PEARL RIVER, N.Y. – It is “light out” for a solar energy initiative in the state of New York.
More than 1,000 solar panels installed in Rockland County in 2018 have since been dismantled.
The skeletal remains of a solar panel speak to a project that never yielded results, an attempt to generate clean green solar energy on land controlled by the state Department of Transportation just off the Pearl River hamlet in the town of Orangetown.
There were 1196 solar panels on the frames, which utilized the sun’s rays, enough to drive 80 homes a year.
Images from Google Maps show the panels from the ground up. They are impressive, but ultimately useless.
A court document filed by the state DOT states that the solar farm remained off-line throughout its life and generated nothing.
“They were never used. That means taxpayers’ money went to something that was just wasted,” said Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny.
Kenny said she has asked DOT for answers. Aiello found one in a court document, which indicated that the state suffered nearly $ 6 million in “liquidated damages” in an agreement with Monolith Solar to build solar farms here and at eight other locations.
Monolith is now practically out of order.
“Maybe it was jumping into renewable energies too fast, without really doing due diligence. I don’t know,” Kenny said.
The supervisor pointed out that the state allowed Monolith Solar to cut down many trees to make room for the solar farm. She said she received an email from DOT about the future of the site.
“They are going to remove everything and it will be returned to its natural state,” Kenny said.
Despite the failure of the agreement with monolith on nine projects, the state insists that it is on track to achieve the goals for clean energy – 70 percent of the electricity will come from renewable energy by the year 2030.
Late Wednesday, the state told CBS2 that a contractor removed the panels without authorization, before a plan for that work was completed. It promises to keep the city in the loop as the place is cleaned and replanted.
Tony Aiello works as a CBS2 general task reporter focusing on covering news and recent stories in the Northern Suburbs.