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Economy

Solar dealers fear losses after energy agency drops water heating law

A technician installs solar panels
A technician installs solar panels. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Solar equipment dealers fear revenue drops after the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) scrapped a regulation that required building owners to instal water heating systems.

In its draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) regulations 2019, EPRA has removed the mandatory water heating requirement which was introduced in 2012.

This is after Parliament caved in to public pressure last year to repeal the law that had imposed a Sh1 million fine or one-year jail term for real estate developers and home owners who fail to install solar water heating systems in their buildings.

The ERC 2012 regulations required that premises with hot water demand exceeding 100 litres per day install solar water heating systems to cater for at least 60 per cent of the demand.

Generic Energy Head of Sales Jimmy Njai said the omission of the regulation will in a great way impact their business as developers will no longer be tied to any regulation on the installation of the system.

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“The regulatory body should have consulted us widely on the emission as we are the ones who will be hard hit,” Mr Njai said.

“For example, our company has more than 10 million stocks of solar systems that are lying in our warehouses and we fear they may not sell if the situation remains as it is,” Mr Njia said.

Agnes Mwangi from Suntech Power Limited said the gap will lead to the death of the industry.

“We have about eight million solar systems of them in stock. We fear they may not sell when this draft is passed into law by Parliament,” she said. The omission comes as a reprieve to real estate developers, home owners, institutions that can now choose whether or not to install the systems.

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