New Partners developed the first community solar project in Washington, DC in 2017, when founders Herb Stevens and Jeff Lesk placed a solar array on the rooftop of the law offices of Nixon Peabody, where they were law partners. Instead of sending the energy benefits to the firm, Herb and Jeff developed an innovative structure that enabled New Partners to give away the energy savings to vulnerable DC families, thus creating the District’s first low-income community solar energy program and establishing DC’s first Community Renewable Energy Facility (CREF).
Our impact continues to grow. We now produce and distribute 100% of the economic benefits of clean, renewable energy from our solar arrays throughout the District of Columbia to more than 200 low-income families, offsetting over 450 tons of carbon emissions. New Partners also became a designated solar provider when the District of Columbia started its Solar for All program, which was modeled in significant part on New Partners’ demonstration project. Our newest focus is on solar+battery resiliency projects. We have developed the first battery-powered resiliency hub for low-income District residents at Jubilee Housing’s Maycroft Apartments, and are completing another battery storage project at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School.
Everything we do supports our mission of Environmental Justice and contributes to making the benefits of renewable energy and the green economy available to all. We measure our impact both by how we benefit the environment and by how we benefit the community.
We measure our impact both by how we benefit the environment and by how we benefit the community.
- New Partners’ arrays have cumulatively offset over 450 tons of carbon emissions. This is the equivalent of planting 70,000 young trees. Our sustainable system continues to offset additional carbon every year.
- Over 200 low and very low-income households receive billing credits on their electricity bills from our program every month.
- Our innovative approach to solar + storage has increased grid efficiency and resiliency in the District.
- Our low-income resiliency center project offers critical emergency preparedness benefits to some of our community’s most vulnerable members.
New Partners’ core mission of Environmental Justice — ensuring that the environmental, health and economic benefits of renewable energy are equally received by all — addresses important overlapping injustices.
The families we provide with free renewable energy benefits are economically-disadvantaged, predominantly Black and Latinx households, and are likely to experience public health and educational inequities, as well as racial discrimination.
Our commitment to justice — in every sense of the word — is reflected not only in our work, but in our hiring practices, materials selection, and partnerships with organizations that are diverse and aligned with our vision for a more equitable future.
2017 – New Partners puts in operation DC’s First Community Solar Project, completing three downtown rooftop arrays in NW and NE DC and benefitting low-income households in two affordable housing developments in SE and SW DC.
2018-2019 – Launch and completion of three additional downtown DC office building rooftop arrays, and the start of construction of four rooftop solar arrays and a newly-constructed solar playground shade canopy at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School in NE DC. These arrays benefit low-income households in three affordable housing developments in SE, SW, and NW DC.
2019 – Completion and dedication of The Resiliency Center Powered by Pepco, a Solar + Storage Low-Income Resiliency Hub for the low-income residents of Maycroft Apartments, the first-of-its-kind in the District of Columbia. This project transformed the community center in the historic Maycroft Apartments into a shelter-in-place facility powered by a 70.2 kW solar array atop the Maycroft and a 50 kW battery array housed adjacent to the community center.
2019 – Completion of an energy offtake arrangement with Jubilee Housing to include economic benefits to returning citizens living in group housing, demonstrating the use of Low-Income Community Solar for master-metered buildings.
2020 – Completion and interconnection of the solar playground canopy at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School.
2020 – Designation by the Catalogue of Philanthropy as One of the Best DC Nonprofits for 2020/2021.
2021 On the Drawing Board – Currently designing a series of solar rooftop arrays, carport canopies and field arrays to be hosted at a large affordable housing development in Ward 8. We are also working with two downtown commercial building owners and solar development partners on arrays for two additional office buildings.
Ongoing – New Partners continues to focus on education programming, hosting student groups, sustainability, and government organizations, and civic groups. We are often asked to speak at local and national conferences and trade association programs, and we guest lecture at local universities and law schools. We routinely testify at city council committee hearings and consult with government agencies to advance our legislative advocacy work.
New Partners Community Solar envisions inclusive communities where the health, environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy are accessible to everyone, regardless of income.
Our mission is promoting Environmental Justice by transforming renewable energy development, finance, and policy to benefit our most vulnerable citizens.
Meet The Team
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Sasha Srivastava is an experienced professional both in sustainability and finance. Caring about both people and the environment, she is focused on solutions that simultaneously address environmental problems and justice issues, particularly among highly vulnerable populations. Having concentrated on climate solutions that tackle mitigation and adaptation concurrently, Sasha holds a Master of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University in Energy Policy and Climate, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Management from Pepperdine University. Before she joined us, Sasha designed and carried out original research on secondary positive impacts of participation in low-income solar programs. Sasha is the glue that holds New Partners together, keeping us focused on the environmental and social policies that form the basis of our work. She embraces a constantly evolving and growing job description.
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER
In his first career as a partner at Nixon Peabody, Herb Stevens was a nationally-recognized legal expert in financing a broad range of community development, historic preservation, renewable energy and affordable housing projects (including authoring the first comprehensive guide to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit). Herb focused his legal practice on new ways to bring investment to underserved communities and in making it easier for those communities to access capital to revitalize neighborhoods — providing jobs, housing, and sustainable energy. In public testimony before legislatures, in college and law school classes, and in national and local conferences, Herb frequently advocated for investors and developers to share their expertise and commitment to develop innovative financing techniques to provide greater community benefits. Herb also served as the firm’s Chief Innovation Officer, leading the firm-wide innovation initiative – under which he co-founded New Partners Community Solar as a pro bono project of the firm. Herb brings decades of national leadership prominence in sophisticated project finance and tax structuring, an infectious positive attitude, and a deep dedication to justice to guide New Partners in all aspects of our work.
PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER
PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER
In his former role as Managing Partner of Nixon Peabody’s Washington, D.C. office, Jeff Lesk’s vision was to create a model for the law firm of the future—more connected, sustainable, and community-oriented. His thought leadership included installing a solar array on the firm’s new DC office. This ultimately led to co-founding New Partners Community Solar with Herb Stevens and launching the first community solar project in the District. Recently retired, Jeff co-manages New Partners. This is a capstone of Jeff’s 40-year legal career, which has focused on the legal aspects of developing and financing complex affordable housing, community development, historic preservation and renewable energy transactions. One of the first LEED AP attorneys in the nation, Jeff’s practice also included sustainable development. Jeff has been a frequent lecturer on his areas of expertise, including teaching Community Development Finance in the University of Maryland Masters in Real Estate program. He continues this educational focus on behalf of New Partners in a variety of contexts – promoting renewable energy, green development and finance, and environmental justice. As a superb communicator, Jeff brings active thought leadership to New Partners in sustainability, innovation, and community development. He has inspired pro bono engagement from a broad spectrum of individuals and has kept us focused us on the effects of climate change on people in our own community.
Pranay Kohli is an experienced executive and consultant to renewable energy companies. He has advised Fortune 100 corporations, several foreign governments, and the European Commission on energy issues on World Bank, IMF, and other assignments. Pranay has an MS (Physics) and MTech (Energy Systems) from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India. He has worked as a solar scientist at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, and attended Business Administration coursework at Stockholm University, Sweden. He served on the Advisory Board of Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) and the Board of Directors of Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industry Association (MDV-SEIA). Pranay is also an adviser to Washington DC-based Institute for Energy and Environment Research (IEER). Pranay brings his deep solar expertise and experience to every New Partners project, elevating New Partners’ presence in every aspect of solar development and helping us conquer the challenges within our forward-looking projects.
Heather Raspberry is the executive director of HAND (Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers), a diverse collective of changemakers whose strategic collaboration brings strong communities to fruition in the Capital Region of Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond. Through education, engagement and regional advocacy, HAND builds the capacity of its cross-sector membership who are all united by their commitment to creating communities where all can live and thrive. Heather believes that through thoughtful engagement and strategic collaboration, organizations and mission-driven stakeholders can transform communities. Since her appointment in 2012, Heather has led HAND’s strategic, financial, and administrative operations with innovative thinking and strong coalition-building among various sectors of the industry. Heather has a central role in the region’s affordable housing community, educating New Partners in all aspects of the industry and constantly challenging us to deepen our commitment to low-income residents and racial inclusion.
Patty Rose is an experienced leader in the field of design for public service. As the Executive Director of Greenspace, she creates and leads partnerships that integrate the development community and advocacy organizations’ effort to create more vibrant communities, and resilient green buildings and neighborhoods. Her leadership contributed to creating and passing the DC Green Building Act in 2006. Since then, she has focused on its successful implementation, which included: becoming a mayoral appointee to the DC Green Building Advisory Council; consulting with the Sustainability and Energy Division of the DC General Services Administration to develop their five-year strategic plan which incorporated utility management, energy efficiency and conservation, resiliency, preparation for the impacts of climate change, and the strategy for owning, leasing and operating high-performance buildings; and serving as the co-creator and manager of the Smarter DC Challenge. She holds a degree in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. Patty has been a force in the DC green building and broad-based sustainability movement, using her environmental knowledge and extensive network to assist New Partners in navigating the waters of the DC government, business, and nonprofit communities to achieve positive sustainability outcomes for the District.
Treasurer/Chairman of the Board
Treasurer/Chairman of the Board
As a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, now known as New Partners,, Liz Young provides tax counsel to public and private real estate investors, private equity sponsors, and tax-exempt organizations to finance community development projects across the U.S. She works with clients to structure complex community development transactions involving the federal new markets, historic rehabilitation tax credits and renewable energy tax credits. These financing tools are leveraged to rehabilitate and preserve historic structures, create and grow vital businesses — such as healthcare facilities and schools, in underserved areas of our communities — and develop new renewable solar, biomass and other energy facilities. Liz also guides tax-exempt organizations with the formation process and helps these organizations to obtain and maintain tax-exempt status. Liz guides New Partners through the complex world of nonprofit governance and compliance, as well as the sophisticated tax and partnership issues that we need to resolve to succeed in difficult financial structures.
Sally Wilson joined Newmark Knight Frank in 2013 as an executive managing director in the Washington, DC office. Sally has worked extensively with AM 200 law firms, corporations and non-profits specializing in strategic planning, headquarters transactions and portfolio management. With a master’s degree in architecture and more than 35 years of experience in commercial real estate, Sally offers unique expertise in integrating design and construction issues into real estate transactions. In 2013, she became the only real estate broker in the U.S. to be elevate to LEED Fellow. Sally is widely recognized as a leader in green leasing, carbon accounting and sustainable practices and policies. Sally is well-connected and well-respected in the DC real estate community, helping us find great buildings and building owners to partner with, understand the dynamics of commercial real estate, and establish important, lasting relationships.