A solar panel subcontractor agreement is a contract between a primary contractor and a solar panel subcontractor working on commercial or residential projects.
The agreement establishes how much the primary contractor will pay the subcontractor in exchange for services. They lay out the terms and conditions before signing the form.
If one fails to uphold their end of the contract, the other can seek compensation for loss of money, time, and other damages.
When to Use
Primary contractors use subcontractor agreements when hiring independent contractors to install solar panels on residential or commercial properties when they reach that stage of construction. They don’t need to hire full-time employees because solar panels typically only need installed once.
Hiring Solar Panel Subcontractors
Hiring the right solar panel subcontractor can be challenging, especially if you have never hired one. Keep the following in mind when hiring solar panel subcontractors.
Types of Solar Panel Work
Most solar panel subcontractors are responsible for the following:
- Creating site schematics, gathering materials, and conducting assessments
- Measuring, assembling, and installing systems that turn sunlight into electrical energy
- Doing maintenance checks for compliance with safety standards
Things to Know
Before signing a solar panel subcontractor agreement, check the following:
- The subcontractor’s online reviews: The solar panel subcontractor should have at least a 4/5 star rating. They should also have plenty of Google Business reviews from satisfied customers. If they don’t, consider another subcontractor.
- The subcontractor’s licenses and certification: The solar panel subcontractor should have licenses and certifications demonstrating their expertise in installing solar panels.
- The warranty: The solar panel subcontractor should have at least a 10-year workmanship warranty, saving you from finding someone else to diagnose and repair your system.
Solar Panel License Requirements
Solar is a specialty classification under the main plumbing or electrical licenses in many states; in turn, all licensed contractors can install solar systems without the solar specialty license. However, contractors may obtain a solar specialty license and install systems without a full electrical or plumbing permit.
Some states require solar installers to get a specialized solar contractor’s license.
Before hiring a solar panel subcontractor, research your county, town, city, and state laws. Make a list of the licenses you expect to see, and ask the subcontractor if they have them. Currently, only 12 states and Puerto Rico have solar contractor licensing requirements.
State licensing can pose restrictions as licenses are generally not transferable between states, limiting the ability to move geographically. Nevertheless, state licensing serves the purpose of safeguarding consumers against potential safety risks and guaranteeing the proper installation of systems.
Check with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council for more information on Solar Contractor licensing.
Solar Panel Certification
Not every state or locality requires certifications for solar panel subcontractors. Here’s a list of the top solar certificates available:
- PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Board Certification
- PV Installer Specialist (PVIS) Board Certification
- OSHA Construction Safety
- Electrical license
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is recognized as the leading certifying authority in the solar industry. It is advised to read the NABCEP Certification Handbook before applying for a certification.
In states that do not require solar contractor licensing, certification can provide a baseline level of quality.
Solar Panel Subcontractor vs. In-House Solar Installer
A solar subcontractor is a third party hired and contracted to install solar panels on behalf of a solar company or main contractor of a construction project, and an in-house solar installer does the work themselves with their hired employees.
It is important to note that the use of subcontractors by a solar installer does not necessarily indicate a better or worse service. However, it is crucial that the company has thoroughly vetted the subcontractor and guarantees their work.
If there are any complications, opting for an in-house installer would simplify the process as you only have to deal with one party.
An in-house installer would be responsible for all aspects of the solar installation process, including sales, marketing, installation, customer service, and post-installation support. On the other hand, a company that utilizes subcontractors would typically only handle sales and marketing, outsourcing the installation work to subcontractors.
A lot of the time, hiring a solar panel subcontractor can pose an advantage for a contractor looking to sell solar installations in a state other than the one they are licensed or reside in, and it saves them from having to expand their business to that state and hire local employees.
What to Include
Every agreement is different, but most contain the following:
- Agreement date
- Full name and address of the primary contractor and subcontractor
- Services provided by the subcontractor
- Materials and equipment the subcontractor is required to bring
- Primary location for the services provided by the subcontractor
- Signatures of the primary contractor and subcontractor
Solar Panel Subcontractor Agreement Sample
Create a solar panel subcontractor agreement using our PDF and Word templates.