New Energy Law to Boost Solarpreneurs

In Startup, Tech
Strauss Energy Entrepreneurs at Work in Nairobi.

Off-grid Solar entrepreneurs are set to reap big starting next month when the Kenya government starts to enforce a new building law.

Starting next month a five year notice that requires investors in large residential and commercial buildings to fit them with solar panels or risk a jail or a fine of Sh1million will be enforced.

Real estate developments whose water heating needs are more than 100 litres are required to have solar water heating systems. The energy regulator said it will enforce the law starting May 27.

This is expected to lift demand for solar energy and related equipment increasing jobs and earnings for solarpreneurs who have been largely concentrated in rural areas.

“Beginning next month, ERC and police officers attached to the commission will start conducting surveillance to ascertain compliance,” Pavel Oimeke, the ERC’s acting director-general, said.

The market players have increased in the recent past including M-Kopa, Azuri Technologies, d.light, Angaza, Mobisol, Pawame and many others powered by foreign investments and a huge market across the continent.

Owners of large residential and commercial buildings who have not installed solar water heaters risk jail or a Sh1 million fine beginning next month when the energy sector regulator begins to enforce compliance with a law that came into force five years ago.

RELATED: Azuri Bites 100,000 Customers off Africa’s Solar Market

The law requires owners of residential and commercial houses, whose hot water needs exceed 100 litres per day, to include solar water heating systems in their building designs.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said in a notice that it will begin enforcing the Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations 2012 on May 27 when the grace period it provided last year comes to a close.

The new law is supposed to affect residential houses from three-bedroomed homes, hospitals, restaurants and hotels, boarding schools in what signals brisk business for the industry.

“Where we confirm non-compliance, the law requires that we issue the building owner with a six-month notice to instal the equipment failing which we shall charge them.”

RELATED: USAID Announces 2nd Round of Funding for Solar Startups

This solar law covers residential premises (three-bedrooms and above), health institutions, restaurants and hotels, boarding schools and other similar commercial operations.

The ERC’s preliminary audits show that only 150,000 of three million buildings (both new and old) have installed hot water systems. Schools will especially provide huge opportunities for the entrepreneurs since most of them have not complied.


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