£20,000 RCEF grant secured to help capture solar energy for our community

Tamar Energy Community (TEC), our local energy cooperative owned and run by the community, is thrilled to have secured a £20,000 RCEF grant. This will enable us to pay for the detailed feasibility work for our ‘Community Solar Roofs Project’.

RCEF is a £15 million programme, delivered by WRAP and jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). It supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community. For more information on RCEF, visit www.wrap.org.uk/renewables

Our ‘Community Solar Roofs Project’ is TECs first community scale project to generate energy locally, funded and owned by the community. The project will install solar panels on a number of roofs across the area from Callington to Buckland Monachorum, including four local schools and colleges and three community facilities. If successful, the project will have a capacity of just under half a megawatt hour of power – sufficient for over 130 homes (equivalent).

The project will benefit our community in several ways, providing:

  • local people with an investment opportunity with a fair rate of return
  • reduced cost electricity to the organisations who have the solar panels installed on their roofs
  • a community benefit fund to support local projects
  • part time employment for a TEC administrator
  • support for learning about local energy generation as part of the school curriculum
  • a reduction in the amount of energy that needs to be imported from outside the community, and a contribution to our local and national electricity generation needs
  • work for local businesses who will do the installations and ongoing maintenance.

Transition Tavistock’s study on the local energy economy (Tavistock and District Local Economic Blueprint) estimated that £40m per annum is spent across Tavistock and its southern linked parishes on heat and power. With much of this being spent with national and international companies, the more we can generate locally, (as well as reducing how much we use), the more money we keep within our local economy (http://www.transitiontavistock.org.uk/working-groups/tavistock-and-district-local-economic-blueprint/).

TEC’s professional partners to deliver the detailed feasibility work are Communities for Renewables (www.cfrcic.co.uk/) led by Jake Burnyeat and Rosie Gillam and Plymouth Energy Community (www.plymouthenergycommunity.com/) led by Jon Selman. Our TEC team is led by the two Kates (Royston and Dibble).

Kate Royston, TEC’s coordinator said “A lot of people have invested a lot of time to help make this project happen, and we’re excited to see it getting off the ground. We’d like to thank Devon County Council and RegenSW for their help from the Devon Accelerator Fund which helped pay for our initial work in the autumn and, importantly, to WRAP and the RCEF fund which will help pay for the next steps. We hope that as many people as possible, locally, are able to benefit from this community project.”

We’ll keep everyone informed of progress through the project, particularly via facebook (Tamar Energy Community) and twitter (@TamarTec). Please like and follow us! 

For further information please contact Kate Royton (kate.royston@transitiontavistock.org.uk; 07969-569-444).

Celebration of local food and growing

Roots 3

Sat. 5th  March 2016: 2pm to 4.30pm
at Tavistock College

Interested in local food and growing? Want to know more?
Come and share your experiences and learn from others

Family friendly event. Please bring the children!
Refreshments. Free – donations welcomed!

A fast moving, fun packed and informative event to celebrate our local food, growing and cooking. Please come along. More details here

So much to celebrate … and time to get growing!


Climate Matters – Sat 30th Jan 2016

Does climate change matter to the Tavistock area? We think so! …

And so did others locally who came and joined us in the Guide Hall, Tavistock today, Saturday 30th Jan. 2016 between 11:00 and 13:00.

We had an open meeting to share ideas and link up local actions on climate change.

We discussed what’s already going on and what else we might do.
There was a lot of interest in learning, influencing, practical action and connecting with others.

We’ll publish a summary shortly, and some suggestions for meeting up again.

Thanks to everyone who came along and participated, to the folks who arranged it and helped make it happen … and to the Tavistock Times for their support.

Saturday 30th January, 11am to 1pm, 

Guide Hall, Tavistock, PL19 8AT (corner of Canal Road and Bedford Car Park)
Download a poster here.

If you have any questions, ideas, would like to get involved please email info@transitiontavistock.org.uk.


Solar Array Bond Offer

In a radical move to bring more community-owned energy to the SW Devon area, Ivybridge group PL:21 Transition Initiative, has teamed up with award winning Bath and West Community Energy (BWCE) to give local people the chance to invest in a newly built solar array. BWCE offered investment in a 2 year fixed interest bond to complete the purchase of a 4.3 Mega Watt (MW) solar farm at Lee Moor.

Tamar Energy Community (TEC) and Transition Tavistock supported PL21, a fellow partner in the S.W Devon Community Energy Partnership, to publicise this investment offer.

Portworthy Solar Array Ivybridge event flyerThe bond offer and how local people can get involved was explained fully at a free public meeting on the 13th January in the Watermark, Ivybridge, PL21 0SZ, at 7pm.

The solar array has been constructed on brownfield land associated with the old china clay works at Portworthy Dams, near Lee Moor and will generate enough clean energy to power about 1300 average homes every year. As a community enterprise it will generate over £20,000 per year to go into a community fund to support local projects.

In the absence of a local community energy society in the South Dartmoor area, Bath and West Community Energy agreed to raise the funds to purchase the solar farm with a view to it being taken on by a new, local community energy company after 2 years. This new company,South Dartmoor Community Energy, is currently being developed by PL:21Transition Initiative.

The bond offer raised £1.68 million over a 7 week period and closed four days early!. The bond offer document – http://www.bwce.coop. is available here.

Peter Capener, Chair of Bath and West Community Energy explains: “Renewable energy installations have shown to be good investments over the last few years and we expect this opportunity to be snapped up quickly. The 2 year bonds bonds will have a 5.5% p.a. interest rate, the minimum investment is £500 and the offer is open until the 31st January.”

Peter Crone, PL:21 Renewables expert commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for people to get involved in a local renewable energy scheme. We look forward to working with communities across the area and to ensuring this solar farm becomes a successful community energy enterprise”.

Kate Royston, Chair of Tamar Energy Community, added: “We are pleased to support PL21 and BWCE with this initiative. Wider community ownership of local energy generation is important for the area. Tamar Energy Community anticipate launching our own share issue for a local solar rooftops project in the second quarter of 2016, and welcome local investors.”

Investors in the Portworthy Solar Array, who subsequently invest in Tamar Energy Community’s anticipated share offer in summer 2016, may be eligible for an additional 0.5% interest (see bond offer document for more details - investment decisions should only be based on information from the offer documentation).

The Ivybridge bond offer event on the 13th January is being supported by a grant that PL:21 has been awarded through the RegenSW Community Energy Accelerator Devon County Council Fund.                                                             

Join us for the launch of the Tavistock and District Local Economic Blueprint

We’re launching the Tavistock and District Local Economic Blueprint on Friday 6th November at the Tavistock Chamber Business Show.

Join us for the Launch Presentation at 12:30 … and come along and have a chat at our stand. We’ll be there from 09:30 to 17:00.

The Blueprint looks at how far the £120m spent each year in and around Tavistock on food and energy benefits the local economy, and what opportunities there are for these sectors to deliver more for our future health, wellbeing, resilience and prosperity? 

The first section of our report, focusing on food and drink, is now available here to download.

Headlines include:

  • Hundreds of food businesses, from farms to restaurants, provide around 3000 local jobs
  • Over £80m a year spent on food and drink by people living in or visiting the area – but most not locally produced.
  • So a marginal shift towards local supply chains could significantly help the local economy.

We look forward to seeing you on the 6th November in Tavistock Town Hall.


Changes to FIT tarrifs will have big impact

The government’s proposed changes to Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) will adversely impact community energy  groups across the South West, including here in the Tavistock and Callington areas – Tamar Energy Community, Peter Tavy Community Hydro and SHARE.

Community energy is an important way to enable local people to have more control, and say, over their energy, and for us to work together to reduce our costs. Developing local community owned projects will help us develop opportunities for local supply at, we hope, more advantageous local prices. This is not just a pipedream. A pilot projects is underway in Wadebridge, Cornwall, to bring this closer to reality.

The government’s proposals are for a dramatic reduction in FITs from 1st January 2016. Locally generated energy brings jobs and investment to the region and these benefits are now at risk of being lost. A more gradual change is recommended with continued support for community owned projects.

If you’d like to help us and participate in the Day of Action please write to your local MP (Geoffrey Cox MP – West Devon and Torridge; Sheryll Murray MP – S.E. Cornwall) and let him/her know how the proposed changes in the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) review will affect community renewable energy projects across the south west; and ask him/her to send a letter on your behalf to the Secretary of State, Amber Rudd MP.

We will be meeting Geoffrey Cox MP on Saturday October 17th at 13:30. If you would like to sign a letter for us to take along to the meeting please come to Bedford Square on Saturday 17th Oct (tomorrow) between 12:00 and 13:00.

You can download here:

A number of community energy groups across the area have also got together to make this short film.

You can also find more information here and on the 10:10 website (http://www.1010uk.org); and you can sign the petition on the Parliament website.

Green Open Homes this weekend

This weekend – Sat 10th and Sun 11th October –  there are twelve local householders and businesses opening their doors for our Green Open Homes weekend to share with you what they’ve done to improve their home comfort and reduce their energy use. … and sharing lessons learnt.

There are homes open from Roborough to Lydford and from Merrivale to Chipshop

Find out more about how black blinds absorb sunlight and warmth during the day in Roborough; visit two homes with external wall insulation in Tavistock; check out the further improvements to Bush Park on the edge of Lydford with the installation of a biomass boiler.

This is also an opportunity to see backstage at Dartmoor Holidays on the edge of Peter Tavy and Woodovis Park nr. Chipshop. Woodovis has won lots of awards for their sustainable practices. You can also see how Merrivale Farm has used In-Form-Concrete to renovate a barn for use as an Office and Training Room.

Green Open Homes 2015 flyerThere are older homes which have been renovated and more modern homes which have been improved. There are also several with small holdings and productive gardens for those interested.

More details here including an overview of all the homes.

If you have any questions please get in touch at info@transitiontavistock.org.uk; 07969-569-444.

Please share this event with your friends, family and neighbours. You can download a flyer here.or a  programme for the day here.

Please join us at our Energy Fair on Oct. 3rd – Tavistock Town Hall

Energy Fair 2015 flyer

Our 2015 Energy Fair will be in Tavistock Town Hall from 10:00 to 15:00 on Saturday October 3rd 2015.

We’ve got a full and fun programme for you including local experts and businesses, talks, advice from our energy team, a cafe with free tea and coffee and a children’s area with pedal powered scalextric racing! More details here.

The following weekend – Sat 10th and Sun 11th – a number of local householders have agreed to open their doors for our Green Open Homes weekend … with homes open across the area. More details here.

Take this great opportunity to find out how other householders have tackled making their homes more energy efficient and comfortable.

Green Open Homes 2015 flyer

If you have any questions, would like to exhibit at the Energy Fair or open your home please get in touch at info@transitiontavistock.org.uk; 07969-569-444.

Please share with your friends, family and neighbours. You can download a flyer here.

Energy Savers Energy Fair – Sat 3rd Oct. 2015 Plus … Open Homes weekend – Sat & Sun 10th / 11th Oct. 2015

This year our Energy Fair will be held in Tavistock Town Hall from 10:00 to 15:00 on Saturday October 3rd 2015The programme will include local experts and exhibitors, talks and advice throughout the day, a cafe and children’s area.Our Open Homes weekend will take place on the 10th and 11th October. We’ll have more details soon about the homes that will be open. This is a great opportunity to have a look at how other householders have tackled making their homes more energy efficient and comfortable.

If you’d be prepared to open your home, or would like to discuss it … or you would like to exhibit at the Energy Fair please get in touch at info@transitiontavistock.org.uk; 07969-569-444.

There’s more information about our previous events here