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White Plains Installing More Than 1,000 Solar Panels As Part Of Push To Increase Renewable Energy

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- New York is in a mad dash to increase renewable energy production from sources, including the include the sun.

Now a new solar project in White Plains may light the way for many more across the state.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, Drone Force 2 recently showed what's up on the roof of the DPW garage in White Plains: The first of more than 1,000 solar panels to collect energy from the sun, energy that will flow through inverter boxes and then into the Con Edison power grid.

The city is leasing space at eight additional properties to a solar power company, bringing in almost $1 million in revenue and creating 7 megawatts of electricity a year.

"It's enough energy to power 700 houses. It makes us the biggest municipal generator of electricity in the county, certainly," said White Plains Mayor Tom Roach.

About 10 years ago White Plains streamlined the process to make it easier for residents to put solar panels on their roofs. But only a relative handful have done that. This new community solar project will be like putting panels on 1,000 roofs.

The Cuomo administration has an aggressive mandate. By 2030, the percentage of electricity generated by renewables must triple from 23% to 70%. It's a challenge -- the White Plains project will produce in a year what the soon-to-be-shut-down Indian Point nuclear reactor makes in less than a day. That's why the New York Power Authority wants many more community to follow the lead of White Plains.

"This is an example. We hope that we can continue to scale this one up with all cities and all counties across the state," said Gil Quiniones of the New York Power Authority.

The proliferation of solar panels will bring another benefit. Low-income customers will be able to enroll in a community solar program, and earn a 10% credit on their Con Ed bill.

The solar panels for the project are made in Malaysia. The renewable energy company says panels made at a plant the Cuomo administration built near Buffalo are not suitable for commercial projects.

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