The Connell Co. on Oct. 25 joined Brightcore Energy, a provider of end-to-end clean energy solutions to commercial and institutional users, and Berkeley Heights Mayor Angie Devanney to mark the addition of 9,158 solar panels to The Park off Interstate 78. — Courtesy: Connell
By Joshua Burd
The Connell Co. has unveiled a collection of more than 9,000 solar panels at its flagship campus in Berkeley Heights, the latest addition to the 185-acre property known as The Park.
The firm last week joined Brightcore Energy, a provider of end-to-end clean energy solutions to commercial and institutional users, to mark the completion of a project that features the township’s largest solar parking canopy installation to date. It also includes panels affixed to the rooftop of 100 Connell Drive, which houses the new innovation hub for financial technology company Fiserv Inc., as Connell continues to update the sprawling property along Interstate 78.
In a news release, the real estate firm said the 9,158 solar panels cover some 1,500 parking spaces, including 38 electric vehicle charging stations, and 100,000 square feet of rooftop space. The installation is expected to generate roughly 4.9 million kilowatt hours annually, or the equivalent of enough carbon-free electricity to power 560 homes for the next 30 years.
“At The Park, we are constantly looking for opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Shane Connell, executive vice president of The Connell Co. “Sustainability remains top of mind as we consider how to transform and improve the office experience in ways that not only lead to increased tenant and employee satisfaction, but also contribute to the greater good of our community. Brightcore has been an ideal energy service provider in cultivating a more green campus and we’re very proud to see this initiative come to fruition.”
Berkeley Heights Mayor Angie Devanney joined executives from both firms during the Oct. 25 ribbon-cutting ceremony. Brightcore estimates that, based on an assumed 10 cents per kilowatt-hour of utility avoided cost, the 100 Connell Drive project’s cost savings will translate to $496,843 annually — or more than $12.4 million over the system’s 25-year life cycle.
The firm also developed a second rooftop-mounted solar project at The Park’s 200 Connell Drive.
“Brightcore is thrilled to work with Connell on this project,” said Mike Richter, president of Brightcore Energy. “We face enormous challenges today in terms of energy affordability, strain on the grid and, of course, climate disruption. Connell is doing what they can to address these growing issues and it matters. Hopefully, we can all take a cue from their leadership and become the change that we so desperately need.”
The project comes as Connell continues to add to The Park, which is 30 minutes from Manhattan and houses 1.5 million square feet of high-end office and flexible workspaces for companies such as L’Oreal, Fiserv and Samsung. The site is also home to a 176-room Embassy Suites, fitness and health amenities and a Life Time Fitness, along with programmed green spaces for active and passive recreation and Round Table Studios, a new 40,000-square-foot co-working area with workstations, private offices and community spaces.