Solar Executive MBA Training


Length: 6 weeks

Instructors: Keith Cronin, Chris Lord

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

Student Rating

Rating: 8.7/10 (view ratings)
230 students have taken this course


Access the tools, knowledge, and network you need to close solar deals, increase your bottom line, and grow your solar business. The Solar Executive MBA is comprehensive, technical, and challenging business training for leaders dealing with the the financial details that drive large-scale solar projects. Access financial modeling tools and legal documents worth $25k.

Group discounts are available. Email for details.

Please note - You'll need a recent version of Microsoft Excel and an intermediate level of skill using the software in order to be successful in this course.

This course doesn't offer college credit toward a degree. Rather, it's an intense, targeted learning experience for professionals who need to build a very specific skill set.

Learning Objectives

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Tools & Documents Worth $25,000

This course contains over $25,000 worth of sample legal contracts, documents, and modeling tools that you will need to develop and finance a commercial solar project.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Keith and Chris have distilled decades of industry experience into a truly unique and valuable course. We are confident that you will get your money's worth out of this experience. After the first week of the course, it you don't agree, let us know and we'll make it right or refund your money.

International Students Welcome

Although the lectures and discussions in this course focus on the United States, students from over 20 different countries have participated. They have found that much of the material is applicable to their own work.

Self-Paced Online Course

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. The course will not officially begin until the scheduled start date, but students are encouraged to work ahead when possible.

Access Information and Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible for as long as the course is offered on the marketplace, with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. 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 one-click LinkedIn integration.

The Solar Executive MBA is rigorous, in-depth, and completely worthwhile for anyone looking to further their knowledge of the financial mechanisms of the solar industry. It is not for the faint of heart (many late nights told me that). Bringing together the immense expertise and differing teaching styles of Keith Cronin and Chris Lord resulted in a very well-rounded curriculum. The combination of videos, assignments, weekly conference calls and lively discussion board felt more like in-person training than an online course! Well done Keith, Chris, and HeatSpring.

- Rachel Bannon-Godfrey, Ambient Energy

Both instructors were excellent and clearly drew upon a wealth of experience in the solar industry. I really appreciated their level of engagement in the calls and discussions board, and especially review of homework assignments.

- Rob McAtee, Hankins and Anderson

Commercial solar is all about financing and structuring the deal. While I had previously spent quite a bit of time doing financial analysis of solar PV systems, the Solar Executive MBA course provided me with the big picture of how all the pieces fit together. Not to mention the value of interacting with the instructors on questions specific to my situation. I highly recommend this course.

- Dennis Kready, Kready Solarbazaar

What an amazing course. For all people wishing to know about the ecosystem around solar, this course is for you. I am sure I would have saved myself a very large amount of money had I taken this course prior to running my own EPC.

- Greg Stace, Avensol (Switzerland)

This is the ONLY resource I have been able to find that provides step-by-step solar financial modeling instructions. If you are trying to learn more about the processes and financial analysis behind solar projects, this is the class for you!

- Lindsay Hornbecker, AquaSan

Great course. Chris and Keith are top-notch solar experts that will guide you through the understanding of solar financing and how the market works. This course is great for those seeking a more in depth understating on how to structure financial models for different scenarios out there like PPAs, partnership flips, etc. Highly recommended.

- Ernesto Grossmann, Golden Solar Electric

The course gave me hands-on tools and techniques to understand the solar energy business and apply to my projects. Thumbs up!

- Diego Escalante, Helios Holdings


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Keith Cronin

SunHedge LLC

Keith Cronin is an in-demand business consultant, speaker and founder of The Solar Business Blueprint, a life changing training program that assists business owners with the tools, resources and metrics needed to grow and manage their solar businesses. He has helped solar companies achieve their goals through his training, speeches, coaching sessions and products....[more]

Chris lord  square .png?ixlib=rb 1.1

Chris Lord

CapIron, Inc.

Christopher J. Lord is a lawyer with deep banking experience, and the Managing Director of CapIron, Inc., a firm he founded in late 2011, to provide advisory and consulting services to customers, owners, developers, utilities, suppliers, installers and distributors covering the full range of value-add in renewable energy and energy efficiency. CapIron has provided...[more]

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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. Course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. Typically access is extended for much longer. Your instructor will be in the course and participating in the discussion during the posted session dates. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

Week 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.

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). Typically access is extended for much longer without any action needed. If access is removed, contact us for an extension. 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.

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