Solar Business Masters Series

Online

Instructors: Keith Cronin, Chris Lord

Subjects: Solar: Business Growth, Solar: Marketing and Sales

Length: 13 modules

Description

This is a series of our top two solar business courses taught by experts Chris Lord and Keith Cronin. When you enroll in this series you will receive access to two full online courses:

Certificates of completion are available for each individual course after all assignments are completed. Students who complete both courses earn a Solar Business Masters Series certificate.

If you plan to take the series, we recommend starting with the Solar Executive MBA Training. Enroll in this series for additional savings. Each course has sessions starting 4 times per year and you can choose any session.

If you are already a HeatSpring student and have completed one of these courses and would like to now take the other course, please contact us and we will make sure you get the bundled savings. You will also be eligible to earn a Solar Business Masters Series certificate.

Ready To Sign Up Today? Click Here to Enroll

Self Paced Online Course

This online course is self-paced. You can begin instantly upon enrollment.

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 enrollment. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. 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.

Instructors

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Keith Cronin

SunHedge LLC

Keith Cronin is an in-demand business consultant. He has helped solar companies achieve their goals through his perspective, recruiting, coaching sessions and products. After his company was acquired by SunEdison, he decided to help people and serve others in Hawaii and across the globe. After his tenure with SunEdison, he founded SunHedge. SunHedge assists small...[more]

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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]

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.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (1 minute) (Video) preview
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile (Text)
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board (Text)
Module 1 - Development Plan

What are the six most critical factors to consider for your project? This week, we will go through the stages of a development plan and provide a scheduling tool you can use to quickly assess if a prospective project will provide you with the necessary returns and help you manage risk. The six critical items are: site control, permitting, power offtake, project financing, interconnection, and engineering. We've discovered that these critical items are often overlooked or not properly prioritized. By not combing through this process early, many solar integrators, developers, and finance partners end up chasing too many deals, draining resources that could be put to better use. The week's homework assignment is to create a project development plan for a sample scenario, including as many relevant details as possible.

Module 2 - Sizing a Distributed Generation System and Economic Modeling Basics

This week, with an overview of project planning and our development plan exercise behind us, we are now ready to size the PV system and tackle the economic modeling to determine if the project is financially viable. This week's curriculum is divided into two lessons: The first lesson covers distributed generation sizing. We've created a sample distributed generation project for you to evaluate and provide a proposal for. You'll look at the electric bill and determine the actual energy usage from the demand usage at the facility to come up with a true cost per kWh for electricity for your proposal. With the Excel tool that is provided, you'll figure out how much solar you can put on the roof of the building and how much energy the system will create. The second lesson covers economic modeling. We cover some basic commands, formulas and functions within Excel that will enable us to build a successful financial model of our proposed PV system. Once we are comfortable with these basic commands, formulas, and functions, we will graduate to our demo solar PV project model. Using this fully functional model as our guide, we will take a close look at planning and structuring a solar PV model, including some basic good housekeeping practices and organization. We will then take an in-depth tour to see how the individual modules and worksheets come together to create a look at the unstructured economics of a project and how a partnership flip works for such a project. We will focus for a close up look at the debt module, depreciation module and calculation of internal rate of return (IRR) and net present value (NPV). The week's homework assignment is to build your own model. We will provide you with a template that shows all or most of your inputs and the necessary steps to create the unstructured view and the partnership flip view. Your task will be to build the formulas within the model the arrive at useful outputs.

Module 3 - Risk Management and Budgeting

Solar developers often win jobs due to their allocations of labor, overhead, and profits. What if there was a way to identify, measure, track and know these key performance indicators and share them with your team? In the first part of this week's lesson, we go deep into your company's labor, overhead, and budgeting to give you a sense of what your costs are and how you can manage them and make adjustments. As you continue to develop your understanding of how to model the project economics using your completed (or in-process) demo model, you will look at the various project incentives and subsidies available to solar projects around the country. There are four main categories: federal tax, state tax, direct incentives, and solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). We will also familiarize ourselves with the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) and touch upon feed-in tariffs. To conclude the week, we will consider how how prospective investors value a project and the implications of their methods.

Module 4 - Request for Proposal (RFP) and Financing Strategies

This week, you will learn about request for proposal (RFP) process and respond to a sample RFP. RFPs are put out for many projects and understanding the requirements of an RFP and if you can meet them is critical to your success. In addition, we will cover solar PV financial structures, specifically the partnership flip, sale-leaseback and pass-through lease (sometimes referred to as the inverted lease). We will also take a look at risk management in the context of project financing. Specific topics include insolation risk, leverage and credit risk. You will receive a sample RFP document and an Excel model for calculating leverage on a deal.

Module 5 - Contract Document Explanation - Video Lessons - Why, What, How and Who Explained

As you expand your solar business, legal and contractual documents will become vital to your risk management and general strategy. These may include: letter of intent (LOI), land lease, memorandum of understanding (MOU), power purchase agreement (PPA), site lease, special purpose entity (SPE), operation and maintenance (O&M) agreement, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement, etc. This week, we will provide sample documents for your reference, walk you through the essential elements of the documents, and share anecdotes and perspectives about what they are and how you will use them. An outgrowth of your development plan must be a resource management plan. An important part of a resource management plan is recognizing what work is best done internally versus externally. We'll spend some time discussing how to manage employees and contractors. This is a critical consideration because it's how you'll spend all of your time once you get a project approved.

Module 6 - Putting It All Together

This week, we will walk through our completed models, summarize where we got our data and how we used it, and assess the strength and financial value of our proposed project. We will also stitch together the economic model, cost modeling, and development plan to give you one place to determine system price to make it flow to the modeling. We will also answer any lingering questions from the the previous five weeks of the course.

Module 7 - Who is Your Client? The Buyers Journey

This week will get you focused on thinking about your clients in new ways. As Joseph Campbell coined the phrase - "The Hero's Journey", let's walk through how a buyer goes through the process of interest to decision to work with you. It can be said that everything your client does or doesn't do, revolves around a story (same for you as well). If you want to know what is driving their behavior (and yours), watch this series.

Module 8 - Copywriting, Google, Testimonials

Copywriting is distilled down to person to person communication. Let's see how this works in things you purchase and why it is so powerful to speak to one person and not everyone. Google are the masters of communication. In all their might, is simplicity. Learn how they talk to you in subtle, yet powerful ways. Testimonials - Why are they important? Today if you have a smart phone, its never been easier. And here's why.

Module 9 - Your Team, Recruiting & Hiring

As we look at the second pillar of your goals, after your clients, is your team. This section will look at finding the best, leading them and making leaders out of them. How to attract the right person for the role? Often it comes down to what you say and how you say it.

Module 10 - Systems For Business

One of the most challenging things about any business is creating systems. Things that are stuck in someone's mind that they do every day, often without thinking about them. They become habits. Unfortunately, when companies hire new people to take over a role, they have to constantly ask the original person (often the owner of a company in the early days) what to do. Wouldn't it be better to have a detailed process template to refer to? Here it is!

Module 11 - Ad Writing

In order to attract the right people to our organization, we need to write compelling ads. This module walks you through ad writing.

Module 12 - Storytelling and Journalism

Since we were first able to read or be read to by our parents or siblings, storytelling has captured our imagination. This has expanded to novels, movies and all forms of communication. It is a must for making an emotional connection to your audience. We also see this in journalism in the print media and in the news.

Module 13 - Bonus Module: Flat Rate Pricing, Customer Acquisition Costs, Sales Strategies

Eat at a restaurant- do they charge by the hour? How about when you buy a refrigerator? Let us show you how you can FRP in your business. Customer Acquisition Costs - As the industry has known, this number is excruciatingly high. How can we bring it down? This lesson will offer some insights. Sales Strategies - While every company has different strategies for O&M, here are a few ways to approach it.

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, request a certificate of completion, and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year). Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. Let us know what you do next and how we can help.

  • 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)

Students who took this course also took

Solar Executive MBA Training

Rigorous, hands-on business training for solar professionals. Learn all of the skills to finance the commercial solar projects in your pipeline. Includes Excel modeling, legal documents, individual feedback, and weekly conference calls.

Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects

This is a unique and intensive hands-on course on modeling distributed generation solar PV projects. The course includes sample models of an unstructured income statement, a partnership flip, and a sale-leaseback.