New York State Solar Ombudsman
Since 2007 the City University of New York (CUNY), through
Sustainable CUNY, has led the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning
and Sustainability, the New York City Economic Development
Corporation and key stakeholders, including the New York Power
Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development
Authority, in developing strategic plans for large-scale solar
growth in New York City. CUNY has led this collaborative team in
implementing three competitively won U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
grants designed to remove barriers and support large-scale solar
growth. As a result, New York City has seen growth from 1MW to
11.5MW of installed solar and a quadrupling of solar installation
CUNY is leading New York City efforts on Solar Market Analytics,
Roadmapping, and Tracking NY (SMART NY), which includes a strategy
for statewide expansion. CUNY, on behalf of NYC, developed the SMART
NY plan and was awarded a competitive grant from the DOE’s SunShot
Initiative as part of its two-phased ‘Rooftop Solar Challenge’.
SMART NY is a strategic, replicable plan with 30 partners
collaborating to systematically address the non-hardware BOS
challenges in America’s largest city of one million rooftops in
phase one, with the potential for state-wide expansion in phase two.
In order to leverage existing efforts in New York City, and to
support the statewide efforts, CUNY is hiring a New York State Solar
Ombudsman. This Ombudsman will sit at a partner location, preferably
in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, or Kingston. Travel throughout upstate
New York is required.
The New York State Solar Ombudsman will work closely with an
existing State Ombudsman (based in New York City) who is responsible
for benchmarking permitting and interconnection processes for
jurisdictions across New York State. Both Ombudsmen will be
responsible for creating and maintaining a network of stakeholders
across the State, as well as leveraging successful work to-date in
New York City. The Ombudsman to be hired will have a prime focus of
working with stakeholders to gain support for streamlined permitting
for residential solar installations. Responsibilities will include:
• Development of a network of municipalities and utilities
willing to work toward the adoption of a streamlined permit form
for residential installations.
• Engagement of stakeholders across the State to research best
practices and developing a standardized online registration form
for residential systems.
• Upon development of the form, working with established partners,
with a focus on utilities, to seek adoption in key jurisdictions
across the State.
• Understanding local requirements and working to bring streamlined
permitting solutions to partner jurisdictions.
• Gathering information regarding local online resources,
including permitting information, and installations, for inclusion
on the NYS Solar Map (to be developed).
• Acting as a liaison between solar installation companies and
jurisdictions as needed.
• Assisting with statewide event coordination and trainings as
The NYS Solar Ombudsman will work closely with an existing NYS Solar
Ombudsman, the New York City Solar Coordinator and Ombudsmen, the
Communications Director, and the University Director for
Sustainability (all located in New York City). Ultimately, the
Ombudsman will report directly to a NYS Solar Coordinator.
Applicants must have proven experience with or knowledge of several
of the following:
• New York State energy policy, programs, and incentives
• Best practices for permitting and/or interconnection processes
• Working with a range of stakeholder groups and levels
• Process mapping
• Residential PV installations
Successful applicants will have excellent writing skills, public
speaking ability in both large and small settings, and project
management experience. This position will require the ability to
work independently as well as collaborate with multiple
Two to five years’ experience in a relevant field is required.
Graduate degree preferred in energy policy or similar focus.
Applicants must be able and willing to travel across the State on a
This position will be hired through the CUNY Research Foundation. An
AA/EO/ADA Employer (Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity
Employer/Americans with Disabilities Act).