Government moves to stop use of solar energy

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The Draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations, 2020 seek to
make it a harder and more expensive to manufacture, import, install or
maintain solar components and systems and make consumers stick to the
expensive and unreliable national power grid.

You will need a bachelor’s degree or three courses in engineering to
operate as a solar power technician, if the new guidelines drafted by the
energy regulator are implemented.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) has introduced a raft
of punitive rules that could stifle the mass switch to cheap solar power by
ordinary Kenyans and heavy consumers that has left Kenya Power in financial
difficulties.

According to the regulations, a technician must obtain a licence from the
authority in order to design, install, commission or repair a solar
photovoltaic (PV) system.

The permits are granted, based on the capacity of the system to be
installed.

Licence classes STI, ST2 and ST3 are for systems with a capacity of not
more than 400 watts, 2kW, and 50kW respectively.

Only a technician with a class ST4 licence will be allowed to install solar
grids of any capacity.

A bachelor’s degree is a must if you want to make a career out of
installing solar grids. You will also need relevant experience in
electrical engineering.

Solar technicians will part with Sh2,250 to Sh6,000 in order to get and
renew their licences, while contractors will pay Sh3,000 to Sh6,000.

The contractors must take insurance policies of between Sh1 million and
Sh10 million.

Solar operators will be slapped with a daily fine of Sh10,000 if they delay
to renew their licences, Sh20,000 if they do not issue a completion
certificate for a project and the same amount for failing to provide a
warranty for installation.

Epra said regulating the industry would ensure solar components and systems
meet approved standards.

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