8/22/2014 7:48:00 AM Ask the contractor Column: Work on solar devices requires proper licensing
Sandy Griffis Yavapai County Contractors Association
Hundreds of local homeowners are enjoying the benefits of affordable clean energy and several calls from local homeowners come through on a weekly basis asking questions about solar contractors and licensing. Pursuant to A.R.S. §32-1170.01, it is unlawful to install, alter, or repair a solar device without first qualifying as a solar contractor. If you are considering the installation of solar, or have had solar installed, the below information is critical.
With more than 300 annual days of sunshine, Arizona is establishing itself as a leader in the solar industry. With such an abundance of this great natural resource, it is no surprise that Arizona is becoming a key player in the growth of this important industry.
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors plays a vitally important role in ensuring that contractors who conduct business in this growing industry are properly licensed and meet all regulatory and training requirements necessary to protect the public from poor workmanship and unscrupulous activities.
Proper licensure is the first step. With respect to licensing for solar projects, there are proper license classifications and requirements necessary for solar installation. In order to perform solar installation in the state of Arizona, contractors must hold at least one of the approved licenses, the most common being C-11, which is electrical.
Residential and Commercial General Contracting and Remodeling license holders may contract for solar installations; however, all work pertaining to the installation must be subcontracted to a properly licensed solar plumbing, air conditioning, boiler or electrical contractor. It is critically important that you verify and are aware of the licenses required to install a solar system.
Roofing tiles that function as a solar collectors must be installed by a CR-42 roofing contractor. However, connection of these tiles to the electrical system can only be performed by a licensed electrical contractor. Additionally, any devices (solar or otherwise) mounted on the roof that significantly impacts, may compromise the roof components or may void the existing roof warranty. It is recommended that before installing a solar system you have your roof inspected by a licensed roofing contractor.
Other important information homeowners should be aware of prior to installing solar are pursuant to A.R.S. §44-1762, solar energy device warranties; installation standards; inspections:
a) The collectors, heat exchangers and storage units of a solar energy device that is sold or installed in this state, and the installation, shall be warranted for a period of at least two years. The remaining components of the solar energy device and their installation shall be warranted for a period of at least one year.
b) Any person who manufactures, furnishes for installation or installs a solar energy device shall provide with such device a written statement of warranty, responsibilities assumed or disclaimed and performance data of the solar energy device and components of the solar energy device. The form of the statement required by this subsection is subject to approval by the registrar of contractors after consultation with the department of commerce. The registrar of contractors shall adopt rules governing the readability and understandability of the statement. The statement shall specify the source of any performance data it contains. A copy of the statement shall be delivered to the registrar of contractors where it shall be kept on public file.
c) A person who sells a solar energy device in this state shall furnish a certificate to the buyer that the solar energy device complies with the requirements of this section.
d) A solar energy device that is sold or installed in this state shall comply with any consumer protection, rating, certification, performance, marking, installation and safety standards that have been adopted by the department of commerce.
e) An individual who installs a solar energy device in this state, in addition to being a licensed solar contractor under title 32, chapter 10, article 4, shall:
1. Possess the general license that is appropriate to the type of solar energy device that is installed. Installers of a solar water heater or a photovoltaic device shall possess an appropriate contractor's license.
2. Meet any education and training standards that have been adopted by the registrar of contractors after consultation with the department of commerce.
3. Pass an examination on the installation of the type of device to be installed, if the registrar of contractors after consultation with the department of commerce has adopted such an examination.
f) Solar energy devices that are designed or installed by the final owner are exempt from the requirements of subsections a through e.
g) The installation of a solar energy device shall meet the requirements of:
1. All applicable fire, safety and building codes.
2. Consumer protection standards, including freeze protection and temperature related damage standards adopted by the department of commerce.
3. All other applicable federal, state and local laws.
h) Solar energy devices are subject to random inspections by the registrar of contractors. Installers who fail to meet safety, installation or other prescribed standards are subject to disciplinary action under Arizona law.
It is important you ask the solar company of your choice to give you proof of these requirements, certificates and warranties.
Save the date for the upcoming Yavapai County Fall Home Health & Lifestyle Expo, coming to Tim's Toyota Center, Prescott Valley, Sept. 13-14. Admission is free. There will be more than 180 local vendors. See you there!