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Solar Hot Water Rebates

In many parts of Australia, installing a solar hot water system or heat pump is a great way to lower the cost of heating a building’s water. By installing a hot water system that is powered by the heat from the sun, an average homeowner may save anywhere from $140-$400 per year on utility bills.

Of course, financial reasons aren’t the only incentive to install a solar hot water heater or heat pump. By adding a renewable energy system that does not emit any harmful, greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, solar hot water heaters also do their part for the environment. 

For this reason, the federal government (as well as some states) have begun to offer rebates to incentivize the installation of solar hot water heaters and heat pumps. In this article, we are going to break down everything there is to know about solar hot water rebates in Australia. 

Solar Hot Water Rebate – Federal Government Assistance

The federal government’s solar hot water rebate is perhaps the one that most people are familiar with. Under the Australian Government Renewable Energy Target, solar hot water heaters can qualify for Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs).

STC’s essentially act as “green energy tokens” that can be traded or sold just as any other consumer good. However, most homeowners simply apply their Small Scale Technology Certificates directly to the upfront cost of the green energy system. Oftentimes, this translates to thousands of dollars saved on the total cost of the installation. 

STC values are not set at a fixed price, instead, they fluctuate according to a few specific factors. These include:

  • Geographical Zone of Residence (Zone 1, 2, 3 or 4)
  • Type of Technology Used
  • Size of System
  • Specific Model of System

Additionally, not everyone is always going to be successful in applying for federal green energy incentives. Although the rules vary regionally, there are a few consistent qualifications one must possess in order to receive a solar hot water rebate.

Solar Hot Water Rebate Criteria and Qualifications

  1. Must own and occupy the property
  2. Solar hot water heater is on the list of eligible models
  3. Homeowner has not already qualified for a PV solar or battery incentive program
  4. Property is not a new construction building

So although the government is encouraging as many homeowners as possible to go solar for their home’s hot water, there are certain measures put in place to prevent people from taking advantage of the system.

Eligible hot water heaters are also scrutinized for performance and consumer safety. Therefore, installing a government certified solar hot water heater can prevent  both potential danger and system malfunctioning.  

Heat Pump Hot Water Rebates

In the arid lands of certain climate zones, heat pumps are one of the most economical and environmentally friendly ways to heat a home’s water. Heat pumps are also often utilized on properties that cannot easily incorporate solar panels. Much like the solar hot water rebate, Australia offers a heat pump hot water rebate.

Heat pumps also qualify for Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) just as hot water or photovoltaic solar energy systems. The value and qualification for an individual heat pump rebate is largely the same as those of a solar hot water heater, as outlined above. 

State Government Hot Water Rebates

Across the country, each state government has prioritized and incentives hot water rebates a little bit differently. Below, we will outline the history, cost, and actions you can take to receive a hot water rebate in each Australian state. 

Queensland 

Queensland led the charge as one of the Australian states to become an early adopter of solar energy. The Queensland Government Solar Hot Water Rebate allowed many residents to qualify for up to $1,000 in rebates for their hot water solar heating system.

Unfortunately, this rebate has expired as of 22 July 2012. Currently, the strongest state wide incentive to purchase a solar hot water system is its qualification for interest-free loans. 

Today, however, some homeowners can qualify for $200 if they hook up their hot water system to an economy tariff. After the installation, solar owners can submit an Electrical Work Request (EWR) to Energex to claim their rebate.

New South Wales 

Unfortunately, there are no state government or private incentives available for solar hot water heaters or heat pumps in NSW. NSW residents can still qualify for national STC’s as well as some no interest loan schemes.

Additionally, the government has provided a free tool to help residents switch their energy providers in order to save money.

Victoria

Although the federal government has offered green energy incentives for the past decade, Victoria has only gotten on board in the last several years. Once the legislation was passed, officially, any solar hot water heater installed on or following 19 August 2018 can qualify for eligible rebates.

The state of Victoria offers up to $1,000 in hot water rebates for solar and heat pumps through the Solar Homes Program. This money can be used in addition to the federal incentive. Additionally, hot water heaters can qualify for up to $700 in rebates in the Victorian Energy Upgrade Scheme. 

Before you install your solar hot water heater or heat pump, get a quote from an accredited local provider. With this, you can apply for both the Victorian Solar Homes Program and Victorian Energy Upgrade Scheme.

In Victoria, eligibility is limited to:

  • Applicants that have not already qualified for the program
  • Properties under $3 million
  • Combined household income of under $180,000
  • Replacement of a hot water heater that is more than 3 years old

Western Australia

In Western Australia, the Solar Hot Water Heater Subsidy Scheme was created to help homeowners save hundreds of dollars on heat pumps and solar hot water heaters. Unfortunately, this program has now closed.

South Australia

In South Australia, the state government has created the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) to help incentive residents to install solar hot water heat pumps. Although the program was originally designed as early as 2009 (then known as the Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme), it did not take full effect until 2015. The REES is open to single family homes, multi family homes, and small businesses. 

Additionally, the city of Adelaide offers a rebate of up to $1,000 for solar heat pumps within city limits on top of REES and STC incentives.

Not only does installing energy efficient products save you money, but the South Australian Government will also pay you up to $2,000 (in combination with federal incentives) for installing qualifying solar hot water heaters or heat pumps. 

To take advantage of REES, homeowners and business owners must set up an energy audit for the property. Hot water heaters and audit services must be pre-approved by the state in order to qualify for incentives. 

Tasmania

On 1 May 2017, Aurora Energy and the Tasmanian Government  launched the Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme, most commonly known as TEELS. TEELS was designed to help homeowners and business owners adopt solar hot water systems with interest free loans. Homeowners could qualify for anything from $500 to $10,000 in no-interest financing. Likewise, businesses can borrow up to $40,000. 

Unfortunately, TEELS ended in 2019, just as the territory’s on-farm energy audit program closed as well. there are currently no other state-sponsored rebates or incentives for solar water heaters in Tasmania.

Northern Territory

In 2018 the Northern Territory opened up applicants for its Smart Energy Grants program. The $4 million energy efficiency initiative offers a federally backed 50/50 split for home improvements adopting green technologies. In addition to PV solar and batteries, solar hot water systems and heat pumps are eligible for this rebate.  

In order to check your eligibility or the availability of a NT smart energy grant, contact smartenergy@nt.gov.au.

Conclusion

Ultimately, now is a great time to consider installing a solar hot water heater or heat pump in Australia. The federal rebates combined with some available local incentives make adopting green energy to heat your home’s water easier than ever. Plus, once your solar hot water heater is installed, you’ll be saving money on your utility bills every year!