Homegrown Solar Company Aims To Change How D.C. Is Powered

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Washington Business Journal

By Katishi Maake – Digital Producer, Washington Business Journal

Jul 31, 2019, 5:00am

In 2016, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act, codifying the District’s commitment to increasing its use of renewable energy resources.

It was around this time that Mike Healy, Nick Giannotti and Nicole Marandino saw an opportunity to create and bootstrap a new company that they hoped could lead that charge. In the three-plus years since, their D.C. company, New Columbia Solar, has completed hundreds of solar projects throughout the city — and it is seeking to ramp up, and perhaps even double, its efforts this year.

Last year, the company brought in $10 million in revenue. It focuses on constructing and hosting smaller solar systems on the roofs of buildings across the city, effectively creating a large-scale power grid, said Healy, who leads the company as CEO alongside Giannotti, as president, and Marandino, as chief operating officer. NCS customers, which typically include schools, religious organizations, nonprofits, and commercial and multifamily properties, opt to have a solar system constructed on their property and purchase the electricity directly from the company over the course of a lease term, which typically lasts 20 years.

Healy likened NCS’ business model to District-based power provider Pepco.

“We have heavily invested into our company through software and system automations that allow our development process to be automated in a way that other companies just don’t do,” said Healy, whose past ventures and employers have included renewable energy companies Nextility Inc. and ConnectDER Inc. “Powerhouse, which is our in-house software capability that has automated workflow, enables one person to do three, four, five times the amount of work as one person over time.”

They are far from the only solar power operators in the city, however. Other such clean energy companies include Ipsun Solar and Sol Systems, both of which share a similar vision with NCS. Sol Systems has completed projects at Ballou Senior High School and H.D. Woodson High School — one of the District’s high-solar energy generators.

On its end, NCS is now working to install an 884-kilowatt solar array at Audi Field, which, in addition to other green initiatives, is expected to cut the soccer stadium’s electrical usage by one-third, saving D.C. United $125,000 a year on its utility bills.

In all, the company completed around 40 projects in 2018 and is looking to more than double that this year. In May, NCS became a partner in the Solar for All program operated by the D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility. The program seeks to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50% by 2032.

Healy said it’s possible for the District to reach a point where 10% of its power generation stems from solar energy.

“We are in the process of solarizing the District of Columbia, which is one of the most powerful and visible cities in the entire world,” Healy said. “We’re trying to demonstrate to the world that it can be solarized. It’s not too good to be true.”

Check out the full article here.

About New Columbia Solar

New Columbia Solar is a Washington, DC-based solar energy company, financier, owner, and operator of commercial and industrial solar energy facilities. Founded in 2016, the company y has grown to be the largest and most comprehensive solar energy company in the District of Columbia. Our mission is to help landlord’s and their surrounding communities take advantage of renewable energy and the profits and energy resiliency it provides. For more information, visit: www.newcolumbiasolar.com

Email: [email protected]

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