Get Project Management for Solar Projects Right!

January 22, 2018


Project Management for Solar Projects

This decade has seen a significant rise in the adoption of renewable energy. The opportunities in solar have significantly increased. Alongside, the technological advancement has made the generation of solar power accessible and affordable than it was earlier. In this scenario, businesses have pumped much money to exploit this great opportunity.
The latest statistics of global solar power capacity is over 300GW! Even if the numbers were off to some extent, one could that visualize the potential that solar power offers is mind-blowing. This trend is likely to increase further with nations focusing more and more on renewable energy.
So far, so good.

Over the last few years, the number of companies that have mushroomed globally is phenomenal. Why not? Everyone wants to rake in the moolah, and it is no crime!
While there is a ton of money entering this lucrative business, there are quite a few questions that business leaders and owners need to ask.

Some of them are
1. Are we using the best available technology to harness solar power?
2. Do we have the people with appropriate skills to deliver solar projects successfully?
3. Do we have the right systems and solutions for portfolio and project management for solar projects?
Let us review each one of the above.

Even if an enterprise does not have the technology, there are options for collaborating through joint ventures or profit sharing agreements. Alternatively, firms could pay for the technology transfer.
The second one is the people with the relevant skills and expertise. Assuming that companies do not have them, they could always partner with subject matter experts to impart necessary training, skills or even coach or mentor employees.
Let us talk about the third and the tricky one!
This is where the industry experience has been far from satisfactory. While organizations want quick bucks, what they need to realize is that project management for solar is not just about placing orders for solar panels, getting some metal fabrications done, complete the installations, turn the switch on and say, “let there be light!”
The complexity of project management for solar projects depends on a host of factors, some of which include, the quantum of power to be generated, the terrain, accessibility, safety, and quality as well as governmental regulations.
For organizations to optimize benefits, they need to ensure that the management of solar projects is robust with sound systems in place that addresses the following dimensions.
1. Defining portfolio models based on complexity, value, technology, and other factors.
2. Evaluation and selection of the solar portfolio by careful analysis of the business case, financial benefits, risks, and other criteria.
3. Approving and initiation of selected projects.
4. Configuring the life cycle and processes involved in solar projects.
5. Evaluate and select vendors competent to collaborate with your firm.
6. Release purchase orders or contracts to selected vendors.
7. Detailed project planning of multiple dimensions such as design documentation, material specifications, schedule, procurement, risks, costs, quality,
8. Active monitoring and control through various solar project metrics including delivery, quality control, documentation, and governmental controls.
9. Project closure and operational handover with all the necessary compliances, certificates, and customer acceptance.
Now the all-important question!

How excellent is Microsoft Excel or Scheduling Software such as Microsoft Project to manage such programs and projects? Are there any software solutions for efficient and proactive management of solar programs and projects?
Before answering the above question, it is essential to understand that enterprises should look for solutions that offer an out-of-the-box solution that could be tailored to your organization specifically.
Let me elaborate.

Today your project may be classified as small. After delivering few such projects, your firm could pick up more significant and more complex projects. Here, the project life cycle, complexity, business processes, workflows, documentation, budgeting, and compliance could be very different.
It is crucial that you choose a solution not just for today, but for tomorrow and beyond!

You may now be wondering about an obvious question.
Is there such a portfolio and project management solution available?

Fortunately, TouchBase® is designed to address the needs of different industry-specific requirements. TouchBase® has successfully delivered value for its customers across industries including renewable energy and specifically those managing solar programs and projects.
We welcome you to test drive TouchBase® today!

Srikanth PV


Srikanth PV comes with two decades of global corporate and consulting background across industries with diverse roles including Strategy, Leadership, and Management. Currently, Srikanth is Head, PPM Content Management at Kytes focused on content management strategy aimed to empower customers create and enhance value through its flagship digital solution - Kytes PSA. Srikanth is also a former member of the Board of Directors of PMI Bangalore Chapter.