How to Get A Solar Contractors License In California

Solar energy has consistently grown 33% in the past thirty years within 1979-2010. It is projected to be over 40% for this decade. With an estimated 32 GW of solar power installed globally, 7.2 GW was installed last year alone, according to John Addison, publisher of the Clean Fleet Report.

Solar energy is becoming more marketable by the day, and now represents a large portion of new construction related jobs. If you are a contractor or interested in becoming a contractor, be a part of this rapidly growing industry by getting your solar contractors license.

The basic steps below highlight how people with solar training can get a solar contractor's license in the state of California. It is important to understand that processes slightly differ from state to state. Thus, Licenses acquired in the State of California may not be recognized in another state. 

Step 1 – Go to State License Board Website

Visit the California State License Board website at cslb.ca.gov.

Step 2 - Confirm License Classification

The classification for a Solar Contractors license is Class "C", which is for specialty contractors.  According to the California State License Board, there are 41 separate "C" license classifications for contractors whose construction work or primary contracting business requires specialized skills, building trades, or crafts. The exact "C" license for solar is C-46. C-46 is the license classification that should be applied for to obtain a solar contractors license.

Step 3 – Be Qualified

Make sure you qualify. The state of California requires journeyman level experience through apprenticeship training or college education, and an actual business entity. Without prior solar training and experience you will not be considered qualified.

Applicants should have at least four years of experience in solar. Nonetheless, the California State License Board may grant up to three years of credit towards the four year requirement for completed education and/or apprenticeship programs in the solar specialty.  Education can include a Bachelors degree, certificate, and credited solar courses. Thus, if you don’t have any prior experience in solar, you may begin by taking solar training.

Step 4 - Thoroughly Complete Application

Complete the appropriate application form and submit it along with a nonrefundable application fee. Application forms must be fully complete! Incomplete applications will be rejected. Wait four to six weeks for your application to be processed. Once processed you will be sent an examination date. In some cases it can take much longer than four to six weeks. Completing and accurately filling out all the requested information within the application form helps reduce the processing time. The application form can be printed at the California State License Board website.

Step 5 - Wait & Prepare

Generally, it takes approximately four to six weeks before your application is processed and a notice is sent to you to appear for examination. Use the waiting period to refresh your knowledge through study tools, or even attending related review courses and additional solar training.

Step 6 - Take the Test

Once approved you should receive your examination date and location. Testing locations are distributed within eight cities. These cities are: San Diego, San Bernardino, Buena Park, Inglewood, Ventura, Oakland, Sacramento and Fresno. You will be assigned to the nearest location of your business address.

If this is your first contractor license examination, you will have to take two exams. The first exam is the general law & business examination and the second will be the trade examination. In this case your trade will be solar. The examinations will each be given two hours and thirty minutes to complete, making it a total of five hours.

Failure to show up will result in a $50 rescheduling fee. You are granted eighteen months after the approval of your application to achieve a passing grade. Within this time period, you can take the exam as many times as necessary until you pass.

Step 7 - Wait for Score

Wait to receive your score. If you failed you are provided with a breakdown of your percentage score for each section of the examination and can reschedule to take the examination again. If you passed, you are simply told you passed in the letter. A certificate and your license number will then be sent to you.

In conclusion, experience plays a major role in qualifying for a Solar Contractors License. If you do not meet the required experience but you're interested in getting a solar contractors License in the state of California, start with a certificate program. There are great renewable energy institutions that offer solar training certification. As mentioned earlier, education in your trade can be credited towards the four years of required experience. Don't waste anymore time, register to a solar training certification program today!

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