Is there a Government Rebate for Solar Hot Water Systems?

Fast read

Governments and utilities in Australia offer various rebates and incentives to promote energy-efficient hot water systems. The Federal Government provides rebates through the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), while states like Victoria, and New South Wales (NSW), offer their own additional rebate programs.

These rebates can cover a portion of the installation cost or provide subsidies for specific types of systems. Additionally, utility companies from time to time may offer their own rebates or discounts.

Staying updated on the availability and requirements of these programs is important, as they may change over time. Seeking advice from local suppliers or installers is recommended to explore the available options and make informed decisions to save you money.

Do new solar hot water system rebates exist?  

The Australian Federal Government has put into place several rebates designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources, one of which is the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). In operation since 2017, this hot water system rebate targets explicitly installing approved solar or heat pump water heaters.

solar hot water tank being worked on

What hot water heater products are eligible?

When you purchase and install a solar water heater or heat pump, you earn a certain number of STCs as the owner. You can redeem the dollar equivalent value of these certificates at the point of sale by assigning them to an approved Renewable Energy Certificate Trader. This reduces the system’s upfront cost significantly and incentivises homeowners to invest in these renewable energy hot water-producing technologies.

On the other hand, the owner also has the option to trade these STCs on the open market. Similar to shares in a stock market, the value of STCs fluctuates based on demand and supply dynamics. For instance, when demand is high, and supply is low, the value of each STC increases.

The STC system does have certain restrictions and requirements. One is, that only systems installed by Clean Energy Council-accredited installers and those listed on the Register of Solar Water Heaters can generate STCs. The number of certificates each system can create depends on the amount of renewable electricity it generates or displaces. This is influenced by factors like the system’s size, technology and location.

hand holding Australian money from solar hot water rebate

New South Wales

The government of New South Wales (NSW) has a cash-back plan for homes that want to swap their old hot water system for one that saves more energy.

Changing to a hot water system that uses less energy (like heat pumps or solar hot water systems) can lower the amount of energy and water your home uses. This means you could pay less for your electricity bills over time. Plus, this swap can greatly lessen the harm your home does to the environment, so it’s a win for both your pocket and the planet.

The total amount you end up paying will depend on a few things. These include the model you pick, the type of system you’re using now, and how complicated the installation is. There might also be extra costs for things like the installer’s travel time and transport, any extra pipes, and so on.

Here’s how to swap your hot water system rebate

  1. Contact approved suppliers: Speak with suppliers who are allowed under the scheme. This can make sure you get the best deal and system for what you need.
  2. Choose the right hot water system: Depending on your home’s specific setup and what you need, your supplier can help you find the right energy-saving hot water system.
  3. Sign the form: Pick your preferred supplier who is approved under the scheme and sign the form they give you.
  4. Installation: The supplier will send a qualified electrician and plumber to put in your new hot water system.
  5. Get rid of the old system: The electrician or plumber will take away and recycle your old hot water system and any other equipment that’s replaced.

Approved suppliers

You can find a list of approved suppliers in the ‘Who can help with energy upgrades’ section on the relevant government website” part of the government website. Always check if the supplier works in your area before moving ahead. This will make sure you can get help if you need it after the installation.

Electric hot water tank on the road got by solar hot water system rebate


The Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program is an initiative by the Victorian State Government designed to encourage households to replace inefficient electric storage, gas storage, or gas instantaneous hot water systems. The goal is to reduce fossil fuel energy consumption, which in turn can lead to cost savings on energy bills and help combat climate change.

Eligibility for the program is as follows:

  1. The participant must be from a Victorian household.
  2. The current system should be an inefficient electric water heater or gas water heater.
  3. Participation is voluntary.

Even households in private rental properties are eligible for this discount in Victoria

Landlords and tenants should collaborate on these upgrades because the landlord gains a new environmentally friendly HW unit, and the tenant experiences lower electricity bills.

Selecting a hot water system suitable for your household’s size is essential to avoid running out of hot water. The Victorian Government provides guidelines to assist in selecting the appropriate system, and you can check if your preferred HW system is eligible here.

Discount on installation of hot water systems

  1. Install an approved product: The product installed should be from the approved product list, which can include a water heater – heat pump or a water heater – electric boosted solar. Researching these products for their quality and suitability is advisable.
  2. Work with an accredited provider: Collaborate with a provider accredited under the VEU program. These providers may offer different products, services, expertise, and costs, so it’s recommended to obtain quotes from several to find the best deal. They will handle the discount process and guide you through the necessary steps.
  3. Decommission the inefficient system: The old, inefficient electric or gas hot water system must be decommissioned.

Accredited providers play a critical role in the VEU program. They may use their own tradesperson or collaborate with one of your choosing. They will explain the program steps, the types of products that qualify for a discount, and the qualifications required by the person installing the system.

Eligibility requirements for solar hot water system rebates:

  • You must be replacing an existing hot water system that is at least 3 years old (since you bought it)
  • Own or currency occupy a home valued under $3 million
  • Install a system on the Clean Energy Regulator’s Register of solar water heaters
  • Total household income must be less than $180,000 before tax per annum
  • Be a Victorian resident

solar hot water system


Queensland was one of the early adopters of solar energy in Australia, with various initiatives and rebates to encourage residents to switch to renewable energy sources.

One of these programs was the Queensland Government solar hot water system rebate, which provided residents with up to $1,000 in rebates for installing solar hot water heating systems. However, this specific rebate program expired over one decade ago in July 2012.

Interest-free loans

Despite the conclusion of the solar hot water system debate, Queensland residents can still benefit from the Federal Government’s support. As well as a minor form of State Government support.

For instance, the state offers interest-free loans for the purchase of solar hot water systems. This financial incentive is a small but sometimes useful advantage for residents considering switching to a solar hot water system. These interest-free loans can make the initial purchase and installation of a solar hot water system a little more affordable.

man having a shower

South Australia

The South Australian State Government has precise rules as to what water heater can be installed – if you build a new home or replace an existing water heater. They can be found here.

The Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS), previously named the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES), represents a South Australian initiative. Its goal is to reduce energy consumption by promoting the adoption of energy-efficient appliances in households and businesses through State support.

How the process works:

  1. Start by finding a hot water system that qualifies for the REPS rebate. This will typically be a system that is deemed energy-efficient and is likely to include solar hot water systems, heat pump water systems, and possibly high-efficiency gas systems. The specific systems that qualify can change, so it’s important to check the current list of eligible products.
  2. Obtain a quote: The next step is to obtain a quote for the system and installation. Some companies might include the point-of-sale discount in this quote, making it easier for you to understand the final price you’ll need to pay.
  3. Install the system: Once you choose your system and accept the quote, a licensed professional must perform the installation for it to qualify for the rebate.
  4. Claim the rebate: In most cases, the company that provides your system will handle the rebate process. They will include the solar hot water rebate as a point-of-sale discount, which means they will subtract it from the total price at the time of purchase. This makes the process simple and straightforward for the consumer.

Not all SA hot water companies provide a solar hot water rebate

Important to note that not all SA hot water companies participate in the REPS scheme. So you should confirm with your supplier that they can process the rebate on your behalf.

To qualify for the solar hot water rebate one must:

  • Be a South Australian resident
  • Own the property where the hot water system will be installed (Note: Shame as renters deserve lower electricity bills too)
  • Replace an existing system that is at least 7 years old.

water tap running

Western Australia

Currently, there are no State Government rebates available in Western Australia for the replacement of a hot water system with more efficient technology, other than the Federal Rebate, which everyone can get.


Not much is happening here, unfortunately. Aurora Energy, together with the Tasmanian Government, set up the Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (TEELS). This helps homeowners and businesses get solar hot water systems by giving them interest-free loans.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory started their clever energy cash-back plan called the Smart Energy Grants program in 2018, and now it’s worth around $4 million. The plan gives half the cost back for improvements that save energy at home. This includes solar hot water systems.

ACT – Canberra

In Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), there are several deals for residents who want to swap or get new hot water systems, especially ones that save energy or use clean energy sources.

  • Next Generation Energy Storage Program: With this plan, ACT households can get help to put a battery storage unit in their homes. While this isn’t a cash-back deal for hot water, a battery storage system can be incredibly useful with a solar hot water system. It stores any extra solar power you have, so you can heat your water even when there’s no sun.
  • ACT Smart Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme: Under this plan, energy companies that have to take part provide a range of services to homes and small businesses. This is to help them save energy and reduce how much energy they use and how many greenhouse gases they produce. The services include putting in appliances and equipment that save energy, which might include energy-saving hot water systems.
  • The Sustainable Home Interest-free Loan: The ACT government gives interest-free loans up to $15,000 for homes that qualify. This helps them improve their energy efficiency, including getting efficient hot water systems.
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