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Photovoltaic Project Development Using RETScreen 4 - Self Study

Michael Ross • Last updated 02/2021

4.5/5 (view ratings)
1047 students
1 module
1:14 hours
6 assignments

Course description

This is a free opportunity for you to use RETScreen to model a solar PV project from start to finish.

A large number of factors affect the financial feasibility of a photovoltaic project. These range from the solar resource, equipment costs and financing terms, to tax considerations. RETScreen 4 software provides a rapid “prefeasibility” analysis of a proposed photovoltaic project that includes all these major factors affecting profitability. This is useful when first examining a proposed photovoltaic project; it allows quick evaluation of different project scenarios and helps identify the key determinants of project success. Although it does not replace in-depth engineering and financial tools, it can also be useful as a global summary—easily understood, shared, and communicated—as the project develops and planning becomes more detailed.

This free course will introduce the RETScreen 4 software (freely available at through an example of its use for assessing a proposed utility-scale photovoltaic project. Participants will learn about the software’s capabilities for assessing photovoltaic plant production, project costs, greenhouse gas emissions calculations, and financial analysis.

At the end of the seminar, the participant will be able to start using RETScreen 4 to explore considerations related to the profitability of his or her own photovoltaic projects, and see how the same tool could be applied to wind, hydro, or other clean energy projects.

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Full course outline

Module 1 - Analysis of Photovoltaic System Feasiblity

The lecture video is posted and available to view any time. You can also download a 30-minute Q+A call recording that covers different uses of RETScreen 4 and RETScreen Plus, a comparison to PVWatts, and basics on how to conduct a financial or sensitivity analysis.

  • RETScreen 4
  • Lecture: Quick Analysis of Photovoltaic System Feasiblity with RETScreen® 4 (1 hour 15 minutes) (01:14:52 hours)
  • Optional reading: How to Normalize Energy Consumption For Weather Influences Using RETScreen®
  • 30-minute Q+A call recording (MP3)


Michael Ross

Michael M. D. Ross has taught RETScreen courses to thousands of people across Canada, in the United States, and in France, and has assisted RETScreen International in the preparation of much of its e-learning course material. Over the past 15 years, he has held research and consulting positions related to renewable energy and energy efficiency in both Canada and Europe.... Learn more


121 reviews

1,047 students have taken this course

by Charles Githinji 04/14/2023

I have a very well grounded on sizing a PV system

by monaem elmnifi 09/30/2020


by Jagadeesh Palle 08/18/2020

i enjoyed a lot

by Michael Aba 05/26/2020

This course is a great introduction to the RETscreen Prefeasiblity analysis tool for power projects. Its easy to follow and immediately begin to practice.

by Saravanan S 04/09/2020

This course is very much helpful for my development

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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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