Repealing of solar water heater law has sent panic among Solar equipment dealers in Kenya who have expressed their fear for losses after Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) dropped a water heating law requiring building owners to install water heating system.
Draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations 2019 removed the mandatory water heating requirement after parliament bowed to public pressure in 2018 to repeal the law.
The regulations compeled owners of all premises within the jurisdiction of local authorities with hot water requirements of capacity exceeding 100 litres per day to install and use solar water heating systems, imposing a US$ 10,000 fine or jail term on anyone who breaches.
According to Jimmy Njai, Head of Sales Generic Energy (East Africa) Ltd, the omission of the regulation will in a great way impact business as developers will no longer be tied to any regulation on the installation of the system.
“For example, our company has more than 10 million stocks of solar systems that are lying in our warehouses and we fear they may not sell if the situation remains as it is,” Mr Njia said.
The regulations which were introduced in 2012 also require that all premises, new and existing, be fitted with solar water heating systems and that electric power distributors or suppliers should not provide electricity supply to premises where a solar water heating system has not been installed in accordance with the rules.
A source from Suntech Power Limited revealed that the energy products company has about eight million solar systems in stock. “We fear they may not sell when this draft is passed into law by Parliament.”
In 2018, Kenyan Parliament annulled the punitive fine on solar water heating systems on account of there being a contravention to the section of the Statutory Instruments Act (SI Act). The parliament also termed it an infringement on the law that prevents imposition of a fine, or other penalty without express authority provided for in the enabling legislation.
The omission comes as a reprieve to real estate developers, home owners, institutions that can now choose whether or not to install the systems.