to ask questions in an informal manner. These will be open to general public and be timetabled at weekends and during weekdays to make it easier for people to attend. Children welcome and there will be child-friendly activities on site so parents can give their attention to the tour
- Focus groups in mid-September. For people interested in living at Clay Park
- An evening talk at the end of September outlining the results of the study so far. This will be open to the general public
If you are interested in attending any of the events, please register your interest by emailing email@example.com.
Addendum: Sally, our Operations Manager, was interviewed about the Clay Park grant on BBC Radio Devon on 24.06.20. You can listen to the broadcast here.