On June 23, 2014, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law Senate Bill 447. Louisiana Revised Statutes § 2156.3 governs the licensing of "entities engaging in the business of selling, leasing, installing, servicing, or monitoring solar energy equipment," and "entities engaged in the business of arranging agreements for the lease or sale of solar energy systems or acquiring customers for financing entities." Section 2156.3 prohibits licensed contractors installing solar energy equipment or solar energy systems on or after February 1, 2015 unless the licensees are in compliance with Section 2156.3 and any related rules adopted by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (the "Board"). It provides certain exceptions, including that any contractor licensed in Louisiana as of August 1, 2014, holding the major classification of Building Construction, Electrical Work (Statewide), or Mechanical Work (Statewide), shall be deemed to have met the examination requirement.
Contractors applying for the classification of Solar Energy Equipment will, in addition to all other application or licensing requirements, be required to meet the following requirements prior to issuance of this classification:
- Hold one or more of the following major classifications:
- Building Construction
- Electrical Work
- Mechanical Work
- Residential Building Contractor
- Complete training in the design of solar energy systems by an entity and course approved by the board.
Section 2156.3 further requires the Board, no later than January 1, 2015, to adopt rules regulating the installation of solar energy equipment or solar energy systems by licensed contractors, including, at a minimum, requiring a written examination that "evidences the contractor's knowledge and understanding of best practices as related to the installation and maintenance of solar energy equipment or solar energy systems by any contractor who does not hold a current Solar PV Installer certification for solar electric systems, or a current Solar Heating Installer certification for solar thermal hot water systems as issued by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners."
The Board confirmed on October 17, 2014, that it had published a call for comments for its proposed rule (Rule 319) and it received no written comments or requests for a hearing. Rule 319 will become effective in December 2014. Rule 319 requires, among other things, that all contractors applying for the classification of solar energy equipment pass a written examination approved by the Board for contractors on the installation and maintenance of solar energy equipment, except as otherwise provided by Rule 319. Rule 319 confirms that any applicant for this classification that holds a current solar pv installer certificate for solar electric systems or a current solar heating installer certificate for solar thermal hot water systems issued by the North American Board of Certified Practitioners "shall be deemed to have met both th[e] examination requirement and the training requirement" set forth in Rule 1115.A.2.
As contemplated by Section 2156.3, Rule 319 further confirms that only a licensed contractor who holds the classification of Electrical Work or who may perform electrical work pursuant to the provisions of Louisiana Revised Statutes § 37:2156.2(B) may perform work to connect wiring or hookups for any photovoltaic panel or system wherein the panel or system is of a value, including labor, materials, rentals, and all direct and indirect project expenses, of $10,000 or more. In turn, only a licensed contractor who holds the classification of Mechanical Work or who may perform mechanical work pursuant to the provisions of Louisiana Revised Statutes § 37:2156.2(B) may perform work to connect piping or equipment for any solar thermal system wherein the system is of a value, including labor, materials, rentals, and all direct and indirect project expenses, of $10,000 or more.