A solar contractor is generally defined as a contractor who installs, modifies, maintains, and repairs thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems. State and local authorities have a strong interest in regulating the industry, whether the work is commercial or residential. Extensive licensing requirements seek to reduce this risk by implementing minimum standards of competency and insurance coverage. The majority of states have a Contractors Board that administers examinations, evaluates experience and issues licenses. Many states also have licensing requirements at the city and/or county levels.
Some states require solar contractors to obtain an electrical contractor license or a general contractor license with a specialty in solar contracting. Other states have a specific category of license for solar contracting. Each application process is different. To become licensed, a variety of documentation may be required, including proof of experience, examination, course certification, bonding, and/or a certificate of insurance. Several states offer reciprocity with other states, allowing the examination requirement to be waived.