Kenya solar regulations reviewed

The regulation requiring all houses in Kenya with hot water requirements exceeding a capacity of 100 litres per day to install and use solar heating systems has been reviewed.

“We were forced back to the drawing board following public outcry,” said EPRA director-general Pavel Oimeke.

The initial regulations had required local authorities in the country to ensure that all premises using more than 100 litres of hot water per day had solar water heaters installed. Contravention of the regulation would attract a Ksh. 1 million fine or jail time.

In a change of direction, Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) now say the new rules under the Draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations 2019 will only apply to commercial buildings, and not on residential homeowners.

“A lot of these residential homeowners lack the capacity to set up solar water heating systems,” the director-general said.

Previously, the 2012 regulations required all premises, new and existing, to be fitted with solar water heating systems and proposed that power distributors and suppliers be barred from providing electricity connections to premises breaching the regulations.

In 2018, parliament accepted to repeal the solar regulations following public outcry. The 2019 Draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations 2019 have removed the mandatory requirement.

However, the review by EPRA has many left solar energy providers unhappy as they had made investments in anticipation of demand. Some of the suppliers are now left with a stack of inventory.

Real estate developers, homeowners, institutions stand to be the biggest winners in the latest move since they are left with the choice of whether or not to install the systems.

Related; Nairobi’s largest solar plant commissioned in Tatu City