New Funds Available to Help Landscapers Buy Battery Equipment

As we wrote back in October, California is ending the sale of gas-powered landscape equipment (and some other “small off-road engines”) in the state beginning in 2024. It’s an important step, though it doesn’t end their use (it leaves it to cities and counties to regulate the use of these small but highly-polluting machines). And yesterday, it kicked off an incentive program to help commercial landscapers purchase new zero-emission leaf blowers, lawn mowers, hedgers, and other ZE landscape tools and batteries.

And it’s serious funding. For leaf blowers, it’s up to $400 off each blower, plus up to $1,000 or $3,000 off of batteries for each blower (depending on battery size), plus more for chargers. They can buy multiple blowers and multiple kinds of tools–up to $25,000 in discounts, per company. This can cover most of the cost of switching to even the most professional and capable battery leaf blowers.

battery mower santa cruz
City worker using a battery mower. Santa Cruz Parks & Rec Department has started the transition to battery tools.

California is putting its money where its mouth is because they’ve done the math and know how harmful these engines are to our health and our air. It’s like a tax that everyone pays, day in and day out, regardless of whether you hire landscapers yourself.

So the cost of the program, $27 million, will be more than recouped in numerous ways–in cleaner air, fewer asthma attacks, fewer heart attacks, fewer cancers, fewer eye and respiratory infections, fewer strokes, fewer medical visits and lower medical bills, less noise and less disruption to work and learning, less smog, lower carbon emissions, better equity and worker safety, etc. etc.

So if you or your neighbors hire landscape companies that still use gas-powered tools, let them know about the program. Tell them there’s a lot of money available to help them switch to clean and quieter tools, ones which also–bonus!–have fatter profit margins.

But the program ends when the funds have all been used, so it’s best they not wait around.

Here’s a list of dealers throughout the state where landscapers can buy the qualifying equipment. B&B Small Engine Repair, in Santa Cruz, is a local authorized dealer (brands: Stihl, Makita).

The program is called the Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project (CORE). It’s available to sole proprietors and to landscape businesses with 100 or fewer employees and less than $15 million in revenue.