Construction Begins on Nation’s Largest Photovoltaic (PV) Glass Skylight at Bell Works

Somerset Development today announced that construction has begun on the largest photovoltaic glass skylight in the United States at Bell Works, the complete revitalization of the two-million-square-foot former Bell Labs facility into the iconic mixed-use metroburb located in Holmdel. Spearheaded by market leader Onyx Solar, a global company manufacturing transparent photovoltaic glass for Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), the installation will total 3,200 skylights that will span across the quarter-mile-long atrium roof, covering 60,000 square feet. Upon completion, the PV skylight will both naturally illuminate the complex while generate free, clean electricity from the sun.

“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.”

Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, Bell Works’ skylight will feature 24 different glazings from Onyx Solar to cover the various unique skylight schemes at the Eero Saarinen-designed architectural gem. Each will be comprised of amorphous Silicon thin film photovoltaic (a-Si PV) active glass, laminated between two sheets of tempered safety glass, allowing for 20% Visual Light Transmittance (VLT) to reduce solar heat gain while producing energy, all while preserving 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 Diego Cuevas, VP Business Development of Onyx Solar. “The photovoltaic glass will enhance Eero Saarinen’s unique aesthetic while maximizing energy efficiency in this expansive space.”

Bell Works is also planning to provide Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in its outdoor parking lots, which will utilize the energy produced by the newly installed photovoltaic glass.

Originally constructed between 1962 and 1982, the building is revered for its role in spurring the development of some of the world’s foremost inventions and research concepts. Today, Somerset Development is transforming the building into a mixed-use ‘metroburb,’ complete with offices, retail, dining, healthcare, recreation, and hospitality.

Bell Works has signed leases for over 60 percent of its office space. In addition to the recent signing of anchor tenant iCIMS, a leading provider of innovative Software-as-a-service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions, Somerset also executed a headquarters lease with cloud-based business management and fleet management solutions company WorkWave. Other prominent commercial tenants include: Acacia Communications, a recognized optical transmissions manufacturer; Jersey Central Power and Light; MetTel, a New York City-based telecommunications firm;  McCann Systems LLC, a national audiovisual company; NVIDIA Corporation, a publicly traded multi-platform technology firm; Spirent Communications, an international telecommunications firm; Suttons International, a worldwide logistics company; Symbolic IO, a data storage company that recently launched its innovative platform; and vi Collaboration Hub, a co-working space and networking group for technology companies and innovators in the region.

Additionally, this year, Toll Brothers commenced development of the residential portion of the 472-acre site, which will include 40 single-family homes and 185 age-restricted townhomes.

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