Solar Rules, Consumer Disclosures and Contractor Requirements

The closer you are the easier to see. As my phone has blown up with inquiries revolving around a new consumer protection regulation on solar energy, let’s break it down direct from CSLB. Since going to the source close by my office in Sacramento is easier for me than all of you, here’s the official word…

The Contractors State License Board is putting the industry on notice that a new Solar Energy System Disclosure document is go!

What does that mean for those contractors installing residential solar systems?

Assembly Bill 1070, Stats of 2017, Ch 662 established Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 7169. This new law requires the CSLB, in collaboration with the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), to develop and make a solar energy system disclosure document available on its website by July 1, 2018.  The disclosure document must be provided to consumers prior to the completion of a sale, financing or lease of a system. CSLB posted online a proposed one-page Solar Energy System Disclosure Document on June 29, 2018 and indicated the document was pending PUC approval.

At its August 23, 2018 meeting, the PUC approved Final Resolution M-4836 to endorse PUC staff’s collaboration with CSLB to draft consumer disclosures required by AB 1070 and approved the Solar Energy System Disclosure Document posted on the CSLB’s website.

Contractors will be required to comply with this new requirement beginning January 1, 2019. Mark your calendars!

 Here’s the ‘nitty-gritty’ need to know. Some of the requirements of BPC section 7169 include:

·      Solar energy system companies must provide the Solar Energy System Disclosure Document to consumers printed in boldface 16-point font on either the front or cover page of every solar energy contract prior to completing a sale, financing, or lease of a solar energy system to be installed on a residential building.

·      The disclosure document and the contract must be written in the same language principally used in the oral sales presentation or the marketing materials provided to the consumer. English and Spanish versions of the disclosure document are available on CSLB’s website. The contractor must translate the document into other languages, as necessary.

·      If the sale of the solar energy system utilizes Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, the PACE Financing Estimate and Disclosure form may be used in place of the new solar energy system disclosure document. The PACE form is available on the California Legislative Information website and State Assembly website.

PACE contractors must still comply with the current home improvement disclosure requirements of the Contractors State License Law.

While it has been long road from AB 1070 to now, stay tuned it’s not over yet. BPC §7169 also contains provisions for the development of further disclosure content for residential solar energy systems contracts. To that end, CSLB hosted a meeting of stakeholders in August to seek industry and consumer input on the development of further disclosure content.

CSLB hopes the requirement to include the Solar Energy System Disclosure Document in the contract for residential solar energy systems will reduce misunderstandings between contractors and consumers and help our licensees improve their relationships with customers. So, don’t ‘shine’ it, and keep your eye on this column for future developments.