Energy Finance
Marketing and Sales

Finance 101 for Renewable Energy Professionals - Self Study

by Chris Williams • Last updated 02/2021

4.3/5 (view ratings)
3666 students
4 modules
21 assignments

Course description

Take this free course to gain a basic and deeper understanding of how to evaluate and communicate the financial implications for property owners to invest in geothermal, solar PV, or solar thermal projects.

We start the course with understanding the basics of financial analysis.
You'll learn how to perform discounted cash flow analysis, calculate net present value (NPV) of a project and how the discount rate will impact the NPV, as well as the internal rate of return (IRR). More importantly, we'll discuss what these terms actually mean in plain english.

Then, we'll discuss how to calculate the financial implications of specific technologies
We'll cover the considerations that need to be taken into account that are technology-specific.

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Full course outline

Module 1 - Finance Basics

In this section, you will learn how to perform discounted cash flow analysis, calculate net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and how to set discount rates. More importantly, we'll discuss what these numbers actually mean and how to talk about them in plain English.

  • Basic Finance Terminology
  • "Choice of Discount Rates" - Whole LifeCost Forum
  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • Discounting Future Income and Present Value
  • Basic NPV and IRR Calculator (.xls)
Module 2 - Finance 101 For Solar PV

Solar PV is by far the easiest technology to determine the direct financial impacts of a project. The tutorial will walk through the impact of: 1) Gross and net installed costs, including how to calculate the value of government incentives, like MACRS 2) The impact of demand and use charges solar PV projects 3) How power production estimates and existing utility rates will impact the value a solar PV installation.

  • "Finance 101 for Solar PV Professionals" from HeatSpring Magazine
  • "Tracking the Sun" Cost Data
  • "Cost and Performance Assumptions for Modeling Electricity Generation Technologies" - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) (.pdf)
  • "Depreciation of Solar Energy Property in MACRS" - Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
  • "How to Calculate the MACRS Depreciation Benefit of Going Solar" - Sunbridge Solar
  • Feed-In Tariffs - What are they and how do they work?
  • SREC Market Pricing
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
Module 3 - Finance 101 for Solar Thermal

Learn the impact of 1) Government Incentives 2) Site 3) Geography and 4) Fuel type 5) and Gross and Net Installed Costs on the returns of investing in solar thermal.

  • "Finance 101 for Solar Thermal Professionals" from HeatSpring Magazine
Module 4 - Finance 101 For Geothermal

For geothermal, it is more difficult to precisely predict the financial implications because there are many variables in each project. This tutorial will walk you through general financial implications for 1) Customer types 2) Construction applications 3) Various fuel sources geothermal is compared against.

  • "Finance 101 for Geothermal Professionals" from HeatSpring Magazine
  • "Selling Geothermal as a Hedge Against Rising Energy Prices" - HeatSpring Magazine
  • Equivalent Energy Cost Comparison of Conventional Energy Sources with Geothermal Heat Pumps (.xlsx)
  • "Comparative Analysis of the Life Cycle Costs of Geothermal Heat Pumps and Three Conventional HVAC Systems for an Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska"
  • Ground Source Heat Pump Performance Survey by Dr. Steve Kavanaugh (.xlsx)


Chris Williams


Chris Williams is from SalesHuddle. Our mission is to elevate sales into an honorable craft. We do through through regular, peer to peer huddles where we have open, honest, deep and candid conversation about what's really happening with our sales and within ourselves, with a focus on 3 areas. Chris has worked with HeatSpring, Nexamp, Ground Energy Support, and on... Learn more


199 reviews

3,666 students have taken this course

by Ismail Ali 05/30/2022

Let's learn with heatspring

by Edmund Ezie, Founder, Mundez Integrated Services 05/23/2022

Appreciated the effort in putting all this together, it was informative and a nice refresher.

by Lamey Fathey Atalla Abdou 04/19/2022

هذه الدورة مفيده وممتعه

by Deepak Nagar 06/18/2020


by jack ailey, Co-president, Ailey Solar Electric 05/16/2020

I found the financial analysis sections in the PV course very helpful.

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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

This is a free course. Enroll today and get access to all of the materials instantly. The lecture video and other materials are available any time.

How long do I have access to the materials?

For free courses there is no guarantee for how long the course materials will be available.

Is there a certificate of completion?

Certificates of completion are only provided to HeatSpring Membership subscribers. This course has not been approved by any credentialing organizations (NABCEP, AIA, USGBC etc) for Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). This course is for self education purposes only and completion does not indicate a level of professional expertise or credential.

Can I register multiple people?

Yes, this is a free course so you can share this page with other people from your group.

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