Derbyshire renewable energy pioneers win national award for community impact

The organisation pioneering a new era of small-scale, community-owned renewable energy projects across Derbyshire has been honoured with a national award.
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As previously reported, Derbyshire Dales Community Energy (DDCE Ltd) was up for the small/medium organisation of the year accolade at the Community Energy England Awards and on Friday, November 17, directors Dave Locke and Steve Martin were at the Lowry Theatre in Salford to hear they had won.

Steve said: “We are proud to have been selected. It means a great deal to all of those that have participated in our progress over the last three years, beginning with Matlock Town Council who helped develop a bid for the first tranche of the Rural Community Energy funding to begin our journey, particularly Councillor David Hughes, and the then clerk, Joanna Hill, now climate emergency officer for the district council.

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“This award is also a tribute to all our founding board members, in particular, Emma Hickling, Brian Hebron, John Taylor, Liz Pasteur, Lucy Bird and Barry Carney.”

Derbyshire Dales Community Energy directors Dave Locke, left, and Steve Martin collecting the award. (Photo: DDCE)Derbyshire Dales Community Energy directors Dave Locke, left, and Steve Martin collecting the award. (Photo: DDCE)
Derbyshire Dales Community Energy directors Dave Locke, left, and Steve Martin collecting the award. (Photo: DDCE)

He added: “We also want to thank Big Solar Coop – our partner in the delivery of the solar photovoltaic installations in the district – the Midlands Net Zero Hub and Derbyshire County Council.”

“Last but by no means least, all the 16 Derbyshire Community Energy groups who are pioneering the decarbonising programme that we much need towards a sustainable future.”

The awards are an annual event that brings together individuals, organisations and initiatives that are driving sustainable and locally-produced energy as a solution to wider environmental challenges.

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Steve said: “The ceremony identified a wide range of national inspirational programmes, all of whom would justify the title of organisation of the year and most of them led by volunteers and endorsed and supported directly by local authorities. Clearly a strong spirit of localism and action bring together like minded people to make a real difference.”

Awards contenders are expected to demonstrated excellence across their operations, delivery, impact, engagement, innovation, and contribution to the broader sector.

A statement from the judges said: “DDCE stands at the forefront of the renewable energy movement in Derbyshire. Established in 2022 as a community benefit society, DDCE has been working relentlessly to combat climate change by fostering rural community-based renewable energy initiatives across Derbyshire.

“DDCE’s impact goes beyond clean energy generation. Their work has become a catalyst for community engagement and empowerment. By supporting volunteers and community energy groups, DDCE has provided avenues for individuals to actively contribute to the fight against climate change.”

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Thanks to funding from Derbyshire County Council, DDCE has so far worked in collaboration with 17 community energy groups on installing solar panels, hydroelectric generators and electric vehicle charging points, all owned and run for the benefit of local partners.

Their partnership with the Big Solar Co-op, a nationwide non-profit, has opened avenues for larger scale rooftop solar projects in Derbyshire Dales, with potential sites boasting up to 1.5MWp of solar electricity capacity.

The first installation is currently at tendering stage, and DDCE is inviting local companies to compete for the contract.

Big Solar Co-op is currently running its latest share offer to fund projects across the country, including those developed with DDCE, and the two organisations have produced a new video on their work at

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