The utility-scale photovoltaic power plants are facing unique challenges compared to the traditional fossil fuel-based power plant in terms of faults localization, diversity, and frequency. The complex nature of faults raises serious concerns about grid-connectivity of photovoltaic plants in terms of operability, power quality, grid stability, and breakdown vulnerability. One of the predominant problems concerning utility-scale photovoltaic power plants remains in the variety, frequency, and nature of faults occurring during operation. In this research work, an online novel cost-effective two-layered fault monitoring scheme is introduced based upon the thermal and electrical signatures. The proposed scheme is implemented on a 1.6 kW photovoltaic array and various faults (short circuit, open circuit, and ground fault) are induced in the photovoltaic modules. The scheme shows promising results in fault monitoring and classification without making any hardware modifications in the solar module. The proposed scheme is compared and validated through thermography and results indicates that the proposed fault monitoring scheme can monitor and characterize the faults effectively compared to traditional means through thermography.