Private funding for public electric vehicle chargers on the move

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(The Center Square) – Legislation that could create more public electric vehicle charging stations throughout Pennsylvania at no cost to taxpayers cleared a major hurdle this week.

House Bill 1474 – introduced by Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Royersford – would add EV charging infrastructure projects as eligible for financing under Pennsylvania’s Property-Assessed Clean Energy program, or C-PACE. It narrowly passed the state House by a 102-100 vote Monday.

Since 2018, C-PACE has helped property owners finance $250 million for projects that promote energy efficiency, clean energy, and conservation. The investments are funded through private capital, so the program doesn’t impose any financial burden on the commonwealth or local governments, according to Ciresi.

The bill has been amended to include “Made in America” provisions for charging infrastructure funded under this program, he added, which could provide the impetus for the development of an EV charging system development industry in the United States.

The requirement means developers must source 75% of the project through domestic manufacturers – when possible. Critics argue this leaves the door open for participants to use exemptions that could costs.

“Although I do support American manufacturing, I [also] support American jobs,” said Rep. Eric Devanzo, R-West Newtown, before casting a no-vote Monday. “House Bill 1474 still sends labor overseas for child labor … we’ve got to stop sending taxpayer dollars overseas. We’ve got to spend it here.”

As The Center Square previously reported, C-PACE is a voluntary program in which property owners may develop clean energy projects and secure private financing. The loan payment is added to their property tax bill and collected as an assessment by county and municipal authorities.

Local governments can request “C-PACE in a Box” which includes a sample resolution, a summary of guidelines, templates, and other key documents needed to establish a program. To date, 26 of the state’s 67 counties have C-PACE programs.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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