Stimulus funds let electric company mount solar array

Stimulus funds let electric company mount solar array

October 15th, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Ryan Crimmins walks around one of the rooftop arrays of solar panels at Lawson Electric on Friday morning. Crimmins, company president, and Chris Ridge, vice president, of Lawson Electric showed off the business's solar panels arrays Friday morning. The 30kW system was finished in August.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

• What: Solar panel instillation

• Company: Lawson Electric

• Location: 409 Spring St.

• How it's green? By installing a 37.8 kilowatt grid, Lawson expects to reduce its electricity consumption by more than 48,000 kilowatt-hours annually - enough to power about eight average houses.

• Why do it this way? After putting in their own solar instillation, Lawson Electric began helping clients follow suit. Installing the panels gave Lawson employees experience working with the new product they'll be selling. The 170 panels are expected to cover about a third of the company's total energy usage.

• What's the cost? The $200,000 system was paid for almost entirely by a federal grant through the Tennessee Solar Institute. Andrew Orman, project manager at Lawson, said even without the grant, the panels would pay for themselves within six or seven years.

• Advice for others considering green initiatives: Invest in the technology sooner rather than later while government incentives such as rebates and tax breaks are still around. "The future is definitely going to hold a lot more of this," Orman said. "The technology gets better and the cost gets better as well, so we won't need as much government help."

• Is environmentalism an essential part of the business and why? Orman said environmentalism is important for the company both from a moral and business standpoint. Green products are popular and becoming increasingly important at every job site Lawson works on. "We're all aware of that and conscious of it," he said. "We all just need to do our part to keep the environment, the shape of it, in a way we want to pass down."