Solar Contractor Company License
Learn how to obtain and renew solar contractor company licenses in the United States.
What Does a Solar Contractor Do?
A solar contractor company installs, modifies, maintains, and repairs solar energy systems. Depending on your interest, there are a number of routes you can take when choosing your business type. The most common types of solar contractor companies include the following:
- Solar equipment seller. Solar equipment includes solar panels, replacement batteries, backpack panels, phone chargers, and other solar power items.
- Solar equipment distributor. Solar distributors work with manufacturers to find distribution channels for new and existing products.
- Solar equipment installer. Installers work with homeowners and other types of consumers to install solar panels, solar water heaters, pool heaters, and ancillary solar needs. If you plan to become an installer, you will need to learn how to get a solar contractor license.
- Solar equipment servicer. Once solar products have been installed, they need to be regularly serviced to ensure they continue to function correctly. Maintenance jobs include cleaning panels, assessing battery function, and checking wiring.
No matter what type of business you run, it is crucial to understand state and local laws regarding business registration and solar licensing to ensure you maintain compliance and can continue to operate your business without interruption.
Running a Solar Contractor Company
In order to maintain consumer safety and protect the reputation of the solar industry, the solar contractor industry is heavily regulated at state and local levels. Every authority has unique licensing laws and application requirements. In general, you should take the following steps:
- Check with your state to determine the business application and licensing process.
- Investigate industry-specific certification requirements.
- Choose and establish your business entity.
- Register with the Secretary of State and obtain a federal tax identification number from the IRS.
- Obtain the proper types of insurance, including general liability, commercial auto coverage, and workers’ compensation—if you plan to hire full-time employees.
If you are concerned about managing the business registration process on your own, you can seek guidance from the business licensing experts at Harbor Compliance. With our professional licensing services, we offer full support through all of the stages of the corporate life cycle and can provide access to expert software insights. We make preparing and filing applications easy and handle communication with government agencies on your behalf. With our software, you can track your registration status, license numbers, filing history, fees, and renewals 24/7.
How to Get a Solar Contractor License
Solar contractor licensing started in the 1980s—the same time incentive programs for solar water heating were introduced. State regulations and licensing requirements continue to evolve as the industry grows.
Some states require solar contractors to obtain specialized solar licensing, while others allow solar installers to operate under a general electrical or plumbing license, or a general contractor license. Whether you are entering the field or looking to expand your solar business into new states, it is critical to understand the differences in licensing requirements and your obligations.
It is essential to verify the licensure process in your state to ensure you are prepared every step of the way. You will likely need to gather all relevant documentation, including financial statements, proof of a commercial activity license, a business plan, and more. You will also need to appoint a registered agent to receive notices of lawsuits and other legal or government notices. To manage those tasks more efficiently, Harbor Compliance offers licensing management software and managed services to help simplify the application process, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running your business.
Solar Professional Certification
In addition to meeting state licensure requirements, solar installers have the option to obtain certification. Certifications are provided by private organizations of trade-specific professionals who identify tasks and duties that best represent a competent professional in the given industry.
Certification not only shows competence for specific jobs, but it is also typically transferable across states, employers, and even countries. For states without licensing requirements, certifications offer a baseline of quality.
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a nationally recognized, independent, and voluntary certification program for photovoltaic (PV) and solar-heating systems installers. To become NABCEP-certified, installers are required to have a certain amount of work experience in the solar industry and must document all training and installations. Installers must also pass an exam, sign a code of ethics, and take continuing education courses every three years to recertify.
Maintenance and Renewal
Most states and cities require licenses to be renewed on an annual or biennial basis. Renewal ensures your business complies with all state and local regulations. Renewal fees vary, so it is a good idea to be aware of what you may owe to keep your business in good standing.
If you are currently operating a solar contractor company and are looking to outsource your maintenance and renewal duties, Harbor Compliance can help. We are available to review your business status, ensure you can operate uninterrupted, and explain what steps you need to take in order to ensure you remain compliant with state and federal regulations.
Explore Licensing by State
Click on a link below to view licensing information in your state.
Meeting the solar contractor company license requirements is not always an easy process. Fortunately, Harbor Compliance’s License Manager helps firms maintain their licenses by automating repetitive tasks such as tracking renewals and compliance deadlines. Through License Manager, you can also access LicenseIQ™ – our extensive, proprietary database of nationwide licensing requirements – to research the requirements for the states in which you work. Contact out licensing experts today to learn more.
Associated General Contractors of America
Professional association providing advocacy and organization for construction firms and workers.
National Association of Home Builders
National association for the promotion of the housing industry.
National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies
National organization that represents and promotes the interests of state level contractor licensing agencies.