Bell Works to Receive US’s Largest PV Glass Skylight

The installation will naturally illuminate the historic complex while generating free, clean solar energy.

Holmdel, N.J.—Somerset Development, a real estate developer specializing in large-scale transit oriented and brownfield redevelopment projects, announced it started construction on the largest photovoltaic glass skylight in the U.S. at Bell Works in Holmdel, N.J.

The building was originally built between 1962 and 1982, and the Bell Works project is a complete revitalization of the two-million-square-foot former Bell Labs facility into a mixed-use hub incorporating offices, retail, dining, healthcare, recreation and hospitality.

The installation will be comprised of 3,200 Onyx Solar skylights that will stretch over the quarter-mile-long atrium roof, covering 60,000 square feet. Once finalized, the photovoltaic skylight will naturally illuminate the complex, while also generating free, clean solar energy.

Bell Works Commercial Development in Holmdel, NJ
Bell Works Commercial Development in Holmdel, N.J.

“Bell Works is already home to an extraordinary community of innovators, and it’s our job to continue to innovate the building commensurately,” Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development, said in prepared remarks. “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.”

Bell Works’ skylight will feature 24 different glazings from Onyx Solar to cover the amorphous Silicon thin film photovoltaic active glass, laminated between two sheets of tempered safety glass. This configuration will allow for 20 percent Visual Light Transmittance (VLT) to reduce solar heat gain while producing energy all without affecting Bell Work’s historical design.

“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,” added Onyx Solar’s Vice President of Business Development, Diego Cuevas. “The photovoltaic glass will enhance (original architect) Eero Saarinen’s unique aesthetic while maximizing energy efficiency in this expansive space.”

The building is currently 60 percent leased to a number of tenants including anchor iCIMS, a provider of innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions; Acacia Communications; Jersey Central Power and Light; McCann Systems LLC; NVIDIA Corp.; Spirent Communications; Suttons International; Symbolic IO; and vi Collaboration Hub.

Image & video courtesy of Somerset Development & Bell Works