Solar in NV & CA, HIC Salesperson rules & Misleading ‘Waiver’ Offers

Whether in Nevada or California a solar contractor can’t light up your life without the proper license, but which one is right for the job? We offer clarification on the rules for selling home improvements in California. Another contractor gives us the ‘key’ to a slim chance on ‘locking down’ an exam waiver…

Q:  We’re solar contractors in NV and have a question on the best classification to apply for in CA.  We called the Contractors Board in Sacramento and they told us your state has a “C-46” (Solar) license.  We called back a second time and the new person who answered said we could get the “C-46” or an electrical license “C-10.”  We found you on the Internet and you look to have a lot of experience in these issues.  In your opinion, which license would be best?


A:  In order to shed some ‘light’ on this topic, I am sending you an “Industry Bulletin” from 2010.  The CSLB published this a few years ago to respond to questions regarding which classifications are authorized to perform solar projects.  This “Fact Sheet” lists 7 different classifications that can properly perform some or all aspects of solar energy projects.


The “C-46” is a broad classification, which allows contractors to “install, modify, maintain, and repair thermal and photovoltaic solar systems”.   “C-10” contractors are “authorized to perform any solar projects which generate, transmit, transform or utilize electrical energy in any form for any purpose”.  “A” (General Engineering) and “B” (General Building) contractors are also authorized to install solar energy systems.


The real question is what classification you can qualify for.  In addition, depending on the license classification you hold in NV, you may be eligible to secure a waiver of the trade test.  I hope this information helps.  Call us if you have any further questions.


Q:  I have a question and my business partner referred me to your company.  What is California’s rule for home improvement salesman? Some places I’ve worked treat them as independent contractors and others treat them as employees.


A:  In CA, a Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS) is a person employed by a licensed contractor to solicit, sell, negotiate, or execute home improvement contracts.  A Home Improvement Salesperson can work for a number of contractors and sell a variety of goods and services, but must be registered with the CSLB separately for each contractor for which he/she is employed.


Q:  I got a solicitation in the mail (not from your company) stating that the CSLB allows individuals to request a waiver of the exams if they have been an Officer of the corporation or a “key employee” for at least five years.  Do you know if this is true and what is a “key” employee?

A:  That is true under certain circumstances.  The CSLB only allows this waiver request for individuals seeking to replace the Qualifying individual on an existing license, not for the purposes of obtaining a new license.   According to B&P code 7065.1(c), in order to qualify for this waiver the following conditions must exist:

1.     For five of the seven years immediately preceding the application for replacing the Qualifier, the corporation or LLC must have continually employed the new Qualifying individual in a supervisory capacity in the same classification(s) being applied for.

2.     For five of seven years immediately preceding the application, the corporation or LLC has held an active license in good standing in the same classification(s) being applied for.

3.     The corporation or LLC has not requested a waiver under this subdivision within the past five years.

As far as what it meant by “key employee”, I believe the company that you received the solicitation from is referring to item 1.