School districts in California and especially those located in disadvantaged communities are eligible for more funding to purchase electric school buses and charging infrastructure.
The California Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) Public School Bus Set-Aside & EnergIIZE Joint Application is open through Sept. 29. It allocates $150 million from the 2022-2023 state budget for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new electric school buses and charging infrastructure.
The effort is a collaboration between the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission. Awardees can receive up to $395,000 to replace their older, fossil fuel-powered buses. Plus, they can receive up to an additional $100,000 per bus to purchase and install charging infrastructure.
Applicants are eligible for two awards, one through the HVIP Public School Bus Set-Aside for new school buses, and one through EnergIIZE, a block grant through CEC’s Energy Infrastructure Incentives for Zero-Emission Commercial Vehicles Project, to pay for charging infrastructure and construction costs. A CALSTART spokesperson added that schools applying for this program are taking a “bundled” approach as they’re receiving funding for buses as well as infrastructure.
The Set Aside funding is not guaranteed but is specific to school districts, the spokesperson added. However, districts can also choose to apply to yet another funding opportunity through EnergIIZE, EV Jump Start Funding Lane, which opens for applicants on July 19.
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The EV Jump Start Funding Lane covers up to 75 percent of eligible infrastructure equipment and software costs for projects up to $750,000. A press release states that costs eligible for reimbursement include Level 2 electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), DC Fast Charge EVSE, charge management software, switchgears, electrical panel upgrades, wiring, conduit, and meters. The CALSTART spokesperson noted that the competitive grant is open to a broader audience but is limited to the equity eligibility criteria, which has a category for school districts.
Prospective applicants include tribal governments, schools in disadvantaged or low-income communities, small businesses, minority-owned businesses, transit fleets serving disadvantaged or low-income communities, nonprofits, and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fleets in disadvantaged or low-income communities.
The spokesperson added that schools cannot apply to both funding opportunities at once.