Property owners face Sh1 million fine over solar water heaters

Solar water heaters kenya
Energy law require new buildings to be fitted before use. PHOTO/FILE
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will in November embark on a countrywide audit to apprehend landlords who will have failed to follow solar water heating regulations.

The Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations 2012, which were passed in May 2012, require property owners whose tenants consume more than 100 litres of hot water daily to install and use solar water heaters by end of 2017.

However, the regulations demand that solar water heaters must be incorporated as part of the essentials for new and upcoming commercial buildings.

According to a legal notice dated April 4, 2012, a person who breaches this law “commits an offense and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both”.

A significant number of developers have breached this law citing high costs of the kits. Solar water heaters in Kenya cost between Sh125,000 and Sh150,000 for a residential unit and between Sh600,000 and Sh2 million for a commercial building.

“We have given developers enough time to comply but that may no longer hold. Going forward we will handle everything as stipulated in the regulations,” ERC director for renewable energy Pavel Oimeke told an energy conference in Nairobi in March.

In ensuring that the new regulations are adhered to, ERC has published The Energy (Energy Management) Regulations 2012 that force all designated energy consuming facilities to carry out energy audits at least once every three years.

Property owners must also implement at least half of the energy audit recommendations within three years.

ERC has also published The Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations 2012 that seeks to ensure only genuine solar heating systems are installed.

The regulations, among other things, stipulate that all persons designing and installing solar systems must be licensed by the regulator and all manufactures, vendors, distributors and contractors must be licensed.