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It will soon be illegal not to have solar water heating system

By Peter Muiruri | March 16th 2017
A solar water heating system. Residential buildings that use 100 litres or more are required to install solar water heating equipment or face sanction. [PHOTO: FILE / STANDARD]

If you are one of those who follow governmental regulatory policies keenly, you may have noticed the latest post on the Energy Regulatory Commission’s renewable energy portal regarding the installation of solar water heating equipment in buildings across the country.

The Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations became effective on April 4, 2012 and required all existing buildings within the jurisdiction of local authorities with hot water requirements of a capacity exceeding 100 litres per day install and use solar heating systems.

This was to be done within five years after the effective date, meaning that by end of next month, eligible buildings not meeting the requirements will be operating against the law. Developers and professionals working on new designs or making alterations or extensions to new buildings are to ensure that such facilities are incorporated in the structures.

This directive would require residential buildings that use 100 litres or more to install solar water heating equipment or face sanctions from the regulator.

Also enacted at the same time were the Energy Management Regulations and the Solar Photovoltaic Regulations.

Among other things, the Energy Management Regulations require that energy consuming facilities carry out energy audits at least once every three years.

The recommendations of such audits are supposed to be implemented within the next three years.

Despite the country lying on a tropical zone that receives direct sunlight most of the year, use of solar energy is yet to become universal.

According to the Energy Regulatory Ccommission, some of the challenges standing in the way of solar power utilisation include high initial capital costs, low awareness of the potential opportunities and economic benefits offered by solar technologies, and a lack of adherence to system standards by suppliers.

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