Clean energy program may soon include EV chargers

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(The Center Square) — The federal government is sending tens of millions of dollars to Pennsylvania to develop an electric vehicle corridor, and state money might soon follow.

One legislative proposal wants to make electric vehicle charging projects eligible for an existing clean energy program.

Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Royersford, introduced House Bill 1474 to expand the Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy program, created by Act 30 of 2018, to include EV charging stations.

“As electric vehicles become increasingly common, we need to make sure we have a developed statewide infrastructure with access to convenient charging stations,” Ciresi said in a press release. “This bill will unlock financing that would help businesses, workplaces, apartment buildings, and more locations install EV charging stations.”

The C-PACE program finances renewable energy or efficiency upgrades with a voluntary tax assessment paid by the property owner. While the federal government promotes it, state legislatures must pass enabling legislation to create a state-level C-PACE program, either on a state or local level.

More than 37 states have passed C-PACE legislation and enabled $2 billion in projects.

In the commonwealth, 19 counties have C-PACE expansion programs – mostly around Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties – with active programs in another five counties. Roughly $250 million in investments have been due to the program, Ciresi noted in his legislative memo.

Projects in Pennsylvania have included energy efficiency upgrades, apartment complex construction, solar panel installation, and carbon-footprint reductions for warehouses.

The Department of Energy notes that, while the program can encourage energy efficiency, it can also “require dedicated local government staff time” and has high legal and administrative setup obligations.

Allowing EV charging stations to qualify for the program would come at a time when Pennsylvania is set to receive $62 million in federal money for EV charging stations over the next two years. Over the next five years, the commonwealth will receive $172 million to create an EV corridor from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure grant program.

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