San Rafael City Schools is taking the lead among Marin public school districts to install electric car charging stations at three high schools, a middle school and five elementary schools.
The project, approved by the San Rafael district’s board of trustees last month, will be offset by a series of grants and rebates from the Transportation Authority of Marin, the state Transportation Fund for Clean Air, Marin Clean Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric, said Nicholas Nguyen, principal project manager for TAM, which is working with the school district on the project.
The district’s trustees on Dec. 17 authorized staff to send out requests for proposals to various EV charging station providers in order to identify a company to do the installations.
The transportation authority, which also backs carpooling and alternative transportation modes to reduce congestion and emissions, thinks “electric vehicles offer a clean choice when the other options are not available,” Nguyen said.
“We’re making a big push in Marin for fossil-free vehicles — specifically for school districts,” Nguyen said. “We’re hoping districts across Marin will take note and jump on the wagon.”
Although the Kentfield School District did install an electric vehicle charging station in 2016 at its district office on College Avenue, San Rafael City Schools is the first Marin public school district to plan a series of installations at actual school buildings, Nguyen said.
The district is using the same financing model of leveraging seed and grant money to cover costs as was used last year when Marin County installed 47 electric vehicle charging heads at the Marin County Civic Center and at county fleet operations, he added.
“The county only spent about $7,400 (of county funds), for an almost $200,000 project,” Nguyen said. “It was an amazing use of leveraging grants and seed money. This is the model that San Rafael City Schools will be using.”
The schools identified for EV stations include: Terra Linda High School; San Rafael High School; Madrone Continuation High School; Davidson Middle School; and Glenwood, Bahia Vista, Coleman, Sun Valley and San Pedro elementary schools.
“We’re thrilled that our community partners are making EV charging stations possible on so many campuses,” said school district Superintendent Michael Watenpaugh. “Our board, staff, students and community members have advocated for these stations and community funding and rebates will make them possible.”
Dan Zaich, the district’s senior director of capital improvements, said the actual EV station construction is expected to cause minimal disruption because most of the new EV stations will be installed at school campuses that are already under construction for other school facilities under the Measure A and Measure B voter-approved bond programs.
“Our intentions with these preliminary plans include a four-hour time limit at each station with posted signage outlining guidelines,” Zaich said. “The district plans ‘pass through charges’ where the vehicle owner pays only for the electricity used via a punch key and credit card system, similar to those systems seen at shopping malls.”
The full cost of the installations won’t be available until a contractor is selected and designs are drawn for each school. The number of stations and of charging heads is also not yet available, given the variations among the various proposals that will come in.
According to Zaich, each design must be reviewed by the Division of the State Architect before the district can proceed with construction.
“Charging stations will be a mix of dual and single head stations, following accessibility requirements,” Zaich said.
So far, the following grants and rebates are secured:
— $60,000 from a state Transportation Fund for Clean Air grant (obtained through the Transportation Authority of Marin).
— $65,772 from a Marin Clean Energy rebate.
— $575 per charging port from a PG&E rebate
— up to $3,000 per charging head from a Measure B alternative fuel program from Transportation Authority of Marin (up to 75 percent of remaining costs after other grants have been applied).
“Installing electric vehicle charging stations is an important, forward-thinking move by the San Rafael school board,” Nguyen said. “TAM is glad to be a guiding resource and funding partner in this effort by the district to combat climate change and accelerate the transition to fossil-free transportation.”
San Rafael schools to get electric car charging stations, by Keri Brenner, Marin Independent Journal, January 7, 2019.