Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 3. PROFESSIONS AND VOCATIONS GENERALLY [5000 - 9998.11]

  ( Heading of Division 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 30. )

CHAPTER 9. Contractors [7000 - 7191]

  ( Chapter 9 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 37. )

ARTICLE 6.5. Solar Energy System Restitution Program [7086 - 7086.11]
  ( Article 6.5 added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. )

7086.
  

The board shall administer the Solar Energy System Restitution Program upon appropriation of one-time resources by the Legislature for the purpose of providing restitution to consumers pursuant to this article.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.1.
  

For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:

(a) “Program” means the Solar Energy System Restitution Program established pursuant to this article.

(b) “Consumer” means any of the following:

(1) A natural person who owns a single-family residence in this state and who contracted with a licensed or unlicensed contractor on or after January 1, 2016, for the installation of a solar energy system on that residence.

(2) A tenant or leaseholder of a single-family residence in this state owned by a natural person who contracted with a licensed or unlicensed contractor on or after January 1, 2016, for the installation of a solar energy system on the owner’s residence.

(3) A natural person who purchases a single-family residence from a prior owner of the residence who contracted with a licensed or unlicensed contractor on or after January 1, 2016, for the installation of the solar energy system.

(c) “Solar energy system” has the same meaning as that term is defined in subdivision (g) of Section 7169.

(d) “Financial loss or injury” means an economic loss or expense suffered by a consumer resulting from fraud, misrepresentation, or another unlawful act committed by a residential solar energy system contractor that has not been and will not be fully reimbursed from any other source.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.2.
  

(a) This article governs the administration of the program and operates independently of, and does not affect or relate to the licensing, regulation, and discipline of, contractors.

(b) This article does not limit the authority of the registrar to take disciplinary action against a contractor.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.3.
  

The registrar or their designee shall only award moneys appropriated to the program to consumers who are eligible claimants pursuant to this article.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.4.
  

Except as provided in Section 7086.5, a consumer is an eligible claimant only if they meet one of the following criteria:

(a) The consumer has filed a complaint against a licensed contractor investigated pursuant to Article 7 (commencing with Section 7090), that resulted in one or more of the following:

(1) Issuance of an administrative citation that includes a payment of a specified sum to an injured party as prescribed by Section 7099 and that is not under appeal.

(2) Filing of accusation to suspend or revoke the license.

(3) Determination by the registrar or their designee that a probable violation of this chapter has occurred that if proven, would present a risk of harm to the public and would be appropriate for suspension, revocation, or criminal prosecution.

(b) The consumer has obtained a judgment in any civil court of competent jurisdiction for recovery of damages against a licensed or unlicensed contractor, proceedings in connection with the judgment have terminated, including appeals, and the consumer has not received the specified sum or restitution amount as of the date they claim eligibility.

(c) The consumer is the identified victim of a licensed or unlicensed contractor in a criminal case before a California superior court, with an established financial injury or restitution order, proceedings in connection with the judgment have terminated, including appeals, and the consumer has not received the specified sum or restitution amount as of the date they claim eligibility.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.5.
  

(a) If any consumer alleges financial harm because of the contract for the installation of a solar energy system on their residence, but the board’s authority to discipline the contractor has lapsed due to a limitations period specified in Section 7091, then the registrar or their designee may consider whether the consumer who is unable to claim eligibility under Section 7086.4 is nonetheless eligible to receive restitution pursuant to the program. In all those cases, the following apply:

(1) The registrar or their designee may elect to refer the consumer to arbitration process prescribed in Section 7085.5 for the arbitrator to render an award pursuant to the program.

(2) The arbitration shall commence for the sole purpose of determining whether a financial loss occurred, and whether an amount may justifiably be paid to the consumer pursuant to the program. Discipline of the contractor shall not be at issue in any case referred to arbitration under this subdivision and the contractor need not to appear. Any payment amount for the attending consumer shall not be based solely on the fact that the contractor has failed to appear at the arbitration hearing.

(3) The arbitrator has the sole discretion to request the documentation or testimony from the consumer necessary to support payment pursuant to the program, as well as sole discretion to determine whether an award shall be issued pursuant to the program based on the information provided.

(4) The registrar or their designee, or any arbitrator, is not liable to any party for any act or omission in connection with any arbitration conducted under this section.

(5) The arbitrator shall render an award no later than 30 calendar days from the date of closing the hearing, closing a reopened hearing, or if oral hearing has been waived, from the date of transmitting the final statements and proofs to the arbitrator.

(6) A determination on payment to an eligible claimant shall consider all matters relevant to the consumer seeking restitution, including the financial condition of the moneys appropriated to the program, the amount of money being sought, whether the claim appears to be supported by the documentation, whether the claimant has received full or partial payment of their loss from another source, and if there is more than one claimant, the equitable division of available money appropriated to the program among the claimants.

(7) A determination or decision regarding claimant eligibility and payment pursuant to the program and all related issues under this subdivision are final and are not subject to judicial review.

(b) The registrar or their designee may refer a consumer to the arbitration process described in Section 7085.5 for resolution of any claim by a consumer that does not explicitly meet the criteria in subdivision (a) of Section 7086.4.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.6.
  

(a) A consumer may claim eligibility for payment pursuant to the program by filing a form with the registrar entitled “Solar Energy System Restitution Program Claim” that shall be provided by the board. A consumer seeking restitution shall include, without limitation:

(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the consumer and which criteria under Section 7086.4 or 7086.5 the consumer claims eligibility.

(2) The name, address, license number, and telephone number, if known, of the contractor who installed the solar energy system.

(3) A description of the facts concerning the loss caused by the contractor, the nature and extent of the claimed loss, and the date on which, or the period during which, the alleged loss occurred.

(4) A copy of the contract, and any or all other relevant documentation specified in Section 7086.7, as applicable, supporting the grounds under which the consumer claims eligibility.

(5) A statement confirming whether the consumer has previously recovered a portion of their loss from sources other than an award pursuant to the program, and if so, in what amount, from what source, and the date that recovery occurred.

(b) The registrar or their designee may request from the consumer any additional information or documentation not specified in this section that the registrar or their designee deems necessary to determine eligibility.

(c) A claim that appears to include false or altered information shall be automatically denied and shall not be considered for restitution pursuant to the program. The denial of the claim shall be the exclusive remedy for filing false information.

(d) Any information or documentation distributed by the board about the program shall include a notice that restitution payments are only available as long as there are appropriated moneys available for payment.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.7.
  

(a) For all claimants deemed eligible pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 7086.4, a document stamped with the seal of the Contractors State License Board reflecting the complaint number, name of the contractor, name of the special investigator, date of the contract, violation or violations alleged, the specified sum to an injured party amount, the consumer’s name, and any other information the registrar deems relevant to include shall be sufficient documentation upon which to make payment to the consumer pursuant to the program.

(b) For all claimants deemed eligible pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 7086.4, a certified copy of the civil court judgment with the dollar amount of damages shall be sufficient documentation upon which to make payment to the consumer pursuant to the program.

(c) For all claimants deemed eligible pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 7086.4, a certified minute order or other document of the court of relevant jurisdiction that includes the certified copy of an order of financial injury or restitution amount shall be sufficient documentation upon which to make payment to the consumer pursuant to the program.

(d) For all claimants deemed eligible pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 7086.5, the award of the arbitrator, stamped with the seal of the Contractors State License Board reflecting the complaint number, name of the contractor, name of the arbitrator, date of the contract, violations alleged, the specified sum to an injured party amount, the consumer’s name, and any other information the registrar deems relevant to include shall be sufficient documentation upon which to make payment to the consumer pursuant to the program.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.8.
  

(a) If the registrar or their designee determines that a consumer is eligible for restitution pursuant to this article, the amount paid to a consumer shall not exceed forty thousand dollars ($40,000).

(b) If the registrar or their designee has determined that the injured person has recovered a portion of their loss from sources other than the program at the time they claim eligibility, the board shall deduct the amount recovered from the other sources from the amount payable upon the consumer’s claim and direct the difference to be paid.

(c) Subject to appropriation by the Legislature, the board may expend up to one million dollars ($1,000,000) from the moneys appropriated to the program to employ or contract with persons as necessary for the performance of the duties required to administer this article.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.9.
  

(a) The registrar or their designee shall not approve a claim seeking payment pursuant to the program until at least 90 days after the date of the action described in Section 7086.4 or 7086.5 on which the consumer bases their claim of eligibility.

(b) If the registrar or their designee approves payment pursuant to the program to an eligible claimant, the board will forward a copy of the approval of the eligible claim to the accounting office of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

(c) The accounting office shall not commence procedures for the disbursement of money pursuant to an approval of payment from the board until 90 days after the date on which the registrar or their designee approved the eligible claim.

(d) The accounting office shall, on or before February 1 of each year, prepare and submit to the board a statement of the condition of the moneys appropriated to the program that is prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.10.
  

(a) For any licensee whose actions have caused the payment of an award to a consumer pursuant to the program, the board shall display a notice on the public license detail on the board’s internet website stating that the licensee was the subject of a payment pursuant to the program.

(b) The notice specified in subdivision (a) shall remain on the board’s internet website until seven years after the date of the payment.

(c) This section shall operate independently of, and is not subject to, Section 7124.6.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, pursuant to Section 7086.11.)

7086.11.
  

This article shall remain in effect until June 30, 2024, and as of that date is repealed.

(Added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 77, Sec. 1. (AB 137) Effective July 16, 2021. Repealed as of June 30, 2024, by its own provisions. Note: Repeal affects Article 6.5, commencing with Section 7086.)

BPCBusiness and Professions Code - BPC6.5.