REC solar panels & SunGrow inverters
Ballasted Roof Mount
“Solar is the most resilient way for us to generate our own power on-site, and it is a healthier way to produce energy for our city.” – Laurel Creech, Asst. Dir. for Sustainability at Metro Dept. of General Services
In early 2019 LightWave Solar commissioned the largest rooftop solar system in Nashville: 302 kilowatts (kW) at the new Metro Nashville Police Department Headquarters and Family Safety Center.
The 133,000 square foot building houses the administrative functions of MNPD as well as the Family Safety Center which provides critical resources for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The Family Safety Center is the largest of its kind in the entire U.S., putting many agencies and departments under one roof to make coordination more efficient and less of a hassle for victims.
The building meets criteria for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, a Metro requirement for all new and renovated Metro Nashville buildings over 5,000 square feet. Features of MNPD Headquarters and Family Safety Center include a strong building envelope, appropriate building orientation and energy efficient windows, all to reduce heating and cooling loads. The building will utilize natural light from east and west facing windows, and designers selected low-emitting materials to reduce chemical use and maintain healthy indoor air quality. The landscaping will be low impact, drought resistant and provide rain water management, beauty, and shade.
“One of our design priorities is to reduce the heating and cooling costs while keeping the building very comfortable,” explains Mike Leonard, Managing Principal for greenSTUDIO at Hastings Architecture Associates. “Then, we can maximize the savings of the on-site renewable energy generation,” Leonard says.
The 864 solar panels generate approximately 392,000 kilowatt-hours annually, saving Metro about $23,500 per year at current electric rates. The project was Metro Nashville Department of General Services’ 9th building to incorporate solar, and it doubled the department’s existing solar portfolio which includes solar panels across nine Metro fire stations and the Howard Office Building. The new Sheriff’s Office Downtown Complex is the latest Metro building to incorporate solar.
“For every new building that General Services constructs, we include solar as part of the initial design,” says Laurel Creech, Assistant Director for Sustainability at Metro’s Department of General Services. “Solar is the most resilient way for us to generate our own power on-site, and it is a healthier way to produce energy for our city,” she says.
The MNPD HQ and Family Safety Center will include electric vehicle (EV) charging stations which will power all-electric Nissan LEAFs for the employee car share program as well as provide visitors and staff a free place to charge their EVs.
“We are moving towards net zero buildings,” says Leonard. “I encourage other architects to take a close look at energy efficiency and solar energy, run the calculations and discuss the benefits with their clients,” he says.
For over a decade, Leonard and his clients have utilized LightWave Solar as a resource for solar design, benefits analyses and installation.
“Chris Koczaja and JP Plumlee have been extremely helpful, and I have worked with Steve Johnson since LightWave started,” Leonard says. “I couldn’t be more proud to have such a great local resource for solar,” he adds.
Laural Creech echos the sentiment. “We are grateful to have LightWave Solar in our community,” she says.