About 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

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Learning Objectives

  • 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

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Course outline

7 modules • 49 assignments • 10:22 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 2 assignments
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 • 9 assignments
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 • 10 assignments
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 • 8 assignments
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 • 10 assignments
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 • 6 assignments
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 • 4 assignments
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.
    View profile

    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

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 is this course different from the Solar Executive MBA Training?
The Solar Executive MBA Training and Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects courses are our two most popular solar finance courses. Both courses are taught by solar finance expert Chris Lord, and cover financial modeling for solar projects. However the content and financial models differ in each course and there are several other important differences. Please review this handy comparison guide: Compare: Solar Executive MBA Training VS Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects. This question gets asked a lot, so there are a lot more details there. If you have further questions just contact us.
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.
How applicable is this course to students outside of the United States?
Approximately 25% of the course material is specific to the US, the rest is applicable to any country. The inputs for the model do focus on ITC and depreciation benefits available in US markets, but the model can be easily adapted for straight line or other depreciation methodologies, as well as differing subsidies.

For the most part, we won’t cover the specific subsidies and tax treatments for countries other than the US, but the bulk of the material is readily applicable to all solar projects regardless of the country.

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.
What size of projects are covered - is it for roof top solar projects or for the utility scale (up to 10 to 20 MW) size solar projects?
Inputs for the model are geared a bit more toward a utility scale project, but the size can be scaled up or down as required. Both utility scale and distributed generation projects are covered and the model can be used for any size project including commercial and industrial scale but the examples focus primarily on utility scale.
Will I be given any Excel Models?
Yes. 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.


Based on 20 reviews
students have taken this course

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.

Tom Griffith
Sales Executive, Advanced Green Technologies

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

Andrea Cirrone
Technical Asset Manager, VectorCuatro Group

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!

Sachiko Graber
Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute

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