Solar rooftop panel program expanded to more commercial buildings in Washington, DC

August 09, 2017

Energy produced will benefit several hundred affordable housing tenants in the District

Chief Communications Officer
Allison McClain

Washington, DC. New Partners Community Solar Corp., an independent nonprofit formed by Nixon Peabody partners Herb Stevens and Jeff Lesk, has launched Phase 2 of its NP Solar program. In this next project phase, New Partners will finance, develop and install solar panels, comprising an aggregate solar array network of approximately one megawatt, on the rooftops of several office buildings in Washington, DC.

This project phase, made possible by a recently awarded District Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) grant under the DC Solar for All program, will benefit several hundred affordable housing tenants throughout the nation’s capital. The New Partners Solar program is designed to provide each tenant with approximately $250 per year in energy billing credits. These credits will be reflected directly on tenant utility bills or distributed through direct payments or vouchers.

Energy produced by the rooftop panels will be distributed to the utility grid under a net metering arrangement. All of the corresponding billing credits will be given (at no cost) to low-income individuals and families who live in affordable housing developments.

Nixon Peabody partners Herb Stevens and Jeff Lesk launched New Partners Solar in 2016 as a combined effort of the firm’s innovation, sustainability and pro bono programs, and a way to give back to the community. “This unique project combines commercial rooftops and community solar to pass the benefits along to low-income residents. It’s a true public-private partnership,” said Herb Stevens.

NP Solar has already demonstrated that the Community Solar project model can work. Earlier this year, in partnership with DOEE and other stakeholders, New Partners Solar successfully completed the installation and interconnection of DC’s first Community Solar project, comprised of solar arrays on three commercial rooftops. Energy produced by this project (projected to total approximately $25,000 per year) is being distributed to the utility grid under a net metering arrangement. All of the resulting billing credits are benefiting approximately 100 low-income families in the District.

In addition to the DOEE grant, Phase 2 of the New Partners Solar program will leverage significant private debt and equity investment. “An important purpose of the program is to demonstrate that, by leveraging private capital and nonprofit management, building owners can use their rooftops to help provide clean renewable energy,” said Jeff Lesk. “Our goal is to make a major contribution to the city and to sustainability—and to share what we’ve done with the greater community.”

The project will supply approximately 1200 MW hours per year of electric power from new solar power rooftop generating facilities in the District. It also aims to make the District more climate-resilient and benefit the local low-income residential community by meeting some of its power needs with free, clean, renewable energy and reducing their electric energy bills.

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