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Ombudsmen Program

Tria Case, the University Executive Director of Sustainability and Energy Conservation established a partnership with the Mayor's Office of NYC in 2006 to address the barriers to solar integration and received initial support for the NYC Solar Ombudsmen program in 2010. In 2013 Ms. Case expanded Sustainable CUNY's efforts to include energy storage systems (ESS) and formalized the Smart DG Hub. The Hub’s dedicated and knowledgeable Ombudsmen provide support to the solar and storage industry as well as NYC agency staff that are tasked with creating new solar and energy storage regulatory structures.

The overall goal of Federal, State and City initiatives is for the cost of ‘going solar’ to achieve ‘grid parity’ without incentives, as the incentives will eventually sunset. Ideally, the resulting soft cost reductions match the phasing out of incentive programs so the solar and storage markets continues to grow, along with the jobs that come with it. Contact an Ombudsman

Bennett Carlin, P.E.

Administrative Superintendent

Prior to joining Sustainable CUNY’s Solar Team, Mr. Carlin’s 37 year career included serving in both the public and private sectors as a senior engineer and project management specialist. His background in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems includes design, quality assurance, field technical services, and energy conservation analysis.

John Humphrey

DG Ombudsman

John provides technical assistance to companies developing DG projects in NYC and works as a resource for local city agencies as they update the rules and regulations around solar and storage. John has been working in the clean energy industry for over 20 years. He co-founded several clean-tech companies over the years and has developed projects in the US and overseas. His project experience includes on and off grid solar and wind power systems in the developed and developing world. He co-developed a commercial solar PV mounting system and is a co-author on three patents. John has BS in Industrial Design from NCSU College of Design and an MS in Sustainable Energy Engineering from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

Daniella Leifer

NY DG Ombudsman

Daniella is the project manager of the NYSolar Smart DG Hub-Resilient Solar project, leading efforts under a Dept. of Energy Solar Market Pathways grant to identify best practices for integrating solar+storage/resilient PV into emergency and resilience planning in NYC; streamline costs and reduce barriers to market growth of distributed energy and energy storage; and leverage results to NYS and beyond through the development of tools, planning documents, and educational resources.  Prior to joining Sustainable CUNY’s DG Hub, Daniella worked in the energy efficiency sector developing and implementing workforce training programs city-wide.  Daniella holds an MBA from the Baruch College Zicklin School of Business and BS degree in Environmental Studies from Cornell University. 

Philip Parzygnat

College Assistant in Technology

Phil is a CUNY Queens College alumni in Computer Science, BA/MA. As a member of the Sustainable CUNY team, Phil assists the ombudsmen, staff, and management with their technology requirements. He is responsible for maintaining the NY Solar Map and developing and maintaining the Shared Solar Gateway. Beyond this role at Sustainable CUNY, Phil is also an adjunct lecturer in computer science with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at CUNY York College. He has a passion for the environment and sustainability, in particular smart grids and how advances in computer science and technology drive smart grid efficiency and effectiveness. 

Ronald Reisman

NY Solar Ombudsmen

Ron works on Sustainable CUNY's effort to support the New York City Housing Authority’s program to install solar on the rooftops and parking lots of public housing developments throughout the five boroughs, as well as the Solarize NYC program. Prior to joining the Sustainable CUNY team, Ron was the Renewable Energy Program Manager for New Jersey's Clean Energy Program and Manager of Business Outreach for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities' Office of the Business Energy Ombudsman. He also served as Director of Communications for Elizabethtown Gas Company in New Jersey. A graduate of Rutgers University, Ron spends his non-working hours enjoying the many cultural and entertainment offerings in New York City.

Emily Sweeney

NYC Solar Ombudsmen

 Emily leads the Solarize NYC Program of the NYC Solar Partnership.  Prior to joining the team at Sustainable CUNY, she developed her knowledge of the solar industry while working for an installer, with a focus on residential and small-commercial projects in NYC.  Emily has been involved in permitting well over 100+ solar installations in NYC as a NYC DOB Filing Representative, and understands the challenges unique to installing solar in the city.  She holds a B.A. in Political Science & Psychology from Vassar College, and is a NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional.