The third priority recommendation from the SB 350 Barriers Report is to develop regional ‘One-Stop-Shops’ to increase consumer awareness and provide technical assistance. The goals of this recommendation are to:
- Increase consumer awareness of the State’s clean transportation and related clean energy incentive programs;
- Provide consumers technical assistance to apply for and participate in CARB clean transportation programs; and,
- Focus on providing coordinated community-based outreach and education to maximize program participation and promote advanced technology vehicle adoption among low-income residents.
To operationalize this priority recommendation, CARB initiated development of Access Clean California (initially titled the One-Stop-Shop Pilot Project) in 2018. Access Clean California takes a multi-dimensional approach to outreach with the ultimate goal of streamlining access to, and coordinating outreach for, the State’s clean transportation and clean energy consumer-based equity projects.
The project built and supports a statewide network of outreach partners, including grassroots community-based organizations. Access Clean California provides funding and resources to outreach partners to help CARB increase awareness of its clean transportation equity programs and build trust and capacity in priority populations.
Access Clean California also provides a centralized application webtool, called the Benefits Finder, that helps community members determine eligible programs and streamline their applications to multiple clean transportation and energy incentive programs. The Benefits Finder includes a centralized income verification function, which helps simplify one of the more burdensome steps for both applicants and program administrators. The Access Clean California customer care system provides case managers to help Benefits Finder applicants throughout the whole application process. The Benefits Finder is hosted on the Access Clean California web-platform and is currently available through facilitated-use by the project’s outreach partners as they conduct targeted outreach in priority populations.
To date, CARB has allocated $17 million to Access Clean California, starting with $5 million of Volkswagen settlement funding in fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 to initiate development of the project. After a competitive solicitation in 2018, GRID Alternatives was selected as the program administrator. CARB allocated additional funding in FY 2019-20 ($6 million), FY 2021-22 ($5 million), and FY 2022-23 ($1 million).
Beginning in 2021, Access Clean California continues working to steadily increase use of the Benefits Finder, streamlining and simplifying access to CARB’s clean transportation incentive programs for priority populations. CARB is also working to identify outreach gaps and expand the network of outreach partner organizations accordingly, with an emphasis on partnering with community-based organizations and similar grassroots community organizations. Finally, CARB continues coordinating with the California Public Utilities Commission and other relevant state agencies to ensure the Benefits Finder provides access to complementary clean energy programs and outreach is conducted in a coordinated manner across all relevant programs.