Energy Finance
Marketing and Sales

Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects

Chris Lord • Last updated 06/2022

4.3/5 (view ratings)
173 students
5 modules
10:22 hours
49 assignments

Course description

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

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Learning Objectives

Participants in this course will upon completion of this course, be able to:

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

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.

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Full 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 get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
Module 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 (07:35 minutes) Preview
  • Housekeeping (09:56 minutes) Preview
  • Planning and Organizing (20:40 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment Description and File Upload
  • Solar Modeling Class 1 Homework Sample - Site Lease vs. Buy (Excel) (.xlsx)
  • Week 1 Presentation Slides (.pdf)
  • Solar Model with 8760 and Cash Flow v1.7 (.xlsx)
  • Video Recording of Class Call, 4/8/22 (56:48 minutes)
  • Video of Class Call on June 13 2022 (58:47 minutes)
Module 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 (19:23 minutes)
  • Model Tour - Solar Production and Revenue (16:02 minutes)
  • Model Tour - Partnership Flip and Customer Analysis (25:35 minutes)
  • Model Tour - Unstructured and EBITDA (20:31 minutes)
  • Homework Assignment - Unstructured Model (.pdf)
  • Homework Assignment - File Upload
  • Supplemental Video - Auditing & Correcting a Name for Insurance Calculations (08:40 minutes)
  • Solar Model with 8760 and Cash Flow Template for Homework v1.6 (.xlsx)
  • Partnership Flip Overview (.pdf)
  • Class Call Recording 02/11/22 (59:20 minutes)
Module 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 (36:07 minutes)
  • Modeling Overview: 12 Basic Commands, Functions, and Formulas - Part 2 (18:45 minutes)
  • Modeling Overview: 12 Basic Commands, Functions, and Formulas - Part 3 (15:22 minutes)
  • Modeling Overview: Four Important Features or Tools (28:31 minutes)
  • Week 3 Homework (.pdf)
  • Homework Assignment - File Upload
  • Solar Model - 12 Basic Commands Formulas and Functions (.xlsx)
  • Class Call Recording 02/18/22 (01:02:07 hours)
Module 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 (28:06 minutes) Preview
  • Presentation Slides - Depreciation (.pdf)
  • Depreciation Example (.xlsx)
  • Understanding and Modeling the Partnership Flip (34:58 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Partnership Flip (.pdf)
  • Leverage (34:07 minutes)
  • Presentation Slides - Leverage (.pdf)
  • Leverage Example (.xlsx)
  • Complete & Upload the Customer Analysis Worksheet in your Template Model.
  • Class Call Recording 02 25 22 (01:00:49 hours)
Module 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
  • Class Call 5 - Related Article
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20
  • Audio recording of Class Call, 03/20/20
Conclusion - Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate


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... Learn more


18 reviews

173 students have taken this course

by Tom Griffith, Sales Executive, Advanced Green Technologies 05/02/2023

I am delighted to share with you my experience with Heatspring Solar Financing education and the outstanding service provided by Keith and Chris. I was in the market for solar financing education, and after doing some research, I decided to work with Heatspring. From the initial first class to the end Keith and Chris were professional, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful throughout the entire process. Keith and Chris were always available to answer any questions I had, and they kept me informed every step of the way. They went above and beyond to ensure I left the class with as much new material and knowledge as possible. Learning from Keith and Chris was a seamless experience. They were easy to work with, responsive, and exceptional mentors thru out my time in this course. I appreciate their expertise and attention to detail, and I highly recommend them to anyone in need of solar financing education.

by Andrea Cirrone, Technical Asset Manager, VectorCuatro Group 11/17/2018

Excellent course to understand the fundamentals of financing for PV projects. Useful material provided each week.

by Sachiko Graber, Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute 09/23/2018

Chris did an excellent job explaining modeling in an approachable way, and by having to build out my own financial model I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to analyze solar PV projects!

by Jeffrey Wootan, Business Development Manager, SunBug Solar, LLC 09/21/2018

I will follow up on this

by Rana Zabaneh, Head Of Monitoring Contracts &Finance, Mass Energy Group Holding 06/23/2018

The course covers the financial Model structure in a professional form that can be utilized in Solar projects mainly in the US, however the formulas structure are efficient in all solar projects. I extremely benefited from the material and Excel strategies used. Excellent Course !!

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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 5 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.

How long do I have access to the materials?

Students get unlimited access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after enrollment. 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. After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.

Is there a certificate of completion?

Yes, 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.

Can I register multiple people?

Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Groups page to get a group discount.

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