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Solar panels to be mandatory in buildings

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29- The country will soon have legislation that will require all new buildings to install solar heating panels.

Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Director General Kaburu Mwirichia said the regulation was one of the provisions they were formulating to boost the use of renewable energy in the country.

“We published those regulations for public comments and we have received views from different stakeholders which we are now consolidating. Once we are through, which is in the next one month or so we shall send them to the Energy Minister so that once they are gazetted they can become law,” he said.

The mounting of the panels is one of the requirements in the proposed building code, which will force households or commercial enterprises that use a lot of hot water to fit solar systems for their energy needs.

The government has in the last few years come up with various measures designed to promote green energy across the country which would in turn cushion Kenyans against the high energy costs.

Eng Mwirichia said the solar heating policy was just one of the many laws such as the Petroleum Contracts and Tariff Approval and the electricity licensing regulations which were at different stages of development and which would be forwarded to the Energy Minister for gazettement.

The regulator has already recommended the enactment of laws such as the Energy (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Regulations of 2009 whose objective is to enhance the consumption of LPG by improving accessibility and competitiveness of cooking gas through the introduction of a unified valve for the cylinders.

The DG spoke when the commission was awarded the ISO certification in recognition of its service delivery where Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi pledged government’s support to the regulator to enable it carry out its mandate effectively.

Mr Murungi said the award would enhance the agency’s professionalism in the energy sector which was critical to the achievement of Vision 2030 goals.

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“It is my belief that ERC’s statutory mandate that includes tariff setting and review, licensing, enforcement of standards, dispute settlement and approval of power purchase and network agreements will be delivered in a more efficient and effective manner,” the minister said.

He called upon other State corporations to emulate the energy commission in improving their quality management systems so that they can be more transparent and efficient in their business operations.

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