CRAB's new solar-powered sailing center is donated in honor of late board member Ian Palmer. Courtesy photo.

Solar-Powered Adaptive Boating Center Dedicated to Late CRAB Board Member

In a fitting tribute to a late Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) board member, the organization’s new facility will be fully solar-powered by the company he founded.

Ian Palmer, one-time CRAB treasurer and co-founder of solar project developer New Energy Equity, died in March 2020 at just 54 years old. He was a sailor and had lived on a 46-foot sailboat in Annapolis for a time.

New Energy is now partnering with CRAB to create a green building at its new adaptive boating center. The company’s charitable giving arm, the Lift as We Climb Foundation, will donate and install enough solar panels to fully power the entire new boating center on Back Creek in Annapolis.

The 25kW capacity is expected to produce an estimated 33 megawatt-hours of electricity, which means CRAB will have zero utility costs for the next 25 years and can use the savings to provide even more free sailing instruction and experiences on the water for guests with disabilities, recovering warriors, and youth from underserved communities.

Reflecting Palmer’s own priorities, New Energy’s mission of giving back through renewable energy matches with CRAB’s mission of giving its guests opportunities on the water.

“We are honored to be able to install this system and donate the electricity produced to CRAB, an
organization that was so important to Ian,” said New Energy’s current CEO and co-founder, Matt
Hankey. “Partnering together to bring this building to life and support CRAB’s mission is one way we
have been able to honor Ian’s memory and carry on his dedication of giving back to our communities.”

Ian was a strong and dedicated leader who shared his love of sailing by putting his heart and soul into making CRAB a success,” said CRAB Executive Director, Paul Bollinger. “He loved seeing CRAB guests with disabilities smiling and happy while learning to sail on the Chesapeake Bay.”

The new adaptive boating center is expected to break ground later this summer, and the organization expects to host even more sailing guests than the 1,000 people per year it already serves.

Meg Walburn Viviano