a solar contractor working on top of a panel. guide breaks down everything you need to know to pass the solar contractor license

Passing the solar license test on your first try can actually be harder than you think, but if you follow these steps it can be easy.

In California, thousands of solar installers apply for the C-46 solar contractor license each year.

a solar panel in the sunlight. passing the solar license test can be easy if you know what will be on the exam

The Contractor State License Board offers 73 different classifications.

Read this to see if you qualify to get an exam date.

I have helped thousands of people pass the exam on their first try, and these 5 Quick tips are based on the information I have gathered over the years that I know works.

1. Know What Is Going To Be On The Solar License Test

Preparation is everything, many tradesman I work with apply for the exam without actually knowing what will be on the test.

Taking the time to look at some basic information about the exam is very helpful.

The exam for solar contractors includes:

  • 115 Questions LAW
  • 115 Questions SOLAR
  • Multiple Choice Exam
  • Close Book
  • 3 Hours To Complete Each Section
  • Taken On A Computer at A State Testing Center

Law & Business

  • Business Organization
  • Business Finances
  • Employment Requirements
  • Contract Requirements and Execution
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Safety 
  • Public Works

Solar Panels

  • ​Planning and Estimating (21%)
  • ​Solar Collector Installation (15%)
  • Solar Thermal Installation (9%)
  • ​Photovoltaic (PV) System Installation and Commissioning (22%)
  • ​Service and Maintenance (18%)
  • Safety (15%)

Click the link, For a complete guide to the Contractor License LAW concepts you must know to pass the solar license test!

2. Take Practice Tests based On The Solar Contractor License 

While running a contractor license school, I learned that the biggest difficulty my students faced was that most of them had not taken an exam in years.

  • Some of my students did not finish high school or had immigrated to the United States recently, and were still learning English. 
  • One of the best study tools for them was to use Online Practice Tests. Simulated online tests are based on the state exam. 
a house in the process of having solar panels installed

Practice Test Questions

If a swimming pool is 20’ by 30’ and filled to a depth of 8’, what is the volume of water to be solar heated?


a. 600 cubic yards

b. 4,800 cubic yards

c. 33,600 gallons

d. 35,904 gallons

2. As the temperature of a PV module increases, what will happen to the voltage?


a. The voltage will increase

b. The voltage will decrease

c. The voltage will be unaffected

d. It depends on the module design

3. Find Solar License Study Guides

Test questions are great, but relying on them as your only study source is a big mistake. If you are not into reading, you can find C-46 license exam study books in audio or video format.

Practice test questions for the solar license exam do not give you the theory behind what the question is asking you. Use a book or study guide as a reference.

Exam prep books for the solar contractor license cover a wide range of topics. They can also be incredibly helpful to refresh your memory on core topics you may have forgotten.

Free contractor license study guides often cover just a snapshot of what you need to know.

Invest in yourself and look for study guides that cover topics such as:

Contractor Exam Topics
  • Install roof mount collectors
  • Install ground mount collectors
  • Install hot water systems
  • Install pool heating systems
  • System testing, configuration, and monitoring; educating the client
  • Evaluate thermal systems
  • Repair and replace components
  • Handle hazardous materials

4. Contractor Classes

When you see the term "Contractor Classes" you should understand that they are only LAW & BUSINESS classes for construction contractors.

Contractor license schools offer state specific exam prep classes that cover the basics of construction LAW.

It is essential to understand the distinction between a contractor license and a trade school.

The C-46 license test is for journey level tradesman who has a solid understanding of the solar installation trade. Contractor classes are not meant to teach you your trade.

They highly beneficial for those of us who haven't been in school for a while.

  • Taught by Contractors or construction veterans
  • Live Instruction format with questions and answers
  • Bilingual (depending on the school you chose)
  • In depth classes that cover important exam concepts
a frustrated contractor looking down at some blueprints. contractor license schools can help you pass the solar license test

Contractor License schools offer several services that can help you get everything taken care of quickly and easily.

Check out this article for a more in depth look at how to choose the right school!

How to study for the C-46 License Test!

You are trying to get the C-46 solar panel installation license to make more money, achieve a goal or move up in some way.

It is totally understandable if the idea of taking an exam is intimidating.

  • Remember that most of the people there on test day are in the exact same position as you. 
  • The key is to get some accurate material and be consistent about studying them.
  • Professional athletes, artists, and other top-level tradesmen will all tell you the same thing. Developing mastery is about doing a bunch of little things over and over again.

5. Study Consistently!

If you commute, invest in an audio program, you can listen while you drive.

If you are a native Spanish speaker and prefer to watch a recorded class, invest in a bilingual program.

There are a lot of options out there to get you the information you need to know so you can get where you want to be FAST!

How To Become a Solar Panel Installer

complete blog post teaching you what you need to know to get a C46 solar contractor license in the state of california

If you have found this article helpful, feel free to check out some of our other free content.

For a complete guide on how to become a solar panel installer as well as filling out the application check out our complete guide to the C-46 Solar Panel Contractor License!

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