Renewable Energy Contractors Take Note – Senate Bill 350 is Law


Get ready wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy and transportation electrification contractors! On October 7, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015.” The objectives of the Act are: (1) to increase from 33% to 50% (by December 31, 2030), the procurement of our electricity from renewable sources; and (2) to double the energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas final end uses of retail customers through energy efficiency and conservation. These lofty goals are to be achieved by implementation of the California Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program, a program established in 2003. Notably, the Act includes a legislative finding that “a principal goal of electric and natural gas utilities’ resource planning and investment shall be… to encourage the diversity of energy sources through improvements in energy efficiency, development of renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy, and widespread transportation electrification.” This bill reflects California’s persistence in its efforts to turn to reliance on renewable energy. In effect, this should mean the continued growth in opportunities for contractors working in renewable energy areas.

Beware, however, the California Contractors State License Board has confirmed that only certain contractor classifications are authorized to perform solar projects. In addition to general engineering contractors and general building contractorsC-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-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 thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems”; and C-53 Swimming Pool Contractors “are authorized to include the installation of solar heating in swimming pool projects”. Otherwise, before negotiating or engaging in work, it’s a good practice to confirm that your license classification covers the proposed scope of work. 

Additional Sources:  Senate Bill 350 (De León) (2015); Senate Bill 1078 (Sher) (2003); CSLB, Contractor Classifications Authorized to Perform Solar Projects;