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Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects


Instructor: Chris Lord

Subjects: Solar: Energy Finance, Solar: Marketing and Sales

Length: 5 weeks

Student Rating

8.4 out of 10 (view ratings)
153 students have taken this course


This is a unique and intensive hands-on course on modeling distributed generation solar PV projects. Although the course comes with sample models of an unstructured income statement, a partnership flip, and a sale-leaseback, the focus is on teaching the tools, techniques, and formulas necessary for efficient and reliable modeling. The four sessions culminate with students setting a PPA rate with escalator and valuing a real project of their own choosing using the models they built, tested, and proofed during the course.

Students will learn to quantitatively assess the value of a project at all stages of development, and measure that value from the perspective of a developer, investor, and customer with a partnership flip. Students will learn to calculate project returns (IRR and NPV), set PPA prices (with and without escalators), calculate the value of tax benefits, including MACRS depreciation and the ITC, and assess the value and timing of non-federal subsidies. Students will also learn the importance of workbook organization and information presentation.

For more information about this course please review this guide: Compare: Solar Executive MBA Training VS Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects

Learning Objectives

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Preview the Course Material

Check out a free preview of the course by clicking the button below. This is a live assignment from the course and will give you a good sense for what the course will be like.

Free Preview - Course Overview
Included: Valuable Excel Models

Students are given a working model of an unstructured project and a project flip. Students are encouraged to create their own models based on templates provided with the class material and to use the working model as a reference tool.

Weekly Conference Calls

One of the best resources in this course is the ability to interact with Chris Lord, your expert instructor and your classmates. We'll have weekly conference calls on Fridays each week during the scheduled session dates. The calls will be recorded and posted if you miss them.

Flexible Online Training for Industry Professionals

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. Get access to all of the course materials as soon as you enroll. The instructor-led session will begin on the scheduled start date. During the session dates the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After the instructor-led session ends, you'll continue to have access to all of the course materials for a full year and can complete the course at your own pace.

Access Information and Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after the session end date. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world.

Earn A Certificate of Completion

When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.

I reviewed your course so one of my staff could take it. Looked good so I approved his enrollment. I did project finance for 17 years.​

- Peter Mandelstam Executive Director, GRID Alternatives Tri-State

Without a strong background in finance, I gained a much better understanding of how financial models work in general and for PV systems specifically. This class also enhanced my Excel skills significantly. Chris explained the course material well and was very helpful on the discussion board and group calls.

- Derek Felschow Sustainable Electrical Systems Leader, Point Energy Innovations

Good information and instructor was available. I liked how interactive the course was, especially the weekly discussions where we could discuss items of interest.

- Isaac Gabel-Frank Senior Associate, Gabel Associates

Chris Lord was excellent teacher; assignments were very relevant and helpful. While it seems hard to address varying levels of Excel/modeling proficiency in one course, I thought it was a good balance.

- Stephen Tobey

The topics are well explained, the site is transparent and the instructor knowledgable

- Martina Nielsen Commercial Manager, Lark Energy

+ Read more student ratings and reviews for this course


Chris Lord

Managing Director, CapIron, Inc.

Christopher J. Lord is the Managing Director of CapIron, Inc., a firm focused, among other things, on helping clients plan, structure and close financings involving renewable energy projects, including Distributed Generation and Utility-Scale Projects. Mr. Lord graduated from Cornell Law School, and practiced corporate law in firms, and in-house, for over 25 years. He...[more]

Free Preview - Course Overview

Course Outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. The course discussion board is a great place to interact with other students and ask questions. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. The instructor-led session runs for the posted dates and you will receive weekly emails to keep you on pace. Course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after the session ends. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (Video - 01:25 minutes) Preview
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Week 1 - Introduction to Modeling

TOPICS: General Principles, Good Practices, Important Functions, Formulas, Commands & Techniques. HOMEWORK: Create a Lease vs. Buy Calculator for Any Project Site

  • Course Overview (Video - 07:35 minutes) Preview
  • Housekeeping (Video - 09:56 minutes) Preview
  • Planning and Organizing (Video - 20:40 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment Description and File Upload (Submit File)
  • Solar Modeling Class 1 Homework Sample - Site Lease vs. Buy (Excel) (Download .xlsx)
  • Week 1 Presentation Slides (Download .pdf)
  • Solar Model with 8760 and Cash Flow v1.7 (Download .xlsx)
  • Video Recording of Class Call, 1/29/21 (Video - 59:52 minutes)
Week 2 - Understanding Key Concepts

TOPICS: Tax Benefits: ITC & Depreciation, Reflecting State Taxes & Incentives, Working with Leverage, Understanding P95 & Insolation. HOMEWORK: Create a Debt Module for Amortizing & Sculpted Loans using template.

  • Model Tour - Overview and Dashboard (Video - 19:23 minutes)
  • Model Tour - Solar Production and Revenue (Video - 16:02 minutes)
  • Model Tour - Partnership Flip and Customer Analysis (Video - 25:35 minutes)
  • Model Tour - Unstructured and EBITDA (Video - 20:31 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment - Unstructured Model (Download .pdf)
  • Homework Assignment - File Upload (Submit File)
  • Supplemental Video - Auditing & Correcting a Name for Insurance Calculations (Video - 08:40 minutes)
  • Solar Model with 8760 and Cash Flow Template for Homework v1.6 (Download .xlsx)
  • Partnership Flip Overview (Download .pdf)
  • Zoom Class Call Recording - 2/5/21 (Video - 01:06:52 hours)
Week 3 - Modeling and Analysis, Part 1

TOPICS: Basic Unstructured Project Model, Buyout Calculations, Mastering IRR and NPV, Using Goal Seek for PPA Pricing. HOMEWORK: Create an Unstructured Model of a Solar Project using the provided template

  • Modeling Overview: 12 Basic Commands, Functions, and Formulas - Part 1 (Video - 36:07 minutes)
  • Modeling Overview: 12 Basic Commands, Functions, and Formulas - Part 2 (Video - 18:45 minutes)
  • Modeling Overview: 12 Basic Commands, Functions, and Formulas - Part 3 (Video - 15:22 minutes)
  • Modeling Overview: Four Important Features or Tools (Video - 28:31 minutes)
  • Week 3 Homework (Download .pdf)
  • Homework Assignment - File Upload (Submit File)
  • Solar Model - 12 Basic Commands Formulas and Functions (Download .xlsx)
  • Zoom Class Call Recording - 2/12/21 (Video - 01:02:37 hours)
Week 4 - Modeling and Analysis, Part 2

TOPICS: Using Goal Seek for PPA Pricing, Modeling Partnership Flips for Year-End and Mid-Year Flips, Analysis and Risk Management, Integrating Your Model with your Business. HOMEWORK: Create a Partnership Flip with provided template; goal seek a PPA price.

  • Depreciation (Video - 28:06 minutes) Preview
  • Presentation Slides - Depreciation (Download .pdf)
  • Depreciation Example (Download .xlsx)
  • Understanding and Modeling the Partnership Flip (Video - 34:58 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Partnership Flip (Download .pdf)
  • Leverage (Video - 34:07 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Leverage (Download .pdf)
  • Leverage Example (Download .xlsx)
  • Complete & Upload the Customer Analysis Worksheet in your Template Model. (Submit File)
  • Zoom Class Call Recording - 02/19/21 (Video - 01:02:51 hours)
Week 5 - Build and Submit Your Own Project Modeling Tool

This is your opportunity to customize the model template from class to be used most efficiently on the projects you're working on.

  • Upload Your Modeling Tool (Submit File)
  • Class Call 5 - Related Article (Text)
  • Class Call 5 Recording (Audio .mp3)
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20 (Video)
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20 (Video)
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20 (Video)
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20 (Video)
After The Course - Feedback and Additional Resources

No matter how great this course is, we know it's just one part of a bigger journey. In this module we'll start thinking about what comes next. You'll provide feedback on the course and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to the course materials for 12 months after the session ends. Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership.

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials (Text)
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member (Resource)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)
Free Preview - Course Overview

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