The National Electrical Contractors Association of Greater Boston (NECA), a trade group covering the region, says that ‘unlicensed, unqualified’ temporary workers are allegedly installing conductive solar electric components at a project site in Southbridge, Mass. According to NECA, this is a violation of state law, which requires licensed electricians to do such work.
NECA has filed complaints with the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure against Michigan-based Patriot Solar, Worcester's Absolute Staffing and Commonwealth Electrical Technologies of Worcester.
The group says Absolute Staffing employees, who are not licensed as electricians – with assistance from unlicensed Patriot Solar counterparts – are erecting electrical components, including racks, rails and conduit, at the project site.
NECA initially grew suspicious after viewing an Oct. 12 Craigslist posting by Absolute Staffing for ‘general laborers installing solar panels.’ A call to Absolute Staffing confirmed the positions were in Southbridge for the subcontractor, Patriot Solar. NECA staffers visited the Southbridge site Oct. 25 and photographed the alleged violations. Contractors and workers confirmed unlicensed workers were handling conductive rail, racking and conduit installations.
Similar controversy erupted earlier this year at another solar farm in Massachusetts, the Canton solar farm, when the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' Boston division waged a campaign against the project, claiming that unlicensed workers at the site posed a public danger.