San Jose, Calif., November 3, 2010 — In 1954, Bell Labs pioneered the development of solar power technology, creating solar panels able to support the telephone service of American farmers living off the electricity grid.
Today, more than 50 years later, Alcatel-Lucent — in conjunction with SunPower Corp. and ConEdison Development — announced that a 1.2-MW ground-mounted solar power system will be installed at the company’s Bell Labs headquarters campus in Murray Hill, N.J. The system is expected to be operational next spring.
SunPower will design and install the solar array system using SunPower T0 Trackers, which will position more than 3,700 solar panels to follow the sun’s movement during the day.
The trackers increase sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems while reducing land use requirements.
The SunPower system at the Bell Labs campus, occupying six acres of the 200-acre site, will generate about $2.5 million in cost savings over the next 15 years.
It will be surrounded by decorative fencing and landscaping that will include a variety of mostly native, hardy, deer-resistant trees, bushes and perennials and has been designed to provide color and visual interest throughout the year.
The solar panels developed by Bell Labs in 1954 could generate 50 watts per square yard of surface, enough power to provide telephone service to a 1950s farming family.
The panels developed and supplied by SunPower will each generate 318 watts, with the total 1.2-MW system generating the equivalent amount of power for more than 200 average New Jersey homes on an annual basis.
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the system will offset the production of more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its 30-year lifetime, equivalent to removing more than 8,500 cars from New Jersey’s highways.
ConEdison Development, a Valhalla, NY-based subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. that develops energy sources, plans to develop the project through an engineering, procuring and construction agreement with SunPower. ConEdison Development will own and operate the system, while SunPower will design and build it. ConEdison Development will also own the solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and environmental benefits associated with the system.
In addition to its contract with SunPower, ConEdison Development will execute two contracts with Alcatel-Lucent. The first is a power purchase agreement under which Alcatel-Lucent agrees to purchase energy from ConEdison Development over a 15-year period.
Under the second contract, ConEdison Development leases the land for the installation from Alcatel-Lucent for 15 years. Alcatel-Lucent, which assumes no upfront costs for the installation, will buy the electricity at prices considerably below retail rates in part because of a state of New Jersey incentive program that encourages development and usage of solar power.