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Draft Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations, 2022

On 13th January 2023, EPRA gazetted the Draft Energy Draft Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations (‘Draft Regulations’) for public comment. The Draft Regulations seek to streamline the manufacture, importation, design and installation of solar water heating systems in Kenya.

One of the key provisions under the Draft Regulations is that “all premises shall have in their design a provision for solar water heating system installation” The Draft Regulations further stipulate that a developer of a housing estate, a promoter of the construction, an owner of the premises or an architect or an engineer engaged in the design or construction of premises shall be responsible for compliance with this provision. The targeted premises include all new and existing domestic dwellings or residential houses, commercial buildings i.e., hotels, lodges, clubs, restaurants, cafeterias and laundries, health institutions and educational institutions such as universities, colleges, boarding schools and other learning institutions. As to the penalties, the Draft Regulations set out a fine of KES 20,000 or 6-months imprisonment for failure to include designs for installation of solar water heaters.

It is noteworthy that this is EPRA’s second attempt to enforce mandatory installation of solar water heating systems in Kenya after a previous attempt failed. EPRA had in 2012 gazetted the Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations, 2012 whose objective was to promote uptake of solar water heating in industrial, commercial and residential buildings. However, the regulations were set aside in 2018 on grounds of that the KES 1 million fine under the Regulations contravened the Statutory Instruments Act which limits fines payable under the Act to a maximum of Sh20,000 or a prison term not exceeding six months in default.

The Draft Regulations are indeed a notable way of increasing the adoption of renewable energies in the country. However, their adoption could portend significant cost implications for owners of premises who would be mandated to install solar water heating systems during the construction of a new building or retrofit existing premises to incorporate solar water heating systems.

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