By Stan Krpan PSM, Chief Executive Officer, Solar Victoria

Phasing out gas in favour of electric domestic hot water systems is an essential step in Australia’s pathway to net zero. Not only do electric water heating technologies offer greater efficiency , they also provide significant demand flexibility to better suit renewable generation. However, as this industry grows, it’s important that safety and quality standards for systems and installations are maintained.

Across Victoria, tens of thousands of households are swapping out gas and saving on their energy bills by installing heat pump hot water systems. Every week, more than 700 Victorians apply for Solar Victoria’s $1,000 hot water rebate, which helps cover the upfront cost of installation. In March 2024, we celebrated reaching the milestone of 20,000 hot water systems installed through our Solar Homes Program.

We are excited by the uptake and interest in hot water systems across the state, not only for the benefits for consumers, but also for our growing clean energy industry.

As more and more installers and retailers join the clean energy transition, I am mindful that we need to ensure that the heat pump industry is growing safely, and that system and install quality does not suffer as a result of the industry’s fast paced growth.

Prioritising safety
Since our inception in 2018, Solar Victoria has prioritised safety, making accreditation of installers a mandatory

Solar heat pump hot water system. Image: Douglas Cliff/

requirement. Installer accreditation has been a critical contributor to the success of our programs in setting standards and continuously lifting them.

As part of our commitment to safety and quality, we audit five per cent of all Solar Homes Program installations every year.

While very few hot water installations audited over the last 12 months were found to be unsafe, there are still persistent

issues being detected. Common issues identified relate to inadequate installations, which can ultimately impact the effectiveness or safe functioning of the system.

  • Compliance issues identified in audits include:
  • Inadequate insulation to protect systems from freezing
  • Switchboard wiring
  • Unsafe termination points for pressure relief valves
  • Inappropriately secured water tanks

Confidence in heat pumps as a newer technology and in this growing industry will require a collective effort to ensure safety, quality and standards are maintained. We have been working with retailers and providers to better understand the compliance issues and risks associated with heat pumps.

Improving compliance through collaboration
We have joined forces with our fellow Victorian regulators and agencies to improve compliance of heat pump hot water systems installations across the state.

Over the past few months, Solar Victoria has been working with Essential Services Commission, the Victorian Building Authority, Energy Safe Victoria and WorkSafe Victoria on a Heat Pump Hot Water Systems Compliance Plan.

With the respective regulators, we will have joint inspections and compliance activities to ensure heat pump hot water systems are being installed safely and without fault. We will continue to share information to ensure compliance and higher standards in the growing heat pump market.

An important aspect of this plan is engaging with our providers, installers and the broader industry to work collaboratively on raising compliance. We will provide updated resources to support compliance and continue to provide training to ensure demands can be met safely.

The Victorian Government provides a wide range of support to installers and retailers to assist in maintaining safety standards, to help customers identify reputable, government-approved suppliers. We will continue working with industry groups and representatives on education, guidance and standards.

As we move closer to Victoria being net zero, we need to ensure that all heat pump hot water systems are installed in line with industry and safety standards. This is critical as we continue to support Victorian households to effectively electrify their homes and reduce their emissions.

Collectively we can make efforts to continuously raise the bar in the interests of our community.

Featured image: ChameleonsEye/

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