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Published: Monday, 10/28/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

Law firm’s solar array empowers building and the bottom line

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The 494 solar panels on Murray & Murray’s roof cost $370,000, but is to be paid off in five years because of tax credits and incentives. The 494 solar panels on Murray & Murray’s roof cost $370,000, but is to be paid off in five years because of tax credits and incentives.
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SANDUSKY — The law firm of Murray & Murray Co. in Sandusky has seen the light, and it’s sunshine.

The firm, at the recommendation of one of its partners, last month installed an array of 250-watt solar panels on its roof. The 494 panels collectively can supply 123.5 kilowatts, or about a third of the firm’s power needs.

“We thought this made a lot of sense for us. Part of reason for doing it was to demonstrate to fellow business owners that green energy can work,” said Dennis Murray, Jr., a former state legislator and the partner who suggested buying the solar array.

Mr. Murray said that during his time in Ohio’s General Assembly he grew to appreciate the benefits of renewable energy.

Last year, a storm damaged part of the roof on his house and when he went to have it fixed, a contractor suggested he put solar panels on his roof.

Mr. Murray said he agreed to research the idea while believing he never would actually buy solar panels. But the more he looked into the prospect, the more it made sense, he said.

He was so impressed by the solar panels for his home, he suggested his firm invest in them.

Murray & Murray spent $370,000 for its solar array, using panels made by Sharp Electronics and a system installed by Edison Solar and Wind of Milan, Ohio.

Mr. Murray said although that might seem like a lot of money, with tax credits and incentives, the firm is actually realizing a 16 percent return on its investment and will have paid off the cost in just more than five years.

“We were going to pay cash because we could do cash. But we decided to borrow the money,” Mr. Murray said. “Interest rates are so low that it’s a cash-flow positive from day one. The interest and principal, when you factor in the tax benefits, we are getting more back every day than we are paying out in interest in principal.”

Mr. Murray said the firm “wanted to make a statement” that renewable energy is available and green. “But not green in the tree-hugger sense, but rather green in the financial sense,” he added.

In addition to the solar panels, Mr. Murray said the law firm recently converted its offices and common space to low-power LED lighting, further lowering the building’s power demands.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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