Community engagement events for Totnes clay park solar study

This September and October, Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) and Transition Homes Community Land Trust (THCLT) will be holding a series of free public events.  These will be part of TRESOC’s feasibility study into the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) array plus on-site battery storage and electric vehicle charging points at THCLT’s 31-home Clay Park development.

If the study – funded by a Rural Community Energy Fund grant of almost £30,000 – proves the case for solar, the new socio-eco housing development at Clay Park in Dartington could benefit from its own supply of affordable green energy. A micro-grid would 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 would save approximately 10%.  As well as improving local energy resilience, this would save an estimated 45 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.

TRESOC would be invited to become the energy supplier at the progressive development, 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.

Both TRESOC and THCLT are keen to involve the local community for the two walk and talk events, which are open to everyone. These take place at 10.30am and 12.30pm on Thursday 10th and Saturday 12th September, at the Clay Park site. TRESOC’s Operations Manager, Sally Murrall-Smith said, “Children are very welcome to come to these with their parents, and there will be fun renewable things for them to do while the grown-ups enjoy the tour. Please meet at the Clay Park site – the entrance is opposite the Kingdom Hall on the Dartington road.”

The Green Energy focus groups will be held between 11am and 12.30pm on Thursday 24th and Saturday 26th September. These events will be for prospective tenants of Clay Park. THCLT has planning permission for 31 highly energy-efficient eco-homes, offering a choice of affordable rent or shared ownership for local people in housing need. If you would like to put your name down as a prospective resident of either rented, shared own or market housing, please email The venue for these events will be announced nearer the time. To register, email or call 01803 867431.

In October 7th, there will be an online community meeting between 7-8pm. To participate, please email or call 01803 867431.

Event details - text at the bottom of this page

The Rural Community Energy Fund is delivered by the South West Energy Hub on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). The energy hub is led by the West of England Combined Authority, working in partnership with Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

TRESOC is a Registered Society with 550 members, 94% are local to Totnes. As with the 2011, 2012, and 2014 share-offers, the minimum investment will be £20, meaning TRESOC membership is open to anyone, regardless of income. This provides the community with access to a local, ethical, and sustainable investment opportunity. It is expected that TRESOC will buy wholesale electricity from a green energy supplier at such times when the solar PV is unable to meet demand at Clay Park. Any surplus electricity will be sold to the National Grid. TRESOC currently supplies commercial customers at 10% less than grid price but hopes to improve on this during the modelling.

Transition Homes Community Land is a volunteer-led community project with a small staff. Clay Park is its first development and is designed to meet some of the need for affordable housing in the Totnes area. As an offshoot of Transition Town Totnes, its scheme of 31 eco-homes at Clay Park, in Dartington parish, has been designed to be as low impact as possible within the existing planning framework of the South Hams. The majority of the homes (70%) are affordable rental and shared ownership for local people in housing need, with a proportion of market housing required for cross-subsidy.


Sally Murrall-Smith
01803 867431

Nicola Lang


Event details

Walk & Talks
Come and explore the site and ask questions in an informal setting. This event is open to everyone. Convenient weekday and weekend times. Children welcome; kids renewable energy making activities on site.
Meet at the Clay Park site (entrance opposite the Kingdom Hall on Dartington road)
Thursday 10th Sept: 10.30am and 12.30pm
Saturday 12th Sept: 10.30am and 12.30pm

Green Energy Focus Groups
Interested in becoming a Clay Park resident? Want to pay a fair price for green energy? Fancy borrowing an electric car? Help design how residents will interact with their energy system.
Totnes (venue TBD)
Thursday 24th Sept: 11am-12:30pm
Saturday 26th Sept: 11am-12:30pm

Online Community Meeting
7th October: 7-8pm

Leave a Reply