Connecticut’s electric vehicle charger installation program scores a hit

The Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority’s (PURA) incentives to promote the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at businesses and homes throughout the state have thus far proven effective, according to a recent webinar hosted by Eversource and United Illuminating. The rebate program, which offers to cover up to 100% of the cost of purchasing and installing charging facilities at business, public attractions and both single-family and multifamily properties still have openings, but they are going fast.

Marriott Dowden, the webinar’s host and a customer programs and product manager specializing in energy at Eversource, noted that the demand was likely to stay high.

“From our perspective, it’s not so much whether you should be installing EV capacity at your workplace or retail businesses, it’s more than when you should be installing,” he said. “I think most people realize that the EV industry is really growing; it’s outpacing internal combustion engine sales.”

The PURA program is designed to encourage the sale of between 150,000 and 250,000 electric vehicles by 2025, in part by helping install EV chargers across the state to boost convenience and ease range anxiety.

The program makes $500 rebates available for installing an intermediate level charger at single-family homes either by landlords or homeowners, which could help defray an upgrade and improve future home values. For multifamily dwellings and public destinations like retail sites, the state will offer up to $20,000 to cover the cost of at least two ports, with designated underserved communities allowed to take up to $40,000. Workplaces that install at least four ports for the use of employees have the same incentive structure.

Dowden noted that these incentives are based on a “per site” basis and not a per-structure basis. That means for a parking garage, the same incentive could be applied for chargers on each floor of the structure, or a retail location might apply for funds to cover both charging for customers and employees provided that they are physically separated.

Businesses that install chargers may choose to provide access to the charging as a free amenity facilities, or charge a fee based on any number of systems. Many of the companies that sell the chargers will also provide means for business owners to decide how power stations are distributed at EV charging.

However, the section of the program which provided up to $150,000 in funding for the installation of Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC) is already fully subscribed, according to Jake Buckman, the project manager for Vehicle Implementation at Eversource.

“People have applied to receive incentives for our DC fast chargers, and we have met the state’s goal for the first phase of this three-year window within about seven months of the program opening,” he said.

DCFCs, or Level 3 chargers, use a different architecture and charging protocol to deliver far more electricity to a battery than Level 2 chargers. They can charge an electric vehicle to 80% from empty in about half an hour, which makes them a good solution for electric delivery trucks and other fleet vehicles. However, they are considerably more expensive, and the speed comes at the cost of lower efficiency and causing batteries to have shorter operational lives.

Buckman added that the two organizations are working with PURA to make more funds available specifically for this part of the program, but in the meantime, those interested in taking part in the program are advised to sign up for a waiting list.

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