The Future of EV Charging in California: Opportunities Under the Communities in Charge Program

The state of California has set an ambitious goal of installing 1.2 million Level 2 EV chargers by 2030. To help reach this goal, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is launching the "Communities in Charge" program in 2023, with a grant of $30 million for this year alone and a potential total of $250 million over the life of the program.

If you own or manage multifamily assets in California, this is a great opportunity for you to future-proof your buildings and take advantage of public funding. However, it's important to keep in mind that grant funding will be limited, so submitting a strong and timely application will be crucial. This is where EVPassport can help. As a qualified EV charging network and equipment provider for the Communities in Charge program, we can ensure you have the right EV charging system for your property and help you submit a winning application.

Who Can Benefit from the Communities in Charge Program?

The Communities in Charge program is designed to support equitable charging access in communities across California, primarily in multi-residential and workplace use cases. Unlike other EV charging incentive programs in California that focus on high-cost DC fast charging projects, the Communities in Charge program prioritizes Level 2 charging, making EV charging access a reality for everyone, especially low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This program is open to a wide range of applicants and sites across California, with a priority given to projects that are ready for implementation and located in disadvantaged and low-income communities. In fact, 50% of the funds are reserved for projects in low-income communities. If your asset qualifies for either of these distinctions, your chances of receiving grant funding are high.

Incentive Highlights

The program uses a tiered incentive structure based on the site type and location. The base incentive for Level 2 charging ports starts at $3,500 (minimum of 4 and maximum of 20) per port, while multi-family housing sites receive $7,000 (minimum of 4 and maximum of 40) per port. Low-income and disadvantaged communities receive the highest incentive of $10,500 (minimum of 4 and maximum of 40) per port.

These per charger incentives cover eligible project costs for upgrades to transformers and electrical panels, installation including design and signage costs, Level 2 6.2kW+ OCPP networked EV charging equipment, network management software for the first 2 years, extended warranties and O&M plans, demand energy management equipment, and all of EVPassport’s hardware and software products.

Deadline Approaching Quickly

The program is set to launch in early 2023 and is expected to be competitive. The official application period will open towards the end of Q1 2023 and will have a 45-day window for submissions. Successful submissions will have 90 days to submit additional documentation, and notice of award will be given 150 days after initial submission. The completion of the project must be within 9 months from notice of award, with a final payment granted after proof of completion.

It's important to start planning your project now so that you have all the necessary documentation ready by the time the program launches, including final site designs and building permits. These documents show project readiness and can significantly increase your chances of receiving funding. EVPassport has extensive experience creating and preparing these documents for numerous similar incentive programs.

In conclusion, the Communities in Charge program presents a unique opportunity for communities in California to upgrade existing multifamily, local business, and local government sites with Level 2 EV charging stations, with the highest per Level 2 station incentives available in the US.