New York Provides Funding to Support Electric School Bus Charging Infrastructure

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says funding is now available for electric school bus charging infrastructure under the historic $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act and through the New York School Bus Incentive Program (NYSBIP).

Support is available to help make installing Level 2 or Direct Current Fast Charging chargers and associated electrical upgrades more affordable for public school districts and the bus operators that contract with them. This announcement supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) 85% by 2050 and New York state’s requirements that all school buses in the state be zero-emission by 2035.

“Young people are at the center of the climate crisis, and enabling the transition to a zero-emission school bus fleet is not only a commitment to a greener future, but to the health and well-being of our students,” says Hochul. “As school districts make the switch to electric buses, my administration is providing the resources necessary to transition as easily and affordably as possible.”

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the program is now accepting applications from public school districts and school bus operators. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the level of funding provided is based on the number of buses a school district or bus operator has purchased or is currently purchasing.

Amounts start at $25,000 per bus to cover hardware, customer-side electrical site upgrades, installation costs and battery storage. Districts designated as priority districts can receive an additional $10,000 per bus. Priority districts are defined as high-need school districts by the New York State Education Department, or those that serve disadvantaged communities as defined by the New York State Climate Justice Working Group.

As part of the process, applicants can receive up to an additional $30,000 per bus if they choose the option to complete a Fleet Electrification Plan. This plan provides a comprehensive evaluation of existing fleet operations and analysis of current site electrical capabilities and will serve as an action plan for electrifying the applicant’s entire fleet by 2035.

“New York’s continued investment in electric school buses represents a profound leap toward a cleaner future and will safeguard student health by reducing harmful emissions and improving local air quality,” says Doreen M. Harris, NYSERDA president and CEO. “As schools begin to make the transition, comprehensive fleet planning can help districts understand their unique needs and best capitalize on this critical funding to help cover charging installation costs.”

Applicants must have purchased their electric school bus(es) after January 1, 2023, to be eligible for charging funds. Bus purchases must be funded through the district, a bus operator’s own resources, through NYSBIP, or through New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean School Bus Program. Other utility programs and federal incentives to help reduce the cost of electric buses and infrastructure include the Medium and Heavy Duty Make Ready Pilot and the Inflation Reduction Act 45W and 30C tax credits.

Complete eligibility criteria and rules for this charging infrastructure funding can be found here. For more information on NYSBIP and new charging incentives, register for NYSERDA’s webinar March 12, 2024, at 2 p.m. Eastern.

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