Meet one of our changemakers, operations & maintenance leader Fídias Martins.
Fídias is the manager at Scatec’s Apodi solar power plant in the northeastern state of Ceara, Brazil. He is an electrical engineer and has been working in the energy sector for 15 years, starting out in oil & gas and switching over to renewables the first chance he got.
There are 20 people working at Apodi, and the plant will soon celebrate its fourth anniversary of operations. Fídias came on board about two years ago to serve as the new manager for the team, something that raised concerns among the staff.
“I think they were wondering who I was and what I was trying to do,” reflects Fídias. “It’s always difficult to change leaders, and my challenge was to make them feel comfortable and set some clear goals that we could achieve together.”
Fídias’ first step was to open the lines of communication and build a stronger understanding of their common ambitions. He used the daily safety meeting to address other topics as well, talking more about the challenges faced and the opportunities to be seized.
Step-by-step the Apodi team began working together to implement improvements, acting on the many ideas presented by the team. One such idea brought forth by the team was to manually increase the power limit for the 136 inverters in the plant. Another idea was to improve the cleaning strategy for the solar panels, as well as replace more than 16,000 fuses in the plant. All of these actions immediately resulted in critical gains for daily production.
“Once we were all on the same page and understood what we were working towards and why, we started to make some positive progress,” he says. “It was also great to get ideas directly from the team on steps we could take to achieve better production, and then act together to implement it.”
The change in leadership style was tough at first, but the Apodi team managed to embrace it and take their operations to the next level.
“It’s difficult to keep any team motivated and it may be impossible to do it all the time. But it’s very important that leaders work constantly to motivate their teams to achieve shared goals.”
And achieve the goals they did! Just this year, the team has shattered their production records three times in a row. And as the stakes go higher, so does the team.
“A motivated and driven team is great for the company. You simply can’t predict all the ideas and initiatives they will come up with when they are driven to succeed. The results are fantastic!”