BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

EPRA reviews solar water heating law, homeowners to be spared

EPRA director-general Pavel Oimeke said the new rules under the Draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations 2019 will only be specified to commercial building owners

In Summary

•The solar water heating regulations rolled out on May 25 2012, required all premises within the jurisdiction of local authorities with hot water requirements of a capacity exceeding 100 litres per day to install and use solar heating systems

•EPRA, however, dropped the water heating law requiring building owners to install solar water heating systems after parliament bowed to public pressure in 2018 to repeal the law.

A solar water heating system. /FILE
A solar water heating system. /FILE

Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority is reworking on the solar water heater regulations to omit residential homeowners following growing public outcry.

EPRA director-general Pavel Oimeke told the Star the new rules under the Draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations 2019 would only be specified to commercial building owners.

“There was a lot of public outcry which forced us back to the drawing board. A lot of these residential homeowners lack the capacity to set up solar water heating systems,” he said.

The solar water heating regulations rolled out on May 25, 2012, required all premises within the jurisdiction of local authorities with hot water requirements of a capacity exceeding 100 litres per day to install and use solar heating systems.

The premises targeted under the regulations include domestic residential premises, educational institutions, health institutions, hotels and lodges, restaurants, cafeterias and other eating places as well as laundry facilities.

EPRA, however, dropped the water heating law requiring building owners to install solar water heating systems after parliament bowed to public pressure in 2018 to repeal the law.

In 2018, 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 the imposition of a fine, or other penalties without express authority provided for in the enabling legislation.

The annulled law that imposed a Sh1 million fine or one-year jail term for real estate developers and homeowners who failed to install solar water heating systems.

The omission came as a reprieve to real estate developers, homeowners, institutions which can now choose whether or not to install the systems.

“We found that if you have retired and spent all your money on your retirement home, you may not be financially able to install the solar water heater,” Oimeke said.