Round up of solar hot water rebates, federal and state

Round up of Solar Hot Water Rebates, federal and state by state

There are a variety of financial incentives being offered at state and federal levels for solar hot water systems. These

Solar hot water can be installed either with a roof top tank, or with the tank remaining within the house
Solar hot water can be installed either with a roof top tank, or with the tank remaining within the house

rebates are designed to make the installation of a solar hot water system more affordable to the average property, and vary in effectiveness. This article will outline the eligibility terms and incentives for each rebate.

Federal Solar Hot Water Rebate

The most widely available and effective rebate available at the time of writing is the federal governments Solar Hot Water Rebate. Essentially this is a rebate of $1,600 to install solar or heat pump hot water systems that replace electric hot water systems in existing privately owned homes. It is running for installations that take place from the 3rd of February, 2009 to the 30th of June, 2012. There are a number of terms for this rebate, some of the most important include that the system must;

¢ be installed at the applicants primary place of residence (Ruling out most commercial and industrial properties);
¢ be a new and complete hot water system that replaces an existing electric storage hot water system previously operational at the dwelling;
¢ be a hot water system that is eligible for at least 20 renewable energy certificates (RECs) under the Renewable Energy Target at the time and place of installation, as certified by the licensed installer; and
¢ be installed by a suitably qualified person (for example an electrician and/or plumber).

For a full list of terms and conditions the government’s PDF application booklet can be found at the following link;

In short, this federal rebate should be the first option to be considered in seeking solar hot water. The $1,600 flat rebate is the most generous available, and when stacked with other rebates, makes the opportunity for a solar hot water system very accessible.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for solar hot water

The second federal government initiative in Australia available for solar hot water is the often misunderstood, but very important REC Trading Scheme. This initiative is applicable to any installation of renewable energy in Australia. Solar energy, hot water, wind and thermal powered projects are all prime examples of such installations. They are compensated according to the amount of energy they save.

1 Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) = 1mW of energy over the course of 15 years, which is approx 1 tonne of abated carbon emissions.

A REC is a market-valued commodity, meaning that its value is subject to the usual pressures of supply and demand.

So there are two important points to remember about the RECs you will receive for the installation of a solar hot water system.

1. The first is how many RECs the system you’re installing will be worth (how much energy it is saving). This is especially important when considering that the federal Solar Hot Water Rebate is only eligible for systems that receive 20 or more RECs.
2. What the value for the RECs is when they are cashed in. The value of an individual REC has altered from between $47 to $35 over the last six months. It continues to change from week to week.

State Government Rebates

Depending upon which state or territory the property is located, different incentives are offered. The following outlines each approach individually. These initiatives are separate from the Federal government rebates, meaning they can be stacked on top of the Solar Hot Water Rebate and the RECs you receive to save you the maximum amount of money.

New South Wales

This rebate offers property owners from $600 to $1200 for a solar or heat pump hot water system that replaces an existing electric hot water system in a place of primary residence. The eligibility terms are much like the federal Solar Hot Water Rebate, so this useful incentive stacks nicely for New South Wales residences that are eligible for both. For full info follow the link below:


The Victorian government has undergone some recent changes to their solar hot water rebates. Essentially this scheme offers two different ranges of compensation, depending on whether the property is classed as metropolitan or regional:
¢ Metropolitan properties can receive from $300 to $1,500.
¢ Regional property owners can receive from $800 $2,350.

There is one major eligibility requirement that has been introduced that must be considered. The Victorian government will NOT accept applications from residents that have NOT applied for the Commonwealth Solar Hot Water rebate or the Commonwealth Homeowner Insulation offer. Depending on whether the property is switching from electric or gas hot water to solar hot water, the federal rebate or the Victorian rebate is applicable.

More info:

South Australia

The situation in SA is that the state government’s Solar Hot Water Rebate Scheme offers $500 to $700 towards the installation of a new solar or electric heat pump hot water system. The $500 rebate applies to 1 panel installations, whilst $700 will be allocated for two or more panel projects. There are several terms and conditions regarding income status and concessions card possession. The main ones include that;
 the installation must be eligible for at least 18 RECs; and
 must take place at the applicants principle place or residence; and
 the applicant must hold ONE of the following concession cards:
o Centrelink Health Care Card
o Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Pensioner Concession Card
o Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card – Totally and Permanently Incapacitated
o Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card – War Widow
o Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Extreme Disablement Adjustment

In addition, if you live in Port Augusta, Miranda or Stirling North you may be eligible for a rebate under the Flinders Power Scheme. Contact the Port Augusta City Council on (08) 8641 9152 for further details.

More info at:


The Queensland state government recently announced their Solar Hot Water Program, after a long period of inactivity with regards to the matter. It will be available to applicants that are eligible for the federal Solar Hot Water Rebate. The process is outlined below;

1. After the successful application to the Queensland Solar Hot Water Program, and as an eligible participant, applicants will pay $500, or $100 for pensioners and low-income earners, to get a standard solar or heat pump hot water system installed.
2. Upon this installation by a certified professional, an invoice of $1600 will be provisioned to the applicant. Once the federal rebate for the same amount has been received, this invoice can then be paid.
3. Finally the RECs that are provided by the federal government for the installation will be allocated to the installer of the system.

In order to establish your eligibility for the federal governments Solar Hot Water Rebate, follow the link below or call 1800 808 571.

More info on Queensland’s state rebate can be found at:

Western Australia

Much like in Victoria, the Western Australian government is providing a rebate that focuses on assisting people that are converting from natural gas to solar hot water systems, in order to counteract the federal governments focus on electric conversion subsidies. In WA, the government will provide $500 for gas-boosted solar water heaters to be installed and $700 for bottled LP gas-boosted solar water heaters. This is only provided for properties that exist in areas without reticulated gas.

Electric conversions will have to rely on the federal Solar Hot Water Rebate ($1,600) for assistance, with no more being provided by the WA government. The RECs will still be available to both types of conversions.
For more info follow this link:

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT has a unique rebate system in place, operated by the ACT Energy Wise program. It works on the premise that if an applicant spends at least $2000 AUD on improving their homes energy efficiency, they will receive $500 reimbursement. They must also pay for a $30 home energy audit to take place, but they receive that money back once the $2000 has been recorded and approved.

Now installing a solar hot water system is a great way to get that $2000 racked up, however the government has decided that only the first $1000 put towards a solar hot water system will be counted towards that total. So in order for an ACT applicant to receive their $500 back by installing a solar or heat pump hot water system, they must;

¢ Pay for the installation themself, using the federal government initiatives as assistance;
¢ Put down an extra $1000 towards making their home more energy efficient; and
¢ Pay to have the $30 Home Audit inspection to be carried out.

Not the most ideal system due to the lack of state support for the initial outlay. However, the ACT’s impressive ˜gross’ feed-in reward scheme for solar energy shows their dedication towards renewable energy installations. Perhaps they have just decided not to over extend themselves with regards to the solar hot water schemes.

For more info on solar energy feed-in reward schemes see the appropriately titled section of our main website:

For more info on the ACT Energy Wise program follow this link:

Northern Territory

Up north in the NT, there is an additional rebate being offered to specific houses that are converting from an electric to a solar hot water system. This incentive refers to homes that were built in or prior to 2000:
¢ Homes with timber roof trusses requiring reinforcement plus additional plumbing works are eligible for a rebate up to $1000.
¢ Homes with steel roof trusses and requiring additional plumbing works are eligible for a rebate up to $400.

This offer can stack with both federal rebates (Solar Hot Water Rebate and RECs discount) to make quite an affordable opportunity for eligible homes.

The only incentive to convert from gas to solar hot water in the NT are the RECs that would be generated, making this one area that could be improved by future policy.

More info can be found at;


In Tasmania, only Hobart residents are eligible for further incentives on the federal government initiatives. Anywhere other than Hobart, you will have to rely on the federal Solar Hot Water Rebate ($1,600) and the RECs.
In Hobart, the state government of Tasmania is offering a $500 flat rate payment to certain solar conversions of hot water systems. The eligibility terms are that the applicant must;
1. have purchased and installed the solar hot water system between 1st July 2007 and 31st December 2011 or for the heat pump hot water system between 1st November 2008 and no later than the 31 December 2011;
2. replace an existing electric storage hot water system and be eligible for at least 20 Renewable Energy Certificates (REC’s) at the time and place of installation;
3. be an owner-occupier of the property; and
4. install the system on the property which is located within the City of Hobart.

For full disclosures on this please visit the following link:

Jarrah Harburn
Solar Broker
Solar Choice Pty Ltd

© 2009 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Jarrah Harburn


  1. I was told by installer about rebate entitlements I am entitled to. He has also asked for centrelink CRN which will mean another $400 rebate. Would this be correct?

    1. Hi Ian,

      We aren’t familiar with that rebate here, and our brokers have a bird’s eye view of the market. Feel free to fill out a Quote Comparison Request form (to the right of this page) and one of them will get in touch with you about your solar energy project. It’s possible that some of the deals we have on offer through our network of installers may even be better than the deal being offered to you with the $400 Centrelink rebate. Our service is cost- and obligation-free to our customers.

  2. Could you please advise me if I am eligable for the solar hot water system for $100. I am a pensioner and I am buying my home. I already have a large volume electric hot water system which can be convereted to solar and I would be very interested in getting the solar hot water.
    I have already insulated my ceiling through the government and wonder if I am eligable for the solar hot water scheme as well.

    Thank you
    Sandi Martin

  3. I have just heard from my plumber who said as of Friday 4rd September 2009 the $1600 rebate will no longer apply to Heat Pump systems they will qualify for a reduced $1000 rebate. I am hoping to afford having a solar system installed to replace an electric storage but cannot wait for the Queensland Government to roll out their scheme. Thank you for your informative guide.

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