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Contractors State License Board Offers Fast Facts on Solar Projects

Please Note: The information in this Industry Bulletin is no longer accurate. Please view the updated Industry Bulletin, dated 6/30/10, to view the correct information.

SACRAMENTO -The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has issued a new fact sheet that provides guidelines about the contractor license categories that are authorized to perform work on solar energy projects.

As the popularity of alternative energy projects heats up, CSLB hopes to avoid any confusion among contractors seeking to venture into these emerging technologies. The following Fast Facts are available on the CSLB Web site at in the "Educational Materials" section:

Renewable energy sources and uses are becoming a California priority. In 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed several pieces of legislation that encouraged solar energy use and incentives. This fact sheet identifies all license classifications issued by the Contractors State License Board that are qualified to perform solar projects. Any license classification not listed below does not have authorization to perform solar construction or installation.

"A" - General Engineering contractors are authorized to perform active solar energy projects.

"B"- General Building contractors are authorized to perform active solar energy projects within the definition of B&P Code section 7057, since an active solar energy system constitutes the use of two unrelated building trades or crafts as required by section 7057.

Specialty Classifications

C-4 - Boiler, Hot-Water Heating and Steam Fitting contractors are authorized to perform projects including solar heating equipment associated with systems authorized by this classification.

C-10 - Electrical contractors are authorized to perform any solar projects which generate, transmit, transform or utilize electrical energy in any form for any purpose.

C- 20 - Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning contractors are authorized to perform any warm-air heating, ventilation and air-conditioning project which utilizes solar energy.

C-36 - Plumbing contractors are authorized to perform any project using solar equipment to heat water or fluids to a suitable temperature.

C-46 - Solar contractors are authorized to install, modify, maintain, and repair, active solar systems. Active solar systems include, but are not limited to, the collection of solar energy and transfer of thermal energy to provide electricity and/or heating and cooling of air or water. Active energy solar systems include, but are not limited to, forced air systems, forced circulation water systems, thermosiphon systems, integral collector/storage systems, radiant systems, evaporative cooling systems with collectors, regenerative rockbed cooling systems, photovoltaic cells, and solar assisted absorption cooling systems. A licensee classified as a C-46 shall not undertake or perform building or construction trades, crafts or skills, except when required to install an active solar energy system.

C-53 - Swimming Pool contractors are authorized to include the installation of solar heating in swimming pool projects.

C-61/D-35 - Swimming Pool and Spa Maintenance contractors are authorized to install, replace or repair an existing swimming pool solar heating system, which includes installation, replacement or repair of pool motors, pumps, filters, gas heaters and any above-ground piping in connection with pools. This classification also includes electrical switches, breakers, pool lights, diving boards, and existing solar systems that heat pools. These contractors are in a limited specialty contractor classification and shall confine activities as a contractor to the fields defined in classification C-61/D-35.

In 2009, CSLB marks its 80th anniversary of protecting consumers by regulating California's construction industry. Today CSLB licenses about 315,000 contractors. In any given year, complaints are filed against only 3% of licensed contractors. In fiscal year 2007-08, the CSLB helped consumers recover $35.2 million in ordered restitution. Learn more about CSLB by visiting or


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