The Federal Government’s announcement of an increase in solar hot water rebates and the removal of the means test have led to a massive surge in inquiries for solar hot water systems in city and country areas, leading to a surge in demand for skilled tradesmen and labourers.

The solar hot water industry estimates that more than 50% of Australia’s eight million homes are eligible for either the $1,600 Federal Solar Hot Water Rebate or Insulation Rebate. It also estimates that 2.7 million homes are uninsulated, while a further 1.4 million homes have traditional electric storage systems eligible to be replaced with environmentally friendly solar water heaters.

In New South Wales, for example, where additional rebates also apply for the replacement of conventional electric systems with environmentally friendly hot water systems, the purchase could be free for most homeowners.

Requiring triple the labour time to install relative to conventional electric water heaters, the solar hot water industry is urgently seeking workers to fulfil the demand – including qualified plumbers and electricians, factory jobs in the solar industry and associated component suppliers.

Environmentally friendly hot water systems, like the 2008 Australian Design Mark awarded Airoheat heat pump water heater, easily replaces a standard storage electric system, while at the same time saving around 70% of a homeowner’s hot water energy costs. Each system reduces greenhouse gas emissions by several tonnes per year.

If all 4 million eligible homes installed an environmentally friendly hot water system, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by around 12 million tonnes per year.

According to Les Patterson, General Manager, Dux Hot Water , the increase in rebates is the best thing that has happened to secure Australian manufacturing jobs and ensure a low carbon future. The enhanced solar hot water rebate will create countless new manufacturing and installation jobs due to increased demand. It will also support the jobs of tradespeople at a critical time – particularly those who have been recently displaced from mines and other employment.

The hot water industry website has also been inundated with enquiries from consumers and plumbers looking for simplified explanations of all current federal and state rebates and Renewable Energy Certificate (RECs) rebates. This comprehensive website effectively calculates the total rebates available, and explains the rebates available for every eligible hot water system.