CA: Updated Solar Consumer Protection Guide incorporates new rules on e-signatures Posted on Sep 10, 2020

On Friday, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) released the 2nd version of their Solar Consumer Protection Guide. Key requirements around electronic signatures are now incorporated in the guide. All California residential contracts signed on or after September 30 must use the guide. 

The CPUC released their initial version of the guide in July 2019. Since that time, any residential customer installing solar on an existing home must have signed and initialed the guide before signing a contract. The CPUC initially required a “wet signature” of the guide, but thanks to the advocacy of the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA) and others, electronic signatures were ultimately allowed with some key requirements that will go into effect on September 30. 
The largest changes to the guide are on the final two pages.

Customers must now affirm the following before signing the guide:

  1. They have not yet entered into a contract before signing and initialing the guide.
  2. The solar provider gave the customer a complete copy of the guide before collecting their initials and signatures.
  3. The solar provider gave a copy of the guide in Español, 中文, 한국어, Tiếng Việt, or Tagalog if they spoke to the customer in one of those languages.
  4. The customer was given the option to sign electronically or in handwriting.
  5. If the customer was solicited through a door to door sale, the default for signing and initialing the guide was through a handwritten signature but an electronic signature option was still provided.
  6. If the customer was solicited through a door to door sale and did not expressly request an electronic version, a paper version of the guide was provided.  
The solar provider must now also affirm in what language the sales presentation was principally conducted and list their CSLB license number and classification on the final page (in addition to page four as previously required). If a Home Improvement Salesperson is collecting the guide, they must now list their registration number on page four.
As part of the interconnection process beginning on September 30, there will be a few more fields contractors must complete. Contractors are now required to include the PACE administrator license number whenever a system is financed via PACE. For all financed systems using a non-PACE financial entity, contractors will be required to give the name of that financier. If there is no financier to name,  contractors may simply write “cash” in the field.
It is now explicitly written in the guide that the CPUC recommends solar providers provide the guide at first contact with a customer.