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Robin Dechant

Robin is one of the founders at Kwest. On this blog, he shares insights gained from discussions with selected renewable energy experts and from working with our customers towards operational excellence.
Project management

10 tasks a solar project manager needs to do

As a solar project manager, you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. From start to finish, project managers ensure that every aspect of the solar project is being completed on time and within budget. We’ve summarized in this post ten tasks that a solar energy project manager needs to do. This is an indicative and not exhaustive list, we’re open to other suggestions and proposals.

10 tasks a solar project manager needs to do

1. Develop a project plan and template

Develop a detailed project plan including timelines, budget, and resources that you need. Having templates for your solar projects help you to streamline processes and ensure a consistent quality. It’s important to update the templates continuously to improve your processes and how you are managing your solar projects over time. 

2. Obtain necessary permits and approvals

A project manager needs to obtain necessary permits and approvals from the owner of the site and state authorities. The number of necessary permits and approvals depend on what kind of solar projects you are installing. For commercial solar projects in the agricultural industry, it can be quite time consuming to collect all necessary permits and approvals. 

3. Manage subcontractors

Many solar companies are working together with subcontractors. This means for the project manager to hire and manage subcontractors, engineers, and other professionals to work on the installation. Project managers must ensure that these professionals are experienced and qualified to work on solar installations. If you need to manage a big number of projects or very large-scale solar projects, orchestrating many subcontractors can be very cumbersome. 

4. Oversee the installation progress

Project managers oversee the whole installation fulfilment process of solar projects. This starts with scheduling the installation date until the solar system is connected to the grid. They are responsible for communicating important milestones with key stakeholders such as their customers. 

5. Scheduling

To coordinate the inspection and installation at the customer site, project managers often need to orchestrate the scheduling. Scheduling is a painful task the more stakeholders are involved or if a date needs to be rescheduled. Part of the scheduling is the route planning for the installers and how they will get to the customer site. 

6. Handle incidents

Incidents can occur at every solar installation, no matter how well-planned and executed the project is. These incidents include equipment failure, rescheduling of the installation date, or safety incidents. It is essential for solar project managers to report incidents and learn from them

7. Create documentation and reports

Every solar installation needs to be well-documented. Important steps to document during a solar installation are the inspection at the customer site and the final installation. On top of that, project managers need to create different reports for financial partners, installers, customers and internal progress updates. This is actually one of our core use cases where Kwest can help you to automatically create these reports. If you are managing commercial solar projects, you need to document weekly steering meetings that you are running together with other key stakeholders. 

8. Quality control

Project managers serve as gatekeepers and need to control the quality of the solar installations. That includes reviewing important information, the documentation, and ensuring that everything is correct. Project managers are often responsible for handovers and to start new tasks after certain milestones are achieved. 

9. Coordinate with utility companies

The solar project manager needs to coordinate with utility companies to connect the solar system to the grid. They must ensure that the system complies with all utility regulations and requirements. Part of the work is often to fill out regulatory documents. 

10. Monitor performance

After the installation, the solar project managers need to monitor the performance of the solar system and manage incidents. They must ensure that the system is meeting expected output and that all components are functioning correctly. Larger solar companies hire dedicated customer service people for maintenance and customer requests. 

We’ve covered the main tasks of a project manager who needs to manage solar projects. If you’re looking to expand your team, we’ve summarized a few tips about how to hire the right project manager for your solar business.

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