The law firm on East Shoreline Drive, on the Sandusky Bay shore, has decided to go solar. The firm’s planners areinstalling a solar power system on the roof, expected to cover about 30 percent of the building’s power needs.
“It will be the biggest solar array in Erie County,” said attorney Dennis Murray Jr., who convinced his law partners to install the 123.5-kilowatt system at a cost of $370,000.
Murray, currently running for one of three open spots on Sandusky City commission, is no stranger to solar. In late December he installed a solar power system at his home on the Cedar Point Chaussee.
Murray has long been interested in green energy, but he had to convince his law partners, who are more interested in a different kind of green — money.
He showed them the 30 percent federal tax credit the system will bring in, which should allow Murray and Murray to pay off the system in just a few years, earning a return of 15 percent a year on its investment.
The system will cover about 30 percent of the power needs for the building. This figure might have been 15 percent a few years ago, but the law firm has cut much of its power consumption. The attorneys’ areas and the common spaces largely use low-power LED lights, along with equipment changes meant to lower power demand.
The solar array will cover about 15,000 square feet of the building’s roof. Murray said 38 people work in the 33,000-square-foot building, including 28 at the law firm and another 10 in the marina and the building’s tenants.
The solar power system is being installed by Edison Solar and Wind of Milan, the same company that installed the system at Murray’s home. The solar panels were made by the Sharp Electronics plant in Memphis, Tenn.
Work on the installation began Monday and will continue for about two weeks, until about Oct. 15, said David Miller, president of Edison Solar and Wind.
Miller and his workers are installing 494 solar panels, 65.6 inches by 39.1 inches, each generating 250 watts. All of the components have ARRA ratings, as they’re almost entirely made in America.
Miller said solar panel technology continues to improve. The same size of solar panels generated 208 watts in 2008, but they have improved year after year. Nowadays they generate 250 watts.
Murray said he isn’t done trying to make changes at the law offices.
“The next thing I’d like to do is, I’d like to get a geothermal system in here,” he said.