If your organization wants to make an impact, look to the skies like Nixon Peabody did. The international law firm, in partnership with Brookfield Office Properties and other stakeholders, installed a Solar Photovoltaic System on three commercial building rooftops in Washington, D.C.
Leadership within Nixon Peabody saw an opportunity to harness the amazing benefits of solar energy for their community and environment. Approximately $25,000 of the renewable electricity produced by the solar arrays will be virtually credited to the utility bills of 100 low-income tenants of a National Housing Trust property in SE Washington, DC. The firm’s sustainable efforts to make a positive impact on surrounding communities generated invaluable press coverage. SolarGaines is proud and privileged to have been a part of designing and installing this groundbreaking, visionary community solar project; it is the first and largest community solar project in the city.
Public policy supports clean energy not only through the federal renewable energy tax incentives and other programs; additional policies, like a law passed in D.C. in 2013, encourage collaboration known as community solar. Shared renewable energy projects are gaining ground with supportive incentives in at least 12 states and D.C.
To structure a community solar project according to the specific assets and needs of a business or community property, it can take on any of these forms:
- Offsite shared solar – Building a collective solar array in a sunnier area than your own buildings.
- Community driven models – Investors and/or charitable groups raise capital for the installation.
- Community group purchasing – Neighbors work together to build a multi-unit array.
- Onsite shared solar – Owners in a multi-unit building pool together to go solar.
The community solar policies are a humanitarian initiative to bring renewable power and energy solutions to scale. While donated energy helps low-income families, the environment benefits from cleaner, renewable energy. Residents in the nation’s capital have a high rate of energy poverty, spending about 10% of their household income toward electricity bills, and in some cases, up to 20%.
It’s worth noting that Nixon Peabody is not taking business losses from these clean energy initiatives. But with solar you don’t have to sacrifice in order to give. Solar panel owners have the prerogative to give away the electricity while retaining their rightfully earned solar energy credits.
The business world is just beginning to explore the possibilities for leveraging solar energy. Keep an eye out for more news from Nixon Peabody as they expand their project in 2017. Or why not join them? Every industry is looking out for the next news-making community solar project; maybe someone like you will participate in the next groundbreaking venture.