Microgrids Part 3: EV Charging Infrastructure

by Alexander "D'Angelo" D'Angelo on 6/19/24 10:11 AM

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain popularity, the demand for robust and efficient EV charging infrastructure is on the rise. Modernizing our infrastructure to support this demand is crucial. From residential homes to large commercial complexes, the push for more accessible and reliable EV charging options is reshaping how we think about energy distribution and consumption.

EV Charging

As more employers, multi-family housing communities, educational institutions, and retail structures aim to provide charging facilities for their patrons, power requirements become substantial. This often necessitates new transformers, upgraded panels and switchboards, and higher ampacity circuit breakers. These upgrades lead to significant upfront costs, typically shouldered by the provider, which can then hinder the mass adoption of EV charging solutions.


Challenges with Traditional Conduit Installation

It can be quite challenging when you’re adding higher capacity electrical equipment while also simultaneously retrofitting existing parking structures to support EV charging. Running traditional conduit and wire through multiple concrete walls is not only labor-intensive, but it’s also time-consuming. This process involves significant drilling and demolition, which can disrupt the structural integrity of the building and require extensive repairs. Additionally, the installation can be costly, involving not just the material and labor for the conduit and wiring, but also the expense of restoring any damage caused during the process. These factors make traditional conduit installation a less desirable option for upgrading parking structures with EV charging capabilities. 

Innovative Solutions for EV Charging

automotive-ev-chargerTo address these challenges, the Starline Series-S Busway offers an IP-54 NEMA-3R rated power distribution solution designed to streamline and simplify the adoption of EV charging infrastructure. This innovative solution reduces the complexity and labor associated with traditional retrofitting methods, making the installation process more efficient and less disruptive.

The components of the Series-S Busway include the busway itself, tap boxes, and supporting hardware. Tap boxes allow power to be run to the charging stations at any desired point along the busway. This provides flexibility when determining parking spot placement, or when relocating spots, as needed.

Another key advantage of this system is the ability to take a phased approach when adding chargers. One solution is a three-year adoption plan. For instance, if a provider aims to install 100 charging spots in their existing parking structure over three years, they can start by purchasing the busway, busway hardware, and 10-15 tap boxes in year one. This initial setup allows for the installation of 15 charging spots. In year two, the provider can purchase 40 more tap boxes. No downtime is required; the facilities team simply twists in the new tap boxes and plugs in the charging stations (any brand can be used). In year three, they purchase 50 more tap boxes, and succeed in reaching their goal of 100 charging spots, and at a manageable cost.

blog charge levelsAdditionally, Rocky Mountain Power is incentivizing the development of EV charging infrastructure through their “make-ready” program. This initiative subsidizes EV charging projects, offering up to $200,000 per project, to facilitate market growth. The Series-S Busway qualifies for this incentive, providing a significant financial boost to projects aiming to implement EV charging solutions. This takes the strain off many providers. According to several major EV pedestal manufacturers, up to 90% of total CapEx installation costs, alone, are related to site “Make-Ready” efforts. 

For more information on the Starline S-Series Busway, visit Starline S-Series Busway. To learn more about Rocky Mountain Power's EV charging incentives, visit Rocky Mountain Power Incentives.

Topics: microgrids, ev charging

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