Solar contractor licensing commenced in the 1980s alongside the introduction of incentive programs for solar water heating. State regulation and licensing of solar contractors continues to evolve as the industry grows. Currently, 12 states and Puerto Rico have solar contractor licensing requirements. The contractor licensing requirements described here refer to solar-specific licensing requirements, rather than general electrical or plumbing contractor licenses. Most states require a licensed electrical or plumbing contractor for PV and solar-thermal systems, respectively.
Some states require solar installers to obtain a separate, specialized solar contractor’s license. In most cases, solar is a specialty classification under the general electrical or plumbing licenses and all appropriately licensed contractors can install solar systems without the solar specialty license. However, contractors may be able to obtain a solar specialty license and install systems without having the full electrical or plumbing license. This reduces the cost of licensure for contractors who only install solar systems.
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council has a national map of solar licensing activities in the U.S. Click the button below to view map. Furthermore, certain local jurisdictions within each state may have different requirements than that listed by IREC. For the most accurate understanding of licensing requirements it is best to talk to your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) or building department.