14 December 2012

Kenya: State Puts Developers On Notice Over Solar Laws

THE government yesterday urged property developers to install solar water heating systems in their new developments following guidelines gazetted in April and September to push for use of green energy.

The Energy Regulatory Commission, in a paid advertisement in a national newspaper yesterday published a reminder to the public that the Energy solar water heating regulations 2012 should be adhered to, having been gazetted on April 4.

The solar water heating regulation requires that premises whose water requirements exceed 100 litres per day be installed with a solar heating system.

The directive also requires that professionals such as architects and engineers incorporate these heating systems in their plans and designs.

"Of course the initial cost is much higher than the normal hot water cylinder which is about Sh30,000 while the cheapest solar system is about Sh100,000," said Peter Muraya Of Suraya Properties Limited.

But Muraya who said they had adhered to this directive, said the cost of implementing this does not highly increase the overall building cost of an entire house and is therefore worth it.

Davis and Shirtliff manager in charge of the solar products division Norman Chege said the directive has led to an 80 per cent rise in sales this year. Chege said that several developers had already contracted the firm to supply these equipment.

"We are working a lot with estate developers especially those coming up along Mombasa road," said Chege. According to Chege, a water heating system for a home that has five people using about 160 litres of hot water per day costs an average of Sh10,000 and can last up to 20 years maintenance free.

For a family of 12 people using about 320 litres of hot water daily the system could cost Sh180,000. Chloride Exide which also produces solar equipment said that the the installation of Photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of apartments, flats, houses, office blocks and industrial buildings would help meet national power needs if connected to the main grid.

"In Kenya the Energy Act (number 12 of 2006) stipulates that within five years all existing premises with hot water requirements exceeding a 100 litres per day will use solar heating systems," said Tim Jessop, general manager of Chloride Exide.

"There is now scope for the government to consider the introduction of a "grid connect" scheme to encourage property owners to install PV electrical systems to boost the national supply."

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