New 1.2-megawatt solar power system at Alcatel-Lucent facility in Murray Hill, NJ. This facility serves as the global headquarters for Bell Labs and the company’s Americas region headquarters. Image by Chris White.
By Barry Dambach, Senior Director, Environmental, Health and Safety, Alcatel-Lucent
On an appropriately sunny June morning, Alcatel-Lucent flipped the switch to the “on” position for its new 6-acre solar array at its Bell Labs global headquarters in Murray Hill. Solar systems are popping up on many companies’ corporate campuses around the globe, but what is notable about this project, is that the use of this technology represents a homecoming of sorts. The underlying technology for this project was actually developed more than 50 years ago by Bell Labs at Murray Hill. Bell Labs scientists then were trying to find better ways to provide telephone service to farmers and others outside the reach of the country’s electrical grid. Coincidentally, one of those early solar panels is on display in the Alcatel-Lucent Technology Showcase at Murray Hill.
The 1.2-megawatt ground-mounted solar power system was installed in conjunction with SunPower Corp and ConEdison Development, and when it is operating at peak efficiency will be able to meet 10 percent of the power needs of the facility, which has some 3,300 employees.
The project is one of the steps Alcatel-Lucent is taking to dramatically reduce its energy use and carbon footprint – it has committed to a 50 percent reduction by 2020 from what its footprint was in 2008. It is a proof point in how seriously Alcatel-Lucent takes the threat of climate change and its willingness to combat it through modifications in its own operations.
While the communications industry is responsible for only about 2 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, and Alcatel-Lucent is working to reduce that, the company knows its biggest impact will be in the technology it develops – smart grid and other applications, for example – that will help other industries be greener. And in the meantime, we are using the rays from the sunshine that beams down on our research headquarters to keep the lights bright for the innovation happening inside.
Alcatel-Lucent General Counsel Steve Reynolds flips the switch on the new solar array at Bell Labs headquarters in Murray Hill, NJ. Joining him for the ceremony were, from left, Robert Mennella, Chief Operating Officer of ConEdison Development, Michael Gennaro, New Providence, NJ, Council President, and John Conley, Project Development Director, SunPower Corp. ConEdison Development is the developer, owner and operator of the system, which is located on Alcatel-Lucent’s Murray Hill campus, and SunPower was designer and builder. When operating at full capacity, the system will be able to provide the equivalent of as much as 10 percent of the power needed for the 3,300-employee facility. Image by Denise Panyik-Dale