To be eligible for a SOMAH incentive, contractors must follow all program job training requirements, including hiring eligible job trainees for each project. Trainees must participate on either the solar installation or in a support role on a specific project.

The number of trainees and required work hours depends on the size of the installation.

System Size (CEC)

Required Number of Job Trainees

0 kW – < 50 kW

1 trainee and no less than 40 hours

50 kW – < 100kW

2 trainees and no less than 40 hours per trainee

100 kW and greater

2 trainees and no less than 80 hours per trainee

To be eligible, a job trainee must complete the Job Trainee Intake Form and be one of the following:

  • An individual currently involved in an eligible job training program
  • An individual who graduated from an eligible job training program within 12 months of the start date of the SOMAH installation
  • A tenant whose primary residence is the SOMAH property

Any existing employees of a SOMAH contractor that meet the above criteria are also eligible SOMAH job trainees. Eligibility as a job trainee lasts for 12 months beginning from the trainee’s first day of work on any SOMAH project.

Eligible job training programs

Eligible job training programs include PV training programs with 40+ hours of hands-on installation or design training offered to the public by a California Community College, local government workforce development programs, community nonprofits, private enterprises or the electrical workers union.

SOMAH recommends sourcing job trainees that fall into the local and targeted hire categories.

  • Local hire: lives in the county in which the SOMAH project is taking place.
  • Targeted hire: resident of a disadvantaged community, affordable housing resident, woman, person of color or someone who has faced or overcome at least one barrier to employment
  • Barrier to employment: being homeless, being a custodial single parent, receiving public assistance, lacking a GED or high school diploma, participating in a vocational English as a second language program or having a criminal record or other involvement with the criminal justice system

New student receiving hands-on solar installation job training

As a SOMAH contractor, you are required to:

  • Find and hire the appropriate number of job trainee(s) for each installation
  • Enter and manage each SOMAH job training opportunity in the SOMAH Job Training Portal, beginning recruitment at least 60 days before installation begins
  • Pay job trainee(s) for time spent on each SOMAH installation, at a rate consistent with the contractor’s entry level or temporary worker wage or 1.4x the minimum wage of the city in which the SOMAH project is located, whichever is higher
  • Pay trainees within 30 days of the actual work
  • Have insurance that covers job training hires, including temporary hires
  • Ensure that all trainees have completed the Job Trainee Intake Form
  • Submit the Job Training Affidavit with the Incentive Claim Package

SOMAH job trainee learning how to install solar energy systems

SOMAH job trainees must be paid at either the contractor’s entry level rate or 1.4x the city minimum wage, whichever is higher. If the city and the county have no mandated minimum wage, the California state minimum wage should be assumed.

A multiplier of 1.4 brings the lowest possible California hourly wage (at the time of program development) $10.50 per hour (or $11/hour for companies with 26 or more employees) near the current highest minimum wage in the state and the 2023 mandated minimum wage (SB 3, 2016) of $15.00 per hour.

The SOMAH program is committed to ensuring that SOMAH job training opportunities pay wages comparable to the industry. As of May 2018, the latest data available, the 25th percentile hourly wage in the Solar Photovoltaic Installers category was $17.08 per hour. The median wage was $22.33 (State of California Employment Development Department, Occupational Employment Statistics Survey). The SOMAH program will revisit the wage floor as average wages increase during the tenure of the program.

Download Municipal Minimum Wages PDF

SOMAH job trainees learning to install solar panels

SOMAH encourages contractors to follow our local and targeted hiring guidelines. The SOMAH job training portal is available to contractors to assist with trainee recruitment. It includes:

  • A job board to post and manage open SOMAH trainee positions
  • A resume bank where contractors can search for eligible trainees
  • A job training organization directory
  • Resources for trainees to support their experience and further professional development
  • The Job Trainee Intake Form to be completed by all job trainees

Contractors must use the job training portal to post and manage job training opportunities for each SOMAH project. Contractors will receive login information to the job training portal via email within 3 business days after attending the contractor webinar and submitting the requested contact information.

SOMAH Job Training Portal

Data from the Job Trainee Intake Form will be collected for public reporting purposes. This data will not be shared with the employers.

The public reports will consist of aggregated data that does not contain individually identifying details, names or contact information

Reports will be added in 2019 after enough program data has been collected to protect the identities of participants.

This Job Training Overview webinar provides contractors and applicants with a detailed overview of SOMAH’s job training requirements and resources available to support contractors in facilitating a successful job training experience on every SOMAH project. The webinar covers the following topics:

  • Overview of the job training requirements and expectations
  • SOMAH services to support job trainee recruitment
  • Live demo of the Job Training Portal
  • Job trainee on-boarding checklist
  • Job site safety tips
  • Q&A

Check the Events page for upcoming webinars and events.