The redevelopment of New Jersey’s Bell Labs facility into Bell Works, a mixed-use innovator’s “metroburb” in Homdel, NJ, will soon have another innovative feature. The US’s, if not the world’s, largest photovoltaic skylight.
The new installation of Onyx Solar’s building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) by Somerset Development will feature a total of 3,200 skylights, spanning the quarter-mile-long atrium roof. Altogether the skylight system will cover an area 60,000 square feet. The solar panels are designed to allow sunlight into the building while still providing energy for the building.
“Bell Works is already home to an extraordinary community of innovators, and it’s our job to continue to innovate the building commensurately,” said Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development. “People want a workplace that extends itself beyond professional needs – one that stands for something beyond the cubicle walls. As Bell Works continues to attract some of the region’s most forward-thinking companies, it is only fitting that it incorporates the latest in sustainable technology, all in a way that is both functional and attractive.”
“Where traditional opaque solar panels are designed solely to generate electricity, Bell Works’ newly installed PV skylight will be transparent, allowing for light to pass through the PV Glass without compromising the building’s renowned day-lit atrium,” explained Diego Cuevas, VP Business Development of Onyx Solar.
The solar panels will feature 24 different glazings and amorphous silicon-based photovoltaics in between tempered glass. The unique system will allow 20 percent of the light to pass through, which will reduce heat from the sunlight while still producing energy.
Bell Labs originally built the building between 1962 and 1982 based on architect Eero Saarinen’s designs. “The photovoltaic glass will enhance Eero Saarinen’s unique aesthetic while maximizing energy efficiency in this expansive space,” Cuevas said.
As part of the redevelopment plan Bell Works also is installing electric vehicle (EV) chargers at its outdoor parking lots. The company said they will be powered by the solar skylight.Tweet