Commercial Solar Project management, spreadsheet approach, part 1

Monday, August 9, 2021
Veli Markovic

What is project management?

It is the initiating, the planning, the execution, controlling and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meeting specific success criteria at the specified time. 

The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints.

The RACI chart, what is it

  • R = Responsible, this team member does the work to complete the task
  • A = Accountable, this person delegates work, last one to review the task or deliverable 
  • C = Consulted, consulted parties, stakeholders , how are they affected
  • I = Informed, these team members simply need to be kept in the loop on project progress

Important points, only one person can be accountable. Can be accountable and responsible and consulted, opinion, informed, do not need every detail.

The Importance of PM

Compared to domestic installs commercial solar projects take a lot longer:

  • More people involved
  • More money involved
  • Project has more complexities
  • More things to go wrong!!

How do you decrease the bad stuff?

You need to be able to list the various tasks into:

  • Main categories
  • Sub categories
  • Name of task
  • Who it’s assigned to 
  • Answer
  • Response

With a spreadsheet!

By creating a spreadsheet:

  • All the information can be contained in one area
  • If converting the information to table, can filter
  • Can also create Gantt type functionality as well

First steps!

We need to determine our column headings

And .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Then start populating the rows!

Good practice

Ideally we need to:

  • Determine a numerical legend
  • Which correlates with the steps of the project
  • In a chronological way
  • Legend should be constructed so that it can be filtered first to last

Different categories

By assigning different column headings we can:

  • Filter based on different criteria
  • Such as assigned to whom
  • Major category or 
  • Sub category

Turning a range of data into a filter

To be able to filter based on certain criteria, you need to turn the range of data into a table.


With excel the process is:

  • Click on insert tab 
  • Click within the data
  • Click on Table
  • Highlight the data to be converted
  • Click OK

You now have a filterable table!

The response column heading

This is where you can collect the response from the answer column:

  • Either Y or N answer
  • Or details
  • Can simply reference answer in corresponding row
  • Can trigger a formula that warns or reminds 


Project must have a start and finish date

Milestones, stakeholders must be informed regularly of the process

Can use a spreadsheet to make the task of tracking easier

This was part 1 of a two part series. Next time we look at what other things we can do with this spreadsheet

If you’d like to see more of what Greenwood Solutions get up to in the real world of renewable energy, solar, battery storage and grid protection check out the following pages:

About the author

Veli Markovic

CEC Designer
Veli has nearly two decades of experience in the renewable industry. He is passionate about providing people with valuable education and is highly regarded throughout the industry as an educator and operator.
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