HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. â€” Around 15 million people visit welcome centers across the state, and one more opened Wednesday in West Tennessee.
The new Interstate 40 Solar Farm Information and Welcome Center is officially open in Haywood County.
â€śOutside is part of the typical welcome center that we have all across the state of Tennessee,â€ť Tennessee Commissioner of Tourist Development Kevin Triplett, said.
But it doesnâ€™t take long to realize the new rest stop has some unique features.
â€śWhat you see to either side of the center is not common, the solar panels you see stretching from either side,â€ť Triplett said.
The solar panels surround the entire welcome center.
The solar panel farm is thanks to the University of Tennessee, and university officials say the panels will replace 250 tons of coal every month.
â€śWe hope it improves the lifestyle of our county but also focuses in on improvements, not just in solar energy but in other aspects, and improves the lifestyle here and in other places across Tennessee,â€ť Haywood County Mayor David Livingston said.
The innovation doesnâ€™t stop outside the new rest stop. You step inside to see an interactive learning center all about solar power. You can learn about parts of the solar panels, how much energy household items use and how to save energy.
â€śThatâ€™s the education part you get here that you donâ€™t get at other welcome centers across the state,â€ť Triplett said.
Triplett says this is the only rest area in the state where you get this type of educational opportunity.