top of page

Solar Spotlight: Meet Our General Counsel

At AC Power, we pride ourselves in having a team of individuals with diverse passions and rich lived experiences. We see this as a unique strength that positions us well to keep our finger on the pulse of the industry and deftly adapt to the ever-evolving energy transition.

In these pages, we will regularly be highlighting the people who make up our team so you can better know us as we strive to reenergize communities, one brownfield at a time. This week, we're talking to AC Power General Counsel Jake Hirsch.

What motivated you to pursue a career in this field?

I’ve always been interested in renewable energy. When I went to law school, I found that there weren’t many opportunities to get exposure to the development, project finance, and transactional side of environmental work. It’s a lot more litigation-oriented, reading case law and stuff like that. I sort of put that interest on the back burner and pursued litigation more generally because I found it intellectually stimulating.

However, the adversarial mentality inherent in litigation wore on me over time. Working in the development space, I find the day-to-day solutions-oriented approach to negotiations with commercial partners much more stimulating and fulfilling.  For me, working with (not against) folks trying to bring a project to life is something I can wake up and be excited to do every day.

How did you first learn about AC Power?

I was having dinner with Corey [Hindin, former Sr. Director of Business Development] at a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn. I had quit my job and was talking to my network about opportunities. He mentioned that his CEO (Annika) had sent a note to the staff saying, "If anyone knows a lawyer, let me know." I pointed out that I didn’t have much experience in renewable energy or as a transactional lawyer, but if she was willing to talk with me, I’d be happy to have that conversation. When I met with Annika and she told me about the mission, I got super excited, and she basically took a flier on me, for which I’m incredibly grateful.

Have you faced any challenges or obstacles in your journey towards working in solar, and how did you overcome them?

What comes to mind is how every AC Power project is so hard. Our sites are complicated because they’ve had past industrial uses. They’re subject to many laws and regulations that govern their operation and uses, and there are extensive, complex title issues that come up all the time. There are a bunch of different stakeholders. There are so many things you have to balance and overcome to make a project work.

One thing that sets our team apart is our solutions-oriented disposition. When you run into a problem, it’s not “Darn, this one’s dead,” it’s “Okay, this was unexpected, how do we pivot and adjust our initial assumptions to build a project that will generate value and contribute to the local community?” Every project is like this. You have to roll with the punches and get creative, which I like a lot. This is the mindset of our entire team at AC Power – we figure out a path forward even when the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t so clear.

How would you describe the workplace culture at AC Power? Does the culture of our workplace contribute to your well-being and happiness?

I come from the world of the New York City law firm, where the priority of management and your superiors is to maximize value for the clients, and the wellbeing of associates is maybe more of an afterthought. I have that perspective, and coming into a place like AC Power, which puts an emphasis on supporting work-life balance while also providing intellectually stimulating work, was eye-opening. It might sound foolish, but to me, I didn’t really know a workplace like this existed because the life of a law firm associate was all I knew. Frankly, I’m much happier professionally than I’ve ever been, not only because of the work-life balance but because I’m part of building something I believe in.

How do you envision the future of solar energy, and what role do you see yourself playing in its advancement?

The IRA has given us this window of certainty where we know solar is going to be a viable option for sustainable development through the next 8-10 years or so. I’m excited because Annika and the AC Power team are committed to being an industry leader in that window as we continue to scale and deliver for our clients. So I envision the next decade as particularly vital for the country and our business, and I’m excited to be a part of a team working on the front lines of sustainable development while all that plays out.

What’s something your coworkers at AC Power may not know about you?

The thing that immediately comes to mind is that I have some interests you wouldn’t expect to go together. On one hand, I love sports — the jockier side of interests. On the other hand, I have very geeky interests. I’m a huge anime fan, a Lord of the Rings fan, and a fan of fantasy in general.


bottom of page