Kenya Draft Energy (Solar Photovoltaic Systems) Regulations, 2019

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published on 13th May 2020

 

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has been developing new regulations for the solar sector and has recently published draft regulations for public review and comment.


The regulations seek to update the regulatory regime for this sector making changes to better reflect and account for developments in the sector including the maturation of the solar PV industry and passing of the new Energy Act, 2019 and learnings from feedback received from stakeholders following a regulatory impact assessment study conducted by the EPRA.


Below we highlight some of the changes that are being proposed to be made with the draft regulations.


New Classes of Solar Technicians

Changes have been made to the classes of solar PV technicians and to expand the extent of the works they will be licensed to perform. EPRA found that the current classes of T1 and T2 technicians were too restrictive considering current market requirements and to revise the maximum permitted system sizes for the lower classes upwards.


The new classes will enable solar PV technicians to design, install, commission, maintain, and repair solar PV systems and solar water pumping systems of sizes and capacities as follows:

 

 

 

 


New classes have also been created for contractors, which mirror the changes made to the technician classes. The separation between the classes was reviewed to better reflect current market conditions and to eliminate the overlaps and confusion present in the current regime, for instance vendors of PV products are often also importers of these products, two different licences i.e. V1 and V2 are currently needed to import and to sell PV products. Also a new class is proposed to be created specifically for manufacturers of solar PV components.

The new classes will entitle contractors to undertake the following activities:

 

 

Licencing conditions

Various changes have been proposed to be made to the regulations relating to the issuance, validity and conditions for renewal or upgrade of licences.


Licence duration

All licences will have a validity period of 3 years unless the applicant makes a request for a licence valid for 1 year. The adjustment of the licence duration period is a direct response to changes requested by licensees who find the current 1 year licence duration too short.


Indemnity Cover

A new requirement will be for contractors to obtain professional indemnity cover. Contractors will required to maintain professional indemnity cover as follows:

 

 
The requirement for an indemnity cover is not being proposed for technicians.


Licence Renewal

In order to renew a licence, technicians will be required to show that they have accumulated sufficient Continuous Professional Development points, much like other professional organisations. A technician is required to demonstrate that he/she has accumulated 30 credit points.


The points can be accumulated through the following activities:

  • By obtaining project credit points through experience gained from design, installation and commissioning, operation and maintenance of solar PV projects accounting for a minimum of 25 points. The balance of the points can be obtained through the following:
  • Attending relevant trainings or seminars or workshops;
  • Giving relevant seminar or training or workshop as a resource person;
  • Presenting a paper on a relevant topic at a conference or publishing a paper in a journal.

 

Technicians are required to obtain at least 10 points in every year of the three year licence validity period. The draft regulations do not state what the consequences would be in the event one fails to obtain 10 points in a given year.


Licence Upgrades

Licence upgrades of any kind will only be made upon the expiry of at least one year under the current licence.
For technician’s to upgrade their licence they will be required to meet various academic and professional qualifications and practical hands on experience as below.

  • They will first be required to meet the minimum professional qualifications for the new class they would like to upgrade to.
  • They will also be required to have worked under the supervision of a technician in the higher class they would like to upgrade to and earned project credit points as follows:

 

 


For contractors to upgrade their licences, they will be required to show that they have in their employment technicians with the relevant licence for the class they are seeking to upgrade to.


Importation and Manufacture of Solar PV Systems, Components and Consumer Devices

All imported or manufactured solar PV systems, components and consumer devices shall be required to meet the relevant Kenya standards. They may not be sold without appropriate health and safety warning labels attached.


Consumer devices which are off-the-shelf, readymade kits which do not require installation work, and lighting kits will be registered with the EPRA who will maintain and publish a register of the approved kits.


Components in the solar PV system and the PV Installation, and consumer devices must all carry warranties for the following minimum periods:

 


These adjustments are proposed in order to match the standard warranty periods being offered by manufacturers. To take one example, solar panels were required to be provided with 20 year warranties. This is proposed to be revised downwards to 10 years, which matches the 10-12 year warranty periods offered by most manufacturers.

 

Design, Installation and Maintenance of Solar PV Systems

The draft regulations specify the relevant solar PV system design standard to which the technicians and contractors are required to conform to as the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Standard IEC/TS 62548 2013 or its replacement. This is intended to ensure that design work is done to an appropriate international standard in the interest of customers.


Technicians and contractors are required to prepare system design declarations which they are to sign with the customer prior to the commencement of the works. The system design declaration is required to have the following information:

  • An analysis of the customers electrical energy needs
  • The specifications of the proposed solar PV solution including the brands of the components, their country of origin, capacity and number of solar modules to be installed.
  • The full price of the installation including potential costs likely to be incurred during the installation.
  • Layout of the area where the proposed installation is to be done.
  • The duration of the proposed installation.
  • Any work that is required to be done by the user to prepare the site for the installation.
  • Whether the customer is purchasing a component of the system.

 

This is a further measure aimed at protecting consumers and ensuring that works are conducted to an adequate professional standard, instilling fair business practices in the industry.


Installation works

Installation works are required to comply with the relevant standard. The various International and Kenyan standards have been provided in the schedules to the draft regulations.

The draft regulations provide that where the installation works require structural building work then these must be done by the relevant qualified professionals and relevant government approvals obtained. This provision makes it clear that there are limits to the works technicians and contractors licensed under the draft regulations can perform.

Upon the completion of the installation works, the draft regulations require that the technician or contractor provide the following:

  • training to the customer on the safe use, maintenance, and disposal of the solar PV system.
  • a completion certificate and declaration that the customer has been provided with training.
  • a warranty for the installation workmanship.
  • the “as built” system design.
  • name of manufacturer or vendor from whom the PV system or components were purchased.
  • Warranties on the PV system or components issued by the manufacturer or vendor.
  • User manuals.
  • Instructions for the safe disposal of the system and system components in accordance with rules laid down in the Environment Management and Co-ordination Act, 1999 on disposal of e-waste.

 

Data Collection

Part of the functions of the EPRA under the Energy Act, 2019 is the collection of energy data. The draft regulations propose the mandatory provision of information by all licensees as applicable on the solar PV systems installed in watts, the value of solar PV systems and components manufactured, sold and installed, the installed project capacity and locations of the installations.

The information collected in this way will be used by the EPRA and other stakeholders for energy planning.

 

Draft Regulations

When the Draft Regulations come into operation, they will help advance the industry forward and ensure their relevance given the maturation of the industry, technological developments, consumer needs and the developments in the law especially following the recent passing of the revised Energy Act, 2019.

As has been mentioned, these regulations are currently in draft form and have been availed to the public for their comments and suggestions on changes. Following this and before coming into force, the regulations will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny which may annul or revoke them if they do not meet the criteria set out in the Statutory Instruments Act, 2013. If the regulations pass regulatory scrutiny they will be passed into law.

We will make a further update to this article when the regulations are passed into Law.

 

 

 
 

 

 

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