Community-based renewable energy could help in achieving energy targets and altering energy behaviours. It has been found in other studies that the extent to which local residents are involved in a scheme, either through ownership or active participation, can be the key to acceptance and increasing energy awareness. Here, we explore motivations and barriers to involvement with residents in three communities in Cumbria, UK. The study uses questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to explore themes of ownership, levels of involvement and community cohesion, and examines how these influence residents’ willingness to accept or participate in a local initiative. Through exploring these themes we additionally find that residents hold place-based attachments to both physical attributes and social interactions within the community. These attachments appear to be influential in residents’ willingness to participate in local renewable projects and in acceptance of certain renewable technologies. For instance, there was overwhelming support for localised hydropower due to the historical legacy of industrialised water-power use in the region.