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A Guide to Solar Licensing Requirements by State for Contractors

Updated: May 10

solar licensing requirements by state

Navigating the maze of licensing requirements for solar contractors can be complex, as each state sets its own contractor licensing standards. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems must adhere to the National Electrical Code (NEC), so a solid foundation in electrical knowledge is essential for solar installers. 

If your solar installation company operates in numerous states, it’s essential to have the proper solar contractor licenses to work legally in the given state. Read on to learn about the solar licensing requirements in some of the most popular solar states and the ideal locations for installing solar PV systems.

Arizona Solar Contractor Licenses

solar license Arizona

In Arizona, photovoltaic (PV) installers must possess an electrician's license, specifically the A-17, C11, L11, or K11 license. Solar contractors in Arizona must be properly licensed to install, repair, or service a solar PV system. The licensing body responsible for overseeing solar contractor licensing requirements in Arizona is the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

Top City for Solar in Arizona

Phoenix shines brightly as the leading city on the 2024 Best Cities for Solar Energy list by Roof Gnome, aptly living up to its moniker as the "Valley of the Sun." Joining Phoenix in the solar spotlight are Scottsdale, Mesa, Tucson, Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Glendale, and Peoria, all claiming spots in the top 20 list.

California Solar Licensing Requirements

solar contractor license california

In California, solar PV installers need a C-46 license specifically designed for solar contractors. This solar license authorizes contractors to install, modify, and maintain solar systems, ensuring compliance with California solar regulations and PV industry standards. 

To qualify for the C-46 license, applicants must meet CSLB's experience requirements, which may include a mix of education, on-the-job experience, and apprenticeship. Additionally, passing a CSLB-administered licensing examination, which assesses knowledge of pertinent laws, regulations, and industry practices, is usually required.  The licenses for solar contractors are issued by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB).

California Cities With the Most New Solar Installations

While California maintains its position as the national leader in solar energy utilization, specific cities are spearheading the movement, as indicated by the 2024 Best Cities for Solar Energy list. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Fresno, Orange, Irvine, Santa Ana, Bakersfield, and Anaheim, California, stand out among the top 30. However, changes to net metering policies under NEM 3.0 are negatively impacting the California solar market.

Florida Solar Contractor Licenses

solar contractor license florida

Florida has solar installation license requirements for contractors. In Florida, solar PV contractors must hold one of the following licenses:

  • Certified Solar Contractor License (CVC): This is a certified solar contractor license that covers residential and commercial solar water heating, solar pool heating, and photovoltaic (solar electric, or PV) systems.

  • Certified Electrical Contractor License (EC): Electrical contractors in Florida are also eligible to perform solar PV installations, as the electrical work is often a critical component of solar panel installation and requires an EC license. However, they may need to subcontract roofing work to a licensed solar contractor if required by the local building department.

All contractor licenses in Florida require four years of field experience, including one year of supervisory experience. However, up to three years of college experience may be counted as experience. Obtaining a solar contractor license also requires passing a solar PV trade exam and a Business and Financial Management exam. The Florida solar contractor licensing bodies are the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) and the Electrical Contractor’s Licensing Board.

Cities in Florida With the Shortest Solar Payback Period

Largo, Clearwater, Kissimmee, Leesburg, Ocala, Orlando, Tampa, Brandon, Panama City, and Bonita Springs all have solar payback periods between 6.4 and 8.3 years, according to MarketWatch. Meanwhile, Jacksonville, Cape Coral, Orlando, Port St. Lucie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, and Boca Raton, Florida are on the top 75 list of the 2024 Best Cities for Solar Energy. 

solar licenses

Georgia Solar Licenses 

solar contractor license georgia

Georgia doesn't have a specific state-level license to install solar panels. However, contractors working on solar projects in Georgia typically need to hold a valid contractor's license issued by the Georgia State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors.

Ideal Locations in Georgia for Solar Panels

Some of the best cities in Georgia for solar installations are Augusta, Columbus, Warner Robins, Athens, Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, and Roswell, according to a study by Roof Gnome.

Illinois Solar Installation Contractor License Requirements

solar contractor license Illinois

Illinois does not have a specific state-level license solely dedicated to solar contractors. However, contractors working on solar PV projects in Illinois typically need to hold a valid contractor's license issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

To become a licensed contractor in Illinois, individuals must meet the experience requirements set by the IDFPR, which may include a combination of education, on-the-job experience, and/or apprenticeship. They must pass a licensing exam evaluating knowledge of relevant laws, regulations, and industry practices. Also, they must submit proof of liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance (if applicable).

Best Cities in Illinois for Solar Panels

Chicago secures the 48th spot on the Best Cities for Solar Energy list, while Naperville, Schaumburg, Cicero, Rockford, Bolingbrook, and Evanston, Illinois trail further down the rankings.

Nevada Solar Contractor Licences

solar license Nevada C-2g

In Nevada, solar energy contractors are required to be licensed by the Nevada State Contractors Board. Licensing for PV work falls under Classification C-2 of electrical contracting, specifically subclassification C-2g for photovoltaics. This classification encompasses the installation, alteration, and repair of photovoltaic cells, batteries, and inverters used in converting solar energy into electricity, excluding work beyond the service panel.

Examinations for solar contractor licenses in Nevada assess knowledge consistent with guidelines, standards, and training recommended by organizations such as the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), or other nationally recognized entities involved in improving the quality of services provided by solar PV installers.

Best City for Solar Power in Nevada

Las Vegas ranks 2 on the top cities for solar power list, with Henderson, North Las Vegas, Reno, and Sparks, Nevada trailing behind.  

New Jersey Solar Power Licenses for Contractors

solar contractor license new jersey

Solar contractors in New Jersey must meet certain licensing requirements. To install solar photovoltaic systems in the state, contractors must hold a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) registration. This registration ensures that contractors meet the necessary standards to carry out solar installations in residential properties.

In addition to the HIC registration, solar contractors may also need to obtain an Electrical Contractor License. This license is issued by the New Jersey Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors and is required for contractors who perform electrical work as part of their solar installations.

Best Cities for Solar Power in New Jersey

Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Paterson, Clifton, and Trenton are the best cities for solar panels in New Jersey, but they all rank lower on the top solar cities list. 

New York Solar PV Licenses

Although New York State doesn’t have a solar license, some Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) require solar contractors to have an electrical or home improvement license. Most AHJs all have reciprocal agreements and recognize contractor licenses from other jurisdictions. However, the contractor licensing requirements vary by the county.  

In New York City, solar PV contractors are required to have an electrical permit issued to an NYC-licensed Master Electrician and a construction work permit issued to an NYC General Contractor. 

Best Locations for Solar Projects in New York

New York City ranks 13 on the 2024 list of best cities for solar energy, with Yonkers, Buffalo, New Rochelle, Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester securing spots further down the list. 

North Carolina Solar Installer Licenses

solar license North Carolina

NCGS 87-43 requires that people who install, repair, or maintain solar systems are licensed electrical contractors. The State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors oversees licensing requirements for solar contractors in North Carolina. 

Best Cities in North Carolina for Solar Panel Installation

With an excellent solar resource, numerous cities are well suited for solar energy systems. Charlotte, Fayetteville, High Point, Wilmington, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Gastonia, Concord, Cary, Durham, and Asheville, North Carolina, are all among the top cities for solar.  

Texas Solar Licenses

solar license Texas

In Texas, solar PV contractors must hold a Texas Electrical Contractor license issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and employ Texas-licensed electricians. However, a company can sell a solar panel system without holding an electrical license, as contractor licensing requirements only apply to installations, repairs, and other alterations to the system itself.

Ideal Cities in Texas for Solar Energy Systems

Texas boasts abundant solar resources, making numerous locations across the state ideal for solar panels. Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso rank among the top ten cities for solar energy. Following closely are Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, Corpus Christi, Garland, Plano, Abilene, and Tyler, Texas, further demonstrating the widespread potential for solar energy adoption in the state.

Virginia Licenses to Install Solar Panels

solar license Virginia

The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation offers a specialty known as Alternative Energy Systems (AES). Virginia solar contractors seeking this specialty on their license must pass a special exam. Licensed contractors of Class A, B, or C are eligible to declare the AES specialty. 

Alternative energy system contracting involves installing, repairing, or improving alternative energy generation systems and associated equipment from the customer's electric meter. However, solar systems producing over 100 kW require contractors to hold the highway/heavy classification rather than the alternative energy specialty.

Top Cities for Solar Panels in Virginia

Some of the best locations for solar installations in Virginia include Virginia Beach, Roanoke, Chesapeake, Richmond, Norfolk, Hampton, Lynchburg, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Newport News, according to Roof Gnome.

FAQs on Solar Licenses for Contractors

Read on to learn answers to many of your questions about solar contractor licenses.

What states have solar contractor licenses?

Although most states require solar installers to be licensed as electrical or general contractors, some states specifically have solar PV contractor licenses. These states include Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, and Nevada. Obtaining a solar license typically involves a certain amount of hands-on experience and passing a written exam, but the requirements vary by state. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) maintains a database on solar contractor requirements by state.

Do I need a specific license to install solar systems?

Solar contractor licensing requirements may vary by state. Some states may have specific licenses for residential and commercial solar installations, while others may require an electrical or contractor license.

How do I qualify for a solar contractor license?

The qualifications for a solar contractor license typically include meeting certain education or training requirements, having a certain amount of work experience, and passing a licensing examination. Specific requirements vary by state.

Meeting Solar Contractor Licensing Requirements

Meeting those solar contractor licensing requirements isn't just a formality. It's the law. Showing you're properly licensed to install solar panels in your state means you're serious about doing things right, ensuring safety, and providing quality service.

Another way to provide excellent service to customers is to use GreenLancer solar design and engineering services. Our permit-ready solar plan sets make it easier to commission PV projects quickly and easily.

Complete the form below to learn about using GreenLancer solar design services.


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