Incentives for Residential Buildings FAQs

 

  1. What are Residential Buildings? And which ones qualify?
  2. Who can apply?
  3. How do I apply?
  4. Which costs are eligible?
  5. What are the charging station requirements?
  6. What is oversized conduit? Why is it required?
  7. What is a revenue grade meter and how do I install one?
  8. How many charging stations can we get incentives for?
  9. Do visitor parking spaces count towards the total number of parking spaces the application asks for?
  10. If my building received previous charging station incentives can we apply?
  11. How long does it take to install a charging station in my building?
  12. How soon can I buy the charging stations?
  13. Do I need an electric vehicle to apply?
  14. Who owns the charging station?
  15. What is load management?
  16. How much do charging stations cost?

 


Q1: What are Residential Buildings? And which ones qualify?

Residential Buildings are buildings with 3 or more self-contained dwellings. Apartments and condominiums qualify. Multiplexes qualify,
as long as they contain 3 or more self-contained dwellings.

Mixed-use residential buildings also qualify, but the chargers must be for the exclusive use of residents, and not the businesses.

Townhouses where residents share a common garage qualify. Townhouses where each townhouse has its own separate garage do not.

Hotels, motels, resorts and other buildings which provide temporary lodging do not qualify.  

Residential buildings also need to have completed construction and been occupied before January 31, 2018 to qualify for the program.


Q2: Who can apply?

Anyone can apply on behalf of the owner of the residential building; Plug In BC requires proof that the owner has provided consent.

The owner might be an individual or corporation (for rental buildings), a strata corporation, or co-op or co-housing board. Other ownership structures may also exist.

 


Q3: How do I apply?

  1. Review program requirements at https://pluginbc.ca/incentives/charging-solutions-incentives/.
  2. Obtain approval to install the charging station(s) from the authority having jurisdiction over the building. For rental properties, written approval from the property manager is required. For strata buildings, a documented strata/co-op resolution is required. Strata council approval is not sufficient.
  3. Obtain a line-itemized quote from a red seal electrician. Show the electrician the program webpage and make sure the quote includes the requirements (e.g. oversized conduit and eligible charging station).
  4. Create a profile, fill out the application and upload the requested documents at: https://pluginbc.fluidreview.com/

Once the application is submitted, Plug In BC will review it within 30 days.  If it is approved, the contractor(s) will have 16 weeks to complete the installation. Once complete and paid for, submit a final report to receive the cheque.


Q4: Which costs are eligible?

Most costs residential buildings encounter are eligible.

Eligible costs include, but are not limited to, the costs of:

  • The charging station(s);
  • The revenue-grade electricity meter (if applicable);
  • Labour and construction, including installation by a Red Seal electrician;
  • Electrical and other permits;
  • Parking and electrical design, to accommodate the charging stations and related infrastructure;
  • EV parking signage.

Ineligible costs include, but are not limited to, the costs of:

  • Installing non-EV charging infrastructure (e.g. 110v outlets)
  • Administration costs, copy or documentation fees
    (e.g. costs relating to communication or administration between residents and/or property management companies are not eligible);
  • Painting the parking area;
  • Subscription fees associated with the charging station;
  • Taxes paid for goods or services (charging station, labour, etc.); and
  • Charging infrastructure already required by regulations, building codes, or other policies.


Q5: What are the charging station requirements?

For a charging station to be eligible for the program the station must:

  • Be a Level 2 (208/240 volt) station, featuring a SAE J1772 plug;
  • Be purchased, not leased;
  • Be approved for sale and use in Canada (i.e. ULC, cUL, cETL, CSA certification);
  • Be installed by a licensed electrician (work to be completed under appropriate permit and installed to meet Canadian Electrical Code requirements);
  • Have activated data tracking abilities OR be connected to a dedicated revenue grade or Measurement Canada certified meter;
  • Be in operation at the project location for five years.

Another important component of the charging station is whether you purchase a “smart” station or a “basic” station. The main difference between the two is that a “smart” station will be capable of tracking consumption and usage while a “basic” station will not.  If you prefer to purchase a “basic” station you will be required to install a dedicated revenue grade meter or Measurement Canada certified meter for tracking consumption for the station or group of stations. If a meter is used, one from BC Hydro is preferred.


Q6: What is oversized conduit? Why is it required?

Oversized conduit is required to allow access to charging for future residents. The conduit must allow for wiring of a total of six charging stations rated at 40 amps each, or the total number of parking stalls, whichever comes first. In some cases a building might not have the electrical capacity for six charging stations, but future demand might require buildings to upgrade electrical capacity. In this case, installing oversized conduit now helps to decrease costs in the future.


Q7: What is a revenue grade meter and how do I install one?

Not all meters are the same. Some meters are more accurate in measuring electricity consumption than others. As a requirement of this program, if the charging station you install does not have data tracking capabilities you must install a dedicated revenue grade meter (i.e. charging stations must have their own meter and should not be wired directly to the residential meter). BC Hydro meters are preferred.


Q8: How many charging stations can we get incentives for?

Applicants can install as many charging stations as they would like, but incentives will only be provided for up to  two charging stations per building.

A strata with two or more buildings still qualifies for two charging stations per building:
A strata with two buildings can qualify for up to four (2 x 2) incentives.
A strata with three buildings can qualify for up to six (3 x 2) incentives, etc.  


Q9: Do visitor parking spaces count towards the total number of parking spaces the application asks for?

Yes, all parking spaces available must be counted. The total number of dedicated residential parking spaces versus the total number of visitor parking spaces must be made clear.


Q10: If my building received previous charging station incentives can we apply?

Yes. As long as buildings commit to meeting the program requirements, they can apply for incentives, even if they participated in a prior round.


Q11: How long does it take to install a charging station in my building?

Every building is different, but it will generally take much longer to win strata (or owner or co-op) approval to install charging stations, than to install them. Strata (co-op) bylaw changes are done at Annual General Meetings, which only happen once per year.

Even if a strata calls a Special General Meeting to vote on allowing charging stations, strata owners and decision-makers will need time to educate themselves. Plug In BC offers information sessions to assist with this process.


Q12: How soon can I buy the charging stations?

Submit the application and wait for a response before spending money.

Plug In BC wants residential buildings to be approved for a rebate, and to know the exact amount of their rebate, before they buy charging stations or begin installation.


Q13: Do I need an electric vehicle to apply?

No; MURBs may apply even if none of the residents own electric vehicles yet.


Q14: Who owns the charging station?

This should be decided by strata (or co-op board) members.

Some stratas choose to own the stations; others let the EV owners do so. In the latter case, it would be fair for the EV owner to pay a share of the installation costs.


Q15: What is load management?

Load management is a technology allowing multiple charging stations to use the same electric circuit. Think of it like a “time-share” but for electricity.

A typical electric car will only need 2 to 3 hours to fully recharge after a day’s driving, but most cars are parked for 8 to 12 hours at night. If charging stations coordinate themselves and take turns, the same 40A circuit can recharge several cars per evening. Load management technology does this coordination.

Load management is expected to be widely used in charging stations installed in residential buildings in the future. This is because it can postpone or avoid the need for more power to be brought to the building, as more residents purchase electric cars.

For example, a building with 80A spare capacity might only be able to accommodate 2 electric cars with regular charging stations before additional power would have to be brought to the building (which is expensive). If charging stations with load management were installed, the building might be able to accommodate 8 electric cars.


Q16: Do visitor parking spaces count towards the total number of parking spaces the application asks for?

Many factors influence the cost of installing a charging station in a residential building. The average cost for the first charger (including station, installation, and at least 100 feet of oversized conduit) typically ranges from $5000 to $8000.

Once the oversized conduit is in place, the cost to add more chargers should be much lower; perhaps $1500 to $2000. The province requires at least 100 feet of oversized conduit to be installed in order to bring down the cost of installing additional chargers.