Fresh move to compel landlords to install solar water heating systems

  • 20 Jan 2023
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Grace Marione

If new regulations aimed at encouraging the adoption of renewable energies are approved, owners of all new and existing buildings risk spending six months in jail or paying a fine of Sh20,000 if they fail to incorporate designs for installation of solar water heaters.


All buildings MUST have solar water heating systems according to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority’s (Epra) draft Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations, 2022. The rules were made public on Friday for comments. The main objective of the regulations according to Epra is to streamline the manufacture, importation, design and installation of solar water heating systems in Kenya. 


Following failure of a previous attempt, Epra is now making another attempt to compel the installation of solar water heating systems in Kenya. The Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations, 2012 were published in the Gazette in 2012 with the intention of encouraging the use of solar water heating in commercial, industrial, and residential structures. Homeowners, tenants, and landlords have also objected, claiming that the restrictions’ enforcement would be harsh because it would be expensive for them to convert their properties.


Despite the stated cons on why solar heating panels failed in 2018, there are some key features Kenyans should consider before ruling out the plan by the government. 


The solar kits are anticipated to aid in energy conservation and reduce demand for electricity as existing power producing facilities are under pressure from rising economic activity and the connection of more residences to the grid. Additionally, adding solar panels might reduce a home’s electricity costs by up to 20%. The high costs of solar heaters, however, have been noted by real estate developers as a barrier to greater use. For home use, a complete solar water heater system costs between Sh125,000 and Sh150,000 per unit, and for commercial structures, between Sh600,000 and Sh2,000,000.


Kenya has a lot of potential for solar energy, and solar heating panels are becoming a more practical and cheap choice as the price of solar panels falls. Despite future attempts to fight the new regulations, Kenyans may be forced to comply with the new regulations as they prohibit Kenya Power from approving electricity connection to premises that lack solar installations.