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Visitor Information and Welcome Center at West Tennessee Solar Farm, Stanton, Tenn.

Photo: Ryan Rhea
Photo: Ryan Rhea

A visitor center was designed with metal roofs and walls to match the modern aesthetics of West Tennessee Solar Farm. The farm has a solar array with 21,434 panels arranged around a meadow. It produces 5 megawatts and opened in 2012. In November 2017, its Visitor Information and Welcome Center was completed.

Louis Pounders, FAIA, of ANF Architects Inc., says, “Informed by the futuristic look of the solar farm, the architecture is sleek and sharp, even sculptural when viewed from the 70-mph Interstate 40.”

The radial site plan includes the Visitor Information and Welcome Center, which is the main building, a storage building with service yard, picnic shelters and pads, access walkways, drives and parking areas.

For the visitor center’s roof, Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Inc. installed 14,000 square feet of Berridge Manufacturing Co.’s 24-gauge steel, Galvalume-coated, unpainted Tee-Panel standing seam roof system. It installed 3,350 square feet of the same panels for walls. Additionally, Ralph Jones Sheet Metal installed 3,000 square feet of the panels on the roof and walls of the storage building and picnic shelters.

“Informed by the architectural requirements, the application, panel selection, finish and detailing were addressed in the early project phases to ensure overall design consistency,” Pounders says.

The visitor center houses tourism displays including a renewable energy exhibit, an open-air picnic terrace, vending structure and offices.

Electricity from the surrounding solar array fed through the local utility grid powers the center. The project exceeds Tennessee’s sustainable design guidelines for land management, water efficiency, energy efficiency, material use and indoor environmental quality.