Washington, DC. New Partners Community Solar—the nonprofit formed through Nixon Peabody that has already made a difference in the lives of hundreds of low-income people through its Washington, DC, solar program—is now driving an innovative new project designed to meet this crucial need for affordable housing residents in the District.
This new program, developed by New Partners in cooperation with public utility Pepco and affordable housing developer Jubilee Housing, is a $300,0000 project to create a “sustainably powered resilience room” at the Maycroft development in Washington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood.
New Partners is leading the design and development of the resiliency room. Installation will be completed this winter, and the resources will be available to Maycroft residents next year. When activated, the resilience room will be able to provide three days of power to residents of the complex, allowing them to refrigerate medication, stay connected to important emergency information and charge essential communications devices such as cell phones.
This is the first such resource in the District, and one of the only examples nationwide of New Partners’ “solar+battery storage+resiliency” efforts, a stunning example of what can be achieved through the combined efforts of three of NP’s crucial organizational initiatives: Legally Green, Pro Bono and Innovation. The project involves attorneys in our renewable energy, community development, affordable housing, corporate and real estate practices.
“NP’s commitment to serving our communities is one of our most important principles,” said Jeff Lesk, NP partner and co-founder of New Partners. “I couldn’t be prouder to have the firm and New Partners Community Solar involved in this project, supporting the important work of Pepco and Jubilee Housing. This resiliency project is a great example of collaboration within NP, and between the firm and key organizations in the cities we serve—and it’s a great demonstration of who we are as a firm.”
Alison Torbitt, a San Francisco partner and member of the Legally Green Committee, said NP attorneys devised the organizational and legal structure of the pilot program that allowed Pepco and Jubilee to team up with NP.
“We are always looking for opportunities where our sustainability, energy finance and affordable housing practices can converge in a way that benefits clients and communities,” Alison said. “Our attorneys generated the idea, reached out to potential external partners, drafted the documents and were able to help New Partners get to work on a truly groundbreaking project.”
“The people and organizations we serve through our pro bono program are not just our clients, they’re our neighbors,” said Stacey Slater, the firm’s pro bono partner. “And those who will benefit most from this resiliency project—especially low-income folks—are the kind of people we try to help in all areas of our pro bono service. To be able to have this kind of impact in our own backyard is just amazing.”
“We want to be driving innovative solutions everywhere we see a need,” said Chief Innovation Officer Aaron Yowell. “I’m thrilled we were able to seize this opportunity.”