CA: Will solar contractors be zapped by new disclosure requirements?


Pending California legislation would require all contractors involved in selling, leasing or financing solar PV systems to provide a standard set of disclosures to prospective customers. Under A.B. 2699, disclosure statements must:

  • List current electric rates.
  • Base any payback period estimates on the customer’s current electric rate.
  • Notify the customer that electricity rates are subject to change, and that this could affect the payback period.
  • Include a link to the customer’s utility website.
  • Include the provider’s license number, and show valid certificates of liability and workers compensation insurance.
  • Provide average system production given existing site characteristics, explain how this could change due to lack of maintenance (e.g., due to dirty panels), and provide maintenance instructions.
  • Specify that if RECs are retained by the provider, the customer is not purchasing “green” power.
  • Include a notification that the balance of a financing or lease arrangement is payable to the provider upon a customer’s death.
  • Provide an estimate of the cost of removing the panels if re-roofing is required in the future.
  • Include a notification that if the system is financed by a loan that requires a super-priority lien on the mortgage, the homeowner might not be able to refinance the mortgage.
  • Include a notification that customer bill credits are compensated by other customers of the utility.
  • Be provided in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese or Korean, as applicable, to customers.

A.B. 2699 would require the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to adopt regulations that include the disclosure document that informs customers of the risks and rewards of solar PV system ownership and warranty issues, and protects those customers from unscrupulous or unfair business practices. The bill also specifies that it is the intent of the legislature for the DCA to certify solar providers and to establish an insurance pool for the purpose of providing compensation to customers for solar energy system claims, funded by an assessment on all solar companies doing business in California. Violations of the provisions of the bill would be punishable by unspecified fines, and customers may file civil lawsuits and claim general, special and punitive damages for willful violations.