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Solar array installed by licensed C46 contractor

How To Get Your C46 Solar Contractors License in California

Discover the steps to obtain your C-46 Solar Contractors License in CA. Our comprehensive guide provides valuable insights & resources to start today.

Does California Require a C46 Solar Contractor License?

Yes, in California, a contractor's license is necessary for bidding or contracting construction work that exceeds $500 in value, encompassing both materials and labor costs. This requirement extends to presenting your contractor's license when advertising construction or home improvement services valued at over $500.

Is it true that I need to be a licensed electrician to install solar systems?

No, this is not entirely accurate. The confusion often arises regarding the installation of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). There has been ongoing discussion and debate about which licensed contractor is authorized to install BESS. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has been examining this issue since 2016, and new information is continuously being considered. For those considering BESS installations, it's advisable to stay updated on any developments from the CSLB.

Alternatively, individuals can pursue both the C10 and C46 classifications, which requires four years of journey-level experience in each classification, thereby ensuring eligibility for a broader range of projects without the complexities associated with licensing restrictions, and avoiding uncertainties surrounding BESS installations.

Who is authorized to install photovoltaic solar energy systems in California?

There are thousands of licensed contractors in California who can legally install photovoltaic solar energy systems because they hold one or more of the following license classifications:

  • "A" - General Engineering contractors are authorized to install solar energy systems.
  • "B" - General Building contractors are authorized to install solar energy systems within the definition of B&P Code section 7057, since a solar energy system constitutes the use of two unrelated building trades or crafts.
  • C4 - Boiler, Hot-Water Heating and Steam Fitting contractors are authorized to perform projects that include solar heating equipment associated with systems authorized by this classification.
  • C10 - Electrical contractors are authorized to perform any solar projects that generate, transmit, transform, or utilize electrical energy in any form for any purpose.
  • C36 – Plumbing contractors are authorized to perform any project using solar equipment to heat water or fluids to a suitable temperature.
  • C46 – Solar contractors install, modify, maintain, and repair thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems. A licensee in this classification shall not undertake or perform building or construction trades, crafts or skills, except when required to install a thermal or photovoltaic solar energy system.
  • C53 – Swimming Pool contractors are authorized to install solar heating in swimming pool projects.

Determining Eligibility to Get Your C46 Contractor License

To obtain a C46 Solar contractor's license in California, you need to meet specific requirements set by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). These requirements include:

  • Be at least 18 years or older. This demonstrates the CSLB’s commitment to entrusting the industry to those who have reached a level of maturity and responsibility.
  • 4 years of journey level experience. When considering this requirement, you must demonstrate four years of journey-level experience within the past 10 years. This experience is typically acquired by working for a licensed contractor, but it can also be a combination of completed apprenticeship programs, education, and fieldwork.
  • SSN or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).
Licensed Solar contractor discussing project with customer.

How to Obtain your California Solar Contractor License

Step 1: Complete the state application.

The state application is a pivotal step in the licensing process. Thoroughly fill out the application, ensuring accuracy to avoid delays. Sign and date it before submitting it to the CSLB along with the required fee and signatures.

Step 2: Seek Professional Assistance (Optional).

If needed, consider seeking assistance from Contractors Intelligence School to ensure your application is completed accurately. The school’s application department can guide you through the process, review your application, and help expedite the licensing process.

Step 3: Follow Up as Needed.

If the CSLB requires any additional information or documentation, they will contact you directly. Respond promptly to any requests to avoid delays.

Step 4: Study for the Tests (Optional).

Enroll in Contractors Intelligence School’s study course to prepare for both the Law & Business exam as well as the C46 Solar trade examination.

Step 5: Schedule and Pass All Required State Examinations.

After your application is accepted, schedule and pass the Law & Business exam and the C46 Solar trade exam with the test center PSI Exams.

Step 6: Complete any final steps outlined by the CSLB.

Follow the CSLB’s instructions and submit all necessary documents, including the initial license fee, contractor's bond or bonds (if applicable), liability insurance (if applicable), livescan fingerprinting, workers' compensation insurance, and completion of an open book asbestos examination.

Be Proactive and Stay Informed

Obtaining your C46 Solar contractor's license is the first step towards actively shaping a sustainable future. By becoming licensed, you're not just entering a thriving industry; you're taking charge of your role in advancing renewable energy solutions. With this license, you'll have the authority and expertise to harness solar power, drive economic growth, and contribute to environmental conservation efforts. Don't miss out on the chance to be at the forefront of innovation and make a tangible impact. Call Contractors Intelligence School at 800-425-7570 today and start building a brighter, greener tomorrow.

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