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Tamar Energy Community

Who benefits

As a community benefit society,  Tamar Energy Community (TEC) operates primarily for the benefit of the Local Community rather than its Members. All surplus income from TEC’s Solar Roofs after operating costs, reserves and finance costs will be used to support TEC’s community purpose.

Local Community

Tamar Energy Community serves the communities in and around the Tamar Valley in Devon and Cornwall.

The Tamar Valley is a wide wooded river valley stretching from Bodmin Moor via Dartmoor to Plymouth and the sea. The area is where West Devon and East Cornwall meet, bordered by the wildness of the moors of Bodmin and Dartmoor. It is an area rich in natural beauty and history, including mining and horticultural industrial heritages and a thriving local food culture. The area is popular with tourists and loved by its inhabitants, and the high levels of sunshine make it excellent for solar generation.

Tavistock, Callington and the surrounding area have a strong sense of community and identity with an active network of community groups.

The economies of West Devon and East Cornwall tend to be low waged, much of the area is off the mains gas grid and many homes are older and harder to heat. This leads to levels of fuel poverty higher than the national average. There is also an aging population with many people without access to broadband and digital services, meaning more people need support managing their energy needs and bills.

Solar Roof Community Fund

Surplus income generated by the Solar Roofs (after operating and finance costs and reserves) will be reinvested into the community, via TEC's community benefit fund, to address fuel poverty and fund energy efficiency and clean renewable energy measures, with a focus on the disadvantaged within the community.

It is expected the surplus income will be around £200,000 in total over the next 16 years, with at least £10,000 per year from the outset. TEC’s first round of community grants have been invested in local energy hardship funds to provide support during the Corona pandemic.

Community support

TEC has been providing the local community with independent energy advice and support since it was set up in 2014. TEC’s team of five trained energy advisors help local households with energy matters ranging from switching to a cheaper or greener tariff to making their homes more energy efficient and accessing funding for insulation or a replacement boiler.

A key part of TEC’s energy advice service is providing free home energy assessments for low income and vulnerable households. 

Case Study - Warmer Bedford Cottages

In the 19th Century, around 300 Bedford Cottages were built as homes for industrial workers in Tavistock and surrounding areas. Many of these are listed; and now require enhancements to be healthy, comfortable and economic.

TEC has been working with West Devon Borough Council (WDBC), Tavistock Town Council (TTC) and Tavistock Heritage Initiative (THI) to develop a residents guide for enhancing the Bedford Cottages and similar properties in ways that are both consistent with good conservation practice and affordability. The guide will be available in the autumn 2020.

Case Study - Ann and Ted

Ann and Ted live in sheltered housing in Mary Tavy. They called TEC for a home visit following a talk TEC had given to a local support group. They were concerned about errors with their energy bills. During the visit their TEC advisor was able to sort out a problem with an Economy 7 tariff, switch to a better deal and change the light bulbs to LEDs. A significant problem with water charges and a leak was also able to be resolved through liaising with SW Water, and the fire service visited to upgrade the smoke alarms and undertake a fire safety check.

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