BESS-Battery Energy Storage Systems

To paraphrase, ‘it was the BESS of times, and the worst of times.’ After six hours in the chair, I can ‘put to rest’ any ideas that a CSLB meeting leaves you ‘bored’. Big news for contractors in the latest Contractor’s State License Board meet up…

We have received many calls following the most recent CSLB meeting which was held to put to rest the question of the proper classification needed to install Battery Energy Storage Systems, which have become increasingly more essential with the popularity of electric cars and the demand for solar energy systems.

To summarize the outcome of the meeting, the CSLB released an industry bulletin which is condensed below.  *Don’t forget to contact us if you need further clarification or assistance with obtaining this classification on your license based on their determination.

CSLB Announces Contractor Classifications Authorized to Install Battery Energy Storage Systems 

On July 27, 2021, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB or Board) held a public meeting to review, discuss, and take action on the June 30, 2021 Battery Energy Storage Systems License Classification Reportissued by the University of California (UC) Berkeley. As part of the public meeting and consistent with Open Meeting Act requirements, the Board afforded members of the public an opportunity to comment on UC Berkeley’s report prior to taking any action. 

In response to the data compiled in the report by UC Berkeley as to the appropriate classification to installBattery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), the Board motioned and voted by majority decision, to take the following actions:

  • Accept the UC Berkeley recommendation to preclude the “C-46” Solar license classification from installing BESS. 
  • Rescind all prior staff opinions that BESS can be installed by a “C-46” Solar license classification as “incidental and supplemental” work when the BESS is paired with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. You may find the regulatory definition of incidental and supplemental here.
  • Provide a 90-day grace period to educate the industry on the Board’s decision to adopt UC Berkeley’s recommendation to preclude the “C-46” Solar license from BESS installation and assist “C-46” Solar contractors in obtaining a “C-10” Electrical classification. As highlighted in the report, there are currently 447 dual “C-10” and “C-46” license holders. 
  • The Board’s July 27, 2021, decision does not impact the “A” General Engineering Contractor, “B”General Building Contractor or “C-10” Electrical Contractor to install BESS with their respective classifications.
  • Board staff will provide an expedited review of any existing “C-46” contractor application seeking to add a “C-10” classification if the Board receives the application no later than November 1, 2021.
  • CSLB will not take any retroactive enforcement action against a licensee as a result of the Board’s July 27, 2021, decision to rescind all prior staff opinions concerning incidental and supplemental work performed by a “C-46” Solar license. Any enforcement action will be prospective, effective November 1, 2021.Projects entered into after this date will be subject to the electrician certification requirement unless such work is statutorily exempted under Labor Code sections 108 or 108.2.