Is your solar project a public work requiring payment of prevailing wages?

June 25, 2024

Two workers installing solar panels.

California owners, contractors and workers may not be aware of a new law that designates commercial solar projects “public works” requiring payment of “prevailing wages.”   Under the new law effective January 1, 2024 commercial solar projects in California that are non-residential net energy metered (NEM) solar projects over 15 kW will be subject to California’s public works law.  This includes any energy storage associated with a project.

This means that all workers on such projects will be protected by California’s public works law requiring contractors to pay prevailing wage rates set by the State of California.  Prevailing wage rates are set by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) for specific job classifications such as Carpenter, Operating Engineer, Laborer, Electrician, Plumber, HVAC, Cement Mason, Ironworker, Roofer, and others.  Contractors must pay the Total Hourly Rate set by the DIR and required for the job classification.  The new law for commercial solar projects also requires compliance with California’s apprenticeship requirements and includes statutory language expressly permitting unpaid construction workers to bring a civil action to enforce the new law.

If you are a worker on a commercial solar project and have questions regarding your project or your rate of pay contact attorneys at Donahoo & Associates, PC for a free consultation.

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