The current state of the charging infrastructure in Bulgaria
A concession procedure for 80 charging points for electric vehicles (“EV”) is expected to be launched by the end of the year in Sofia. This will be a pilot project for the mass development of the charging infrastructure in the country. One of the main aims is to situate most of the charging stations in the city center and solely on municipal land plots. A preliminary phase for the project (proposals for amendments to the future locations scheme) was already finalized in the beginning of July 2017.
The development of the EV charging infrastructure in Bulgaria is still at a very early phase. Most of the functioning stations are located on the territory of the Sofia Municipality (approximately 20), and are mostly placed on private land plots.
Applicable local regulations
The Bulgarian Spatial Development Act gives each municipality the discretion to set the legal requirements for placing EV charging stations. As a result, the regime is not uniform and could significantly differ from one city to another.
Depending on the type of property, there are two regulation procedures:
• Municipal/State-owned property
Placing charging stations on municipal/state-owned land requires an installation scheme and permission for installation. The installation scheme requires approval by the Municipal Spatial Development Expert Council and authorization by the respective Chief Architect. The placement of charging stations would only be temporary and the authorization term varies in the different municipalities.
• Private property
The regime for installation on private property is simpler, requiring only a scheme with installation instructions. Again, the authorization term in the different municipalities varies between 5 and 10 years.
Due to recent legal amendments, real estate developers are now required to allocate special EV parking spaces in certain types of new constructions such as shopping malls, hospitals, universities, airports, etc. The number of EV parking spaces depends on the construction type and ranges from 5% to 20% of the total number of statutory required parking spaces. So far, there are no requirements to provide EV parking spaces in future residential buildings.
Procedure for connection to the electric grid
Owners of individual charging columns are required to file a request for a certificate of commissioning within 7 days of installation. A contract to access the grid of the energy supplier should be submitted as well. The written request has to be filed in accordance with a template provided by the respective network operator. Additional documents certifying the applicant’s property rights have to be presented too.
How to sell
At this stage, no license is required for the sale of electricity from charging stations. However, there are on-going preliminary discussions on the topic and this may change. EV charging is done via card verification. There are also numerous free-of-charge stations, usually placed in public buildings.
Overall, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the sale of electricity from EV charging stations in Bulgaria.