The Dartington Hall Trust has increased its investment in Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) at a key point in the Society’s growth.
The Trust joined TRESOC as a corporate member in 2010 and recently chose to invest a further £20,000 in TRESOC’s current Share Issue, bringing the total raised so far to £230,550.
This share capital, plus the possibility of a loan from Charity Bank, would be sufficient to enable TRESOC to invest in over 70 solar roofs for tenants of South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDRHA) and to purchase a 50kW solar roof at Hatchlands Farm, just outside Totnes.
The SDRHA project will benefit housing association tenants, for whom ownership of solar panels is not an option, by providing a source of free electricity at a time of recent steep rises in energy costs.
Through TRESOC, the panels will be paid for by neighbours and community members with some spare capital who are looking for an ethical, secure place to invest where their money can make a real difference. TRESOC members will receive a variable interest payment based on the performance of TRESOC and its projects.
Ian Bright, TRESOC MD, comments, “TRESOC is part of a growing movement to shift ownership of our energy resources into the hands of the community, and it is significant that The Dartington Hall Trust is joining hundreds of individuals and local businesses putting capital into the sector and clearly demonstrating their support. We are also pleased to be talking with the Trust about future opportunities for cooperation in renewable energy developments on the Dartington Estate.
“Our portfolio of projects already includes the solar roofs at NHS’ Leatside Surgery and Follaton Community Centre, and with £1M of further solar and hydropower projects secured, the more investment TRESOC can raise, the more community-owned renewable energy we can install.
“The benefits are not just for individual member shareholders. Prominent local enterprises, such as Dartington, see the value of community energy to their businesses and the local economy. When the SDRHA project begins, our installer partner Beco Energy Solutions is anticipating the creation of four new jobs.”
Vaughan Lindsay, Dartington CEO, added, “I am delighted we can support TRESOC in this way and help them to develop some inspiring renewable energy projects. I hope we can do more together in the near future as TRESOC’s work aligns closely with our focus on playing our part in building more resilient communities.”
TRESOC is an Industrial & Provident Society with a membership approaching 600 people, almost all of whom are local. For as little as £20, anyone can become a member shareholder and have a say in how the Society operates. TRESOC’s aim is to empower the local community to develop and control its own renewable energy resources.
TRESOC’s 7kWp Follaton Community Centre system outperformed predicted output by 11% this year. TRESOC’s Share Issue remains open for investment – visit www.tresoc.co.uk or call 01803 867431 for details.