BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 2699


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          Date of Hearing:  May 18, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair


          AB  
          2699 (Gonzalez) - As Amended April 13, 2016


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          SUMMARY:


          This bill strengthens protections and disclosures for consumers  
          with respect to purchase and installation of solar panels.   
          Specifically, this bill:    


          1)Requires the Contractor's State Licensing Board (Board) to  
            develop a disclosure form related to solar panel purchase,  
            including information about financing, terms, rebates, risks,  
            fees, where to file complaints, and related information.  
            Specifies a solar energy systems company must provide the form  
            to a consumer prior to completion of a sale, financing, or  
            lease of a solar energy system.  








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          2)Requires the Board to establish through regulation  
            requirements for a contractor to maintain a blanket  
            performance and payment bond for the purpose of solar energy  
            systems installation.


          3)Requires a contractor installing a solar energy system to be  
            subject to disclosures in existing law related to  
            downpayments. 


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          The Board anticipates a cost of $285,000 in the first year of  
          implementation and $260,000 ongoing for licensing and  
          enforcement staff (Contractors License Fund).


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose. This bill intends to update disclosure laws and  
            consumer protection in order to keep pace with a growing  
            industry.  The author indicates while the growth in  
            residential solar is important to meet renewable energy goals,  
            consumers have sometimes been surprised by the long-term  
            financial impacts of these systems, and have complained about  
            a lack of clarity and information related to effects on their  
            ability to stay in or sell their home, and about the risks and  
            benefits of the systems. 


          2)Solar Panels.  The popularity of rooftop solar panels has  
            grown rapidly, as has third-party ownership of residential  
            systems, which allows individuals to lease the systems at a  
            lower or no up-front cost. Systems must be installed by  








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            licensed contractors and a solar salesperson also must  
            register as a home improvement salesperson with the Board.     
            Criticism has been levied about deceptive marketing practices  
            that over-promise savings and under-inform about risk.   
            Hundreds of complaints about solar marketing and installation  
            have been received by the Board since 2010.   


          3)Support and Opposition. The California Municipal Utilities  
            Association and the California Environmental Justice Alliance  
            support this bill, noting the benefit of improved disclosure  
            for consumers.  The Silicon Valley Leadership Forum opposes  
            unless amended, seeking amendments to narrow the bill to  
            residential solar, require the disclosure to be provided by  
            the contractor before installation, and require a 10-year  
            warranty.  


          Analysis Prepared by:Lisa Murawski / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081