Solar Electric

Contractors are finding one ‘bright’ spot in the growing demand for ‘green’ energy. Another electrical contractor feels they are getting ‘burned’ by misinterpretation of the license rules. I will ‘bond’ with another contractor before helping a crane operator understand when a license is required to work in California…

Q: Can a contractor perform solar work under an “A” license?

A: Yes! In fact the CSLB just issued an advisory that provides guidelines about the contractor license categories that are allowed to perform work on solar energy. As it relates to the General Engineering, ““A” contractors are authorized to perform active solar energy projects.”

Q: I intend on bidding a project for a public agency that involves installing, servicing and maintaining low voltage energy systems. I hold a “C-10” (Electrical) but am being told I need a “C-7” (Low Voltage) classification. This is confusing since I thought the “C-10” could perform “C-7” work? The agency is pointing to the words “service and maintains” in the “C-7”, which is not in the “C-10” definition. I would appreciate your expert opinion.

A: It appears the public agency is misreading one or both classifications. You are correct, the “C-10” can perform all work included in the “C-7” classification – including maintaining and servicing electrical systems. The key word is “electrical”. While the words “maintain and service” do not appear, it is implied. Since a “C-10” can place, install, erect or connect any electrical wires, fixtures, apparatus, etc. they can also service and maintain said connection or placement.

A further reading of the “C-10” includes the words: “ which generate, transmit, transform or utilize electrical energy IN ANY FORM OR FOR ANY PURPOSE (emphasis added)”. The public agency should ask themselves this question: If a “C-10” cannot repair faulty electrical wiring, then which license class would one use? This being said, as I have written in past columns, the public awarding authority has the final say in which classification they will allow to bid.

Q: I have a company applying for membership in our association. They are a crane service but have indicated that since their cranes and operators are certified a license is unnecessary. Is there any license required for this type of company?

A: I am unsure how or why the certification of cranes or their operators would overrule the need for a contractor’s license. In most instances, the “C61”/”D-21” (Machinery and Pumps) class would be required since this includes the installation, removal, modification or repair of cranes. I hope this helps.

Q: One of your prior columns in our membership publication was of particular interest. It involved a contractor that had a suspended sole owner license since his bond had lapsed. You stated that this would in no way impact his status as the RMO on his employer’s corporate license. I have a similar situation except one of my former employees has come back to work for me and holds a “C-54” (Tile) license. I would like to add him as a Responsible Managing Employee (RME) to my existing “B” but want to know if it makes any difference if his license is expired. Thank you for writing this column. I always look forward to reading it.

A: I am glad you enjoy reading my column and are able to use this information to help your business. As with the suspended license, there is no restriction on adding him as RME with an expired license. From your fax, it appears his license only recently expired due to the economy so you should have no problem adding this class to your existing General “B” license.