Solar power plant operator

Solar power plant operator article illustration


Solar power plant operators operate and maintain equipment which produce electrical energy from solar power. They monitor measuring equipment to ensure the safety of operations, and that the production needs are met. They also react to system problems, and repair faults.

Solar power plant operators typically do the following duties:

  • Monitor and operate solar power generation equipment, including PV panels, inverters, batteries, tracking systems, and monitoring devices.
  • Perform routine inspections of solar arrays to identify any damage, soiling, or shading that may affect energy production and take necessary corrective actions.
  • Monitor energy production, system efficiency, and weather conditions to assess the performance of the solar power plant.
  • Adjust solar panel angles or tracking systems to maximize energy absorption based on the sun’s position and environmental factors.
  • Conduct regular maintenance and cleaning of solar panels to ensure optimal efficiency and remove dirt, dust, or debris that may hinder sunlight absorption.
  • Troubleshoot and diagnose issues with solar power equipment, such as faulty connections, wiring problems, or equipment malfunctions, and perform repairs as needed.
  • Monitor and manage energy storage systems, such as batteries or thermal storage units, to ensure efficient energy storage and discharge.
  • Monitor and analyze data from monitoring systems and meters to identify trends, patterns, and anomalies in energy production or system performance.
  • Collaborate with engineering and maintenance teams to plan and schedule equipment maintenance, inspections, and repairs.
  • Maintain accurate records of energy production, maintenance activities, equipment performance, and other relevant data.
  • Monitor and ensure compliance with safety regulations, electrical codes, and environmental standards.
  • Respond to alarms, system failures, or abnormal operating conditions promptly, taking appropriate actions to minimize downtime and maximize energy production.
  • Coordinate with grid operators and utility companies to manage the integration of solar power into the electrical grid and ensure smooth power supply.
  • Stay updated on industry advancements, new technologies, and best practices in solar power generation to enhance operational efficiency and system performance.
  • Conduct regular safety inspections and implement safety protocols to minimize risks associated with working at solar power plant sites.
  • Participate in training programs and professional development opportunities to enhance technical skills and stay abreast of industry trends.
  • Educate and provide guidance to other team members, contractors, or visitors on solar power plant operations, safety procedures, and environmental considerations.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to solar power plant operator:

solar electricity power plant operative
solar array operative
solar farm operative
solar power plant safety operator
solar power plant maintenance operator
solar energy plant operative
solar farm worker
solar energy plant operator
solar power plant maintenance operative
solar electric power plant operator
solar array worker
solar farm operator
solar electricity power plant operator
solar power plant safety operative
solar energy plant worker
solar array operator
solar electric power plant operative

Working conditions

Solar power plant operators work both indoors and outdoors, depending on the specific tasks and responsibilities. They may spend time in control rooms, monitoring systems and analyzing data, as well as in the field, performing maintenance or troubleshooting tasks on solar panels and related equipment. The work environment can be physically demanding, involving exposure to various weather conditions, including heat, cold, or extreme temperatures. Safety measures, such as proper handling of electrical equipment and adherence to safety protocols, are essential to minimize workplace hazards.

Minimum qualifications

The educational requirements for solar power plant operators can vary, but typically a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Additional technical or vocational training in renewable energy, electrical systems, or related fields is beneficial. Operators undergo specific training in solar power plant operations, safety protocols, and equipment maintenance. Some regions or employers may require operators to obtain relevant certifications or licenses, such as a solar PV installer certification or electrical license. Good technical aptitude, problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work independently are essential for solar power plant operators.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Solar power plant operator is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Solar power plant operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to solar power plant operator.

hydroelectric plant operator
geothermal power plant operator
power production plant operator
fossil-fuel power plant operator
electrical power distributor

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of solar power plant operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of solar power plant operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

electric power generation engineer
substation engineer
wind energy engineer
power plant manager
power distribution engineer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of solar power plant operator.

  • Solar energy: The energy which originates from light and heat from the sun, and which can be harnessed and used as a renewable source of energy using different technologies, such as photovoltaics (PV) for electricity production and solar thermal energy (STE) for thermal energy generation.
  • Electric current: Flow of electric charge, carried by electrons or ions in a medium such as an electrolyte or a plasma.
  • Electrical power safety regulations: The compliance with safety measures which need to be taken during the installation, operation, and maintenance of constructions and equipment which function in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power, such as the appropriate safety gear, equipment handling procedures, and preventive actions.
  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
  • Electric generators: The principles and operations of devices that can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, such as dynamos and alternators, rotors, stators, armatures, and fields.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of solar power plant operator.

  • Maintain records of maintenance interventions: Keep written records of all repairs and maintenance interventions undertaken, including information on the parts and materials used, etc.
  • Install photovoltaic systems: Install systems which generate electrical energy through the conversion of light into electric currents, the photovoltaic effect. Ensure compliance with regulations, and correct installation of the photovoltaic power system.
  • Maintain photovoltaic systems: Perform maintenance tasks and repairs on systems which generate electrical energy through the conversion of light into electric currents, the photovoltaic effect. Ensure compliance with regulations, and correct installation of the photovoltaic power system.
  • Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
  • Respond to electrical power contingencies: Set in motion the strategies created for responding to emergency situations, as well as respond to unforeseen problems, in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power, such as power outages, in order to rapidly solve the problem and return to normal operations.
  • Maintain concentrated solar power systems: Perform routine maintenance as well as repairs on systems which use reflective materials, such as lenses and mirrors, and tracking systems to concentrate sunlight into a beam, which powers an electrical power plant through its heat generation.
  • Install concentrated solar power systems: Install systems which use reflective materials, such as lenses and mirrors, and tracking systems to concentrate sunlight into a beam, which powers an electrical power plant through its heat generation.
  • Apply health and safety standards: Adhere to standards of hygiene and safety established by respective authorities.
  • Monitor electric generators: Monitor the operation of electric generators in power stations in order to ensure functionality and safety, and to identify need for repairs and maintenance.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of solar power plant operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Electricity consumption: The different factors which are involved in the calculation and estimation of electricity consumption in a residence or facility, and methods in which electricity consumption can be lowered or made more efficient.
Automation technology: Set of technologies that make a process, system, or apparatus operate automatically through the use of control systems.
Renewable energy technologies: The different types of energy sources which cannot be depleted, such as wind, solar, water, biomass, and biofuel energy. The different technologies used to implement these types of energy to an increasing degree, such as wind turbines, hydroelectric dams, photovoltaics, and concentrated solar power.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of solar power plant operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Resolve equipment malfunctions: Identify, report and repair equipment damage and malfunctions; communicate with field representatives and manufacturers to obtain repair and replacement components.
Ensure safety in electrical power operations: Monitor and control operations on an electrical power transmission and distribution system in order to ensure that major risks are controlled and prevented, such as electrocution risks, damage to property and equipment, and instability of transmission or distribution.
Install electrical and electronic equipment: Install equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work, or equipment to generate, transfer or measure such currents and fields. This equipment includes switchboards, electric motors, generators or direct current systems.
Arrange equipment repairs: Arrange for equipment repairs when necessary.
Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
Ensure compliance with electricity distribution schedule: Monitor the operations of an electrical energy distribution facility and electricity distribution systems in order to ensure that the distribution goals and the electricity supply demands are met.
Operate steam turbine: Operate equipment which uses thermal energy, extracted from pressurised steam, to generate rotary motion. Ensure that the turbine is balanced, and operates according to safety regulations and legislation, by monitoring the equipment during operations.
Provide information on solar panels: Provide organisations and individuals searching for alternative methods to provide facilities and residences with energy on the costs, benefits, and negative aspects of the installation and use of solar panels, and what one must take into account when considering the purchase and installation of solar systems.
Develop strategies for electricity contingencies: Develop and implement strategies which ensure that swift and efficient actions can be taken in the event of a disruption in the generation, transmission, or distribution of electrical energy, such as a power outage or sudden increase of demand.
Set up machine controls: Set up or adjust machine controls to regulate conditions such as material flow, temperature, or pressure.
Read engineering drawings: Read the technical drawings of a product made by the engineer in order to suggest improvements, make models of the product or operate it.
Coordinate electricity generation: Communicate the current demand of electricity generation to electricity generation workers and facilities in order to ensure that the generation of electrical power can be increased or decreased accordingly.
Liaise with engineers: Collaborate with engineers to ensure common understanding and discuss product design, development and improvement.
Ensure equipment maintenance: Ensure that the equipment required for operations is regularly checked for faults, that routine maintenance tasks are performed, and that repairs are scheduled and performed in the case of damage or flaws.
Replace large components: Dismantle and reassemble equipment or system parts in order to replace large defective elements such as generators or engines.
Control temperature: Measure and adjust temperature of a given space or object.

ISCO group and title

3131 – Power production plant operators

  1. Solar power plant operator – ESCO
  2. Featured image: By Vitor Oliveira from Torres Vedras, PORTUGAL – Central Solar Fotovoltaica de Amareleja – Portugal, CC BY-SA 2.0
Last updated on June 18, 2023