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Community green scheme issues second shares tranche

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 07, 2011

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A community-led not-for profit green scheme has issued a second tranche of share options in a bid to raise £120,000 for the first of its planned multi-million pound renewables projects.

Residents of Totnes and its 15 surrounding parishes have until September 19 to apply for between £20 and £20,000 worth of shares in the Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC)'s planned investment in green energy sources.

The independent providence society secured 378 members and raised £60,000 in an initial sale of shares, when it was launched in September last year.

TRESOC hopes to raise the same again, following the distribution of 11,096 leaflets to households and businesses within its membership catchment area.

Its aim is for the local community to eventually generate at least 30 per cent of the energy it consumes, by 2020.

The community-led business, was initially founded to launch two community wind turbines, at a cost of around £6 million. While the land has been secured, planning applications are still being undertaken and since TRESOC's launch, a second project, a £120,000 30kWp solar array, is in development at Hatchlands Farm.

It is anticipated to come online and begin generating an interest payment of up to 5 per cent for shareholders via the Feed in Tariff, by the end of 2012.

TRESOC's signed agree ment with Totnes based technology provider South Western Solar Projects also gives it the option to increase the array to install a further 50kWp.

The society is also negotiating partnerships with renewables providers for other green energy projects, including linking up with the Dartington Hall Trust to build an anaerobic digestion plant on the Dartington Estate.

It has evolved individual agreements with each technology developer, which in the case of its proposed wind turbines project with Dorset based Infinergy, gives the society an option to raise 49 per cent of the investment capital.

TRESOC has already been approached by national equity investors interested in its projects and also has the opportunity of securing bank funding.

However, its managing director, former Somerset County Council renewable energy officer Ian Bright, said that the ultimate aim of the society was to engage as much of the local community as possible, via its investment proposal.

It also aims to target high-net-worth individuals who live locally, who would be able to invest larger sums in return for company bonds.

Mr Bright said: "Our intent is to work with local businesses and stakeholders to create growth and stability in the local economy by realising a commercially viable portfolio of innovative wind, solar, hydro and biomass projects."

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