Developers directed to install solar water heating systems

By Judith Akolo

Property owners whose buildings use more than 100 liters of hot water face prosecution in a month time if they would not installed solar water heating systems by then.

The Energy Regulatory Commission says developers who fail to comply face up to a year in jail or a million shillings in fine or both punishment upon conviction.

The energy regulator says it will embark on surveillance and impromptu checks on buildings from next month.

Property developers and contractors across the country are required to install solar water heating systems in old and new buildings. This is according to The Solar Water Heating Regulations published in May 2012.

However, most property owners have been putting up buildings with no regard for this regulation which is aimed at reducing the burden on the national grid while utilizing the readily available solar energy.

In addition, the legal notice has an added advantage of helping tenants and developers pay less for their power bills.

The Energy Regulatory Commission says it plans to implement the legal notice in a month’s time since property developers and contractors have had an ample time to comply.

ERC says it will from 25th of next month begin carrying out surveillance visits on buildings under construction and conduct random spot checks on premises built before the regulation to check compliance.

Even though industrial, domestic and commercial buildings are targeted by the legal notice, exemptions are made on “…premises with technical limitations, premises incapable of incorporating solar heating systems due to their special circumstances, premises supplied with hot water from a cogeneration plant, premises utilizing electricity generated from renewable energy and the excess is used to heat water as a dump load, or such other premises as the Commission may determine.”