C-46 Solar Contractor’s License: A Comprehensive Guide

Over recent years, solar panel systems have inspired a lot of chatter, especially in California, where ecological demands are great in the world’s fourth-largest economy. The demand for qualified workers in solar power is higher than ever as well-heeled home and landowners seek ways to harness sustainable energy.

If you’re one of the many, many contractors seeking out a chance to install and maintain solar panel systems – you need to know about the C-46 Solar Contractor License, as this is a requirement to do solar power contracting work in the state.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) issues this license to individuals or companies who have demonstrated that they know a lot about solar energy technologies and use them safely.

It should also be mentioned that many solar contractors carry the C-10 Electricians License as these two disciplines dovetail very easily. In fact, the CSLB has historically favored the C-10 License when it comes to classifying certain kinds of important contractor work in the solar power space – only recently has the C-46 license become the sole license for solar work.

All the same, it’s good for anyone in the construction business to know what’s going on with solar. If you’re hoping to get a solar contractor license yourself or if you’re just curious about this license, let’s go deeper into the details, so you can prepare yourself for a successful career as a solar installer.

Requirements for the Solar Contractor License

Here are the basic requirements for receiving a C-46 solar contractor license in California:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have a valid social security or ITIN number.
  • You must complete four years of experience doing C-46 Solar work.
  • You may also be exempt from four years’ experience by doing three years’ education and one year on-the-job training.
  • You must pass the C-46 exam and the California Business Law exam.

Completing your four years of on-the-job training and passing the serious CSLB tests certifies that you do indeed know your stuff when it comes to solar energy systems, safety protocols, and local building codes. If you can’t pass the test – you don’t have the expertise to become a license holder.

2024 Solar Power Construction News in California

What you’ve heard is true – California really is still the leader in the U.S. for embracing solar power as a source of renewable energy.

It’s good for contractors to keep up with how the solar power conversation is changing and how recent developments in solar are creating more work opportunities in construction.

Ambitious Solar Energy Goals in California
California Governor Gavin Newsom is ramping up the state’s solar energy capacity by an additional 10 gigawatts over the next five years – providing great opportunity for contractors in this space.

Ambitious goals like these truly solidify California’s position as a global leader in renewable energy adoption.

Solar Incentive Programs Gain Traction
State-sponsored incentive programs are encouraging California residents and businesses to adopt new solar technology using tax credits and rebates which help offset the upfront costs.

With more solar panel systems being installed, the demand for solar contractors is rising, again creating more opportunities for people like you.

Solar Innovation and The California Solar Mandate
With solar technology becoming more advanced, contractors ought to know precisely how they can keep up with the latest trends and innovations.

And becoming more familiar with solar power isn’t exactly optional. The California Energy Commission (CEC) created the California Solar Mandate, which requires the installation of solar panels for many new construction projects.

Learning to Install Solar Panels

Contractors who are hungry for a chance to learn how to install solar panels have several options.

Vocational Training Programs
These days California has quite the array of vocational schools and community colleges that offer specialized training programs related to solar energy.

These programs cover topics such as photovoltaic system design, installation techniques, and safety procedures – all of which are critical for solar power contractors in the state.

Apprenticeship Programs
Seeking out apprenticeship programs is a good idea for the contractor who wants to get hands-on experience under the guidance of a seasoned, licensed solar contractor.

It is a great learning opportunity that also comes with a legitimate wage. For people in the middle of a career change and for people in that pre-career phase hoping to get their start in solar, this might be an attractive option.

Unlike the solar contractor license which is issued by the state, the Solar Professionals Certificate is issued by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). The NABCEP Handbook covers all of the specific qualifications for becoming certified.

There are other certifications in solar, but Solar Energy International recognizes NABCEP as the leading authority in this area.


There has never been a more exciting time for contractors to engage with solar power. Many C-10 electrical contractors and some class B general contractors are already busy working on new solar projects at this very moment.

There are certification options and special training programs available to contractors who want to get their start in solar – but the C-46 Solar Contractor License is the one credential issued by the CSLB that is wholly dedicated to contractors who install and maintain solar panel systems.

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit www.MakeMeAContractor.com and tuned for more informative posts.