The default inputs for the financial model are geared 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 residential, commercial and industrial scale but the examples focus primarily on utility scale. The course covers all of the principles behind utility scale and distributed generation solar. The models scale equally between them because the principles remain constant. That said, utility scale solar prices tend to be much lower (benefiting from the larger economies of scale), but this is reflected through management of the various input variables. The course and materials really are infinitely expandable.
Yes we get many international students who take the course. Approximately 25% of the course material is specific to the US, the rest is applicable to any country. The inputs for the financial 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.
The course content is pre-recorded so it does not have a specific time that you need to be logged in or present for the course lectures or assignments. During the two instructor-led session the instructors Keith Cronin and Chris Lord will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board, reviewing and providing feedback on the required project work and hosting a weekly conference call on Fridays at 12pm to 1pm Eastern Time. The calls are a chance for students to have a discussion with the instructors and ask additional questions. The calls are optional and are recorded and posted in the class if you are unable to attend. Questions can be posted to the discussion board anytime and the instructors will respond typically within one business day. You get access to all of the content as soon as you enroll and can work ahead. After the two instructor led sessions end (11 weeks total), you'll continue to have access to the full course content for a full year and can complete the courses on your own and earn your certificate of completion, you just won't have the instructors' guidance after the sessions end.
Thank you for your questions. I believe this course would be excellent for you, given your relevant background experience in the industry and in Finance. You should not be concerned about your lack of modeling experience with excel, the financial models used are already built, so its more a matter of understanding how to use the tools and plug in the correct variables for any given project. That being said it may not hurt to brush up on your excel skills prior to taking the course.
The instructors Chris Lord and Keith Cronin will be assisting you during the instructor-led sessions, during which they will be answering questions on the discussion board, reviewing and providing feedback on the required project work and hosting a weekly conference call. So there will be plenty of time to ask questions and they will be happy to help you along the way.
Both courses included in this certificate program are very intensive and geared towards working professionals in the solar industry. The Solar Executive MBA Training course offers some more introductory material but there may be things that are over your head, particularly in the second course, Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects.
That being said, the courses are very flexible and some people learn better having all the information and even getting a taste for what they don't know. Also the exposure to this information helps people in getting a better understanding of the language of the industry, even if not 100% of the information is absorbed.
You get access to all of the course materials as soon as you enroll, then after the instructor-led sessions end (a total of 11 weeks between the two courses) you'll continue to have access to all of the course materials for a full year and can complete the courses on your own pace and earn your certificates.