The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in 2012 gazetted the regulations requiring that properties with hot water demand exceeding 100 litres per day install solar water heating systems to cater for the demand in their building designs. This solar law covers residential premises, health institutions, restaurants, hotels and other related private enterprises. The regulation required the homeowner of buildings to act per the time of publishing of the notice. The grace period expired in May 2017.
The solar heatings rules require that domestic residential houses with at least three bedrooms, educational institutions such as colleges with 20 0r more students, lodges and hotels meet the hot water supply-demand.
Other premises targeted include restaurants, laundries and other private sectors with similar services to install solar water heaters attracting new investors amid high returns.
The commission advised caution to be on alert of scams pretending to be ERC officers inspecting buildings per the new rules. The regulation requires that homeowners or landlords conduct energy audits every three years and should have implemented half of the audit recommendations within the three years.
The cost of a complete solar heater system for domestic use varied between Ksh 125,000 and Ksh 150,000 per unit and between Ksh 600,000 and Ksh 2 million for commercial buildings. The cost of installing solar equipment has been commended as a barrier and reason why investors in the past have failed to integrate the new requirement during the completion period of a building. The cost of the solar water heaters and equipment installation has substantially gone down.
Also, solar kits are expected to improve energy conservation and lower demand for electricity consumption and increase connections to more homes in the existence of power supply. Installing solar panels could help save electricity bills up to 20 per cent.
It has however yielded fruit indicating that more solar heating systems have been installed countrywide. The Energy Regulatory Commission also has several objectives and duties which include regulating renewable energy and other forms of energy, electrical energy, petroleum and other related products.