SWITCH On Skills

Free  |  Level 4 (5 credits)  |  Swansea University  |  Online  |  12 Weeks

This course delves into the financial principles underpinning the construction and operation of renewable energy infrastructure, including wind farms, solar farms, and hydroelectric power plants. While the focus is on renewable energy projects, these principles apply broadly to any large infrastructure project. Central to these projects is the funding method known as Project Finance. Participants will learn to use a common spreadsheet to create a financial model, calculating key metrics to determine the financial viability of renewable energy projects.

Who Should Attend

This course is tailored for individuals working in the renewable energy sector or in generic project finance. It is ideal for those looking to develop small-scale renewable energy projects, such as wind turbines or small solar farms, but who currently need an understanding of the financial workings of such projects. The course provides a comprehensive overview of the terminology, structure, and processes involved.

Additionally, this course benefits individuals, groups, and small consultancy firms with some familiarity in the field who wish to deepen their knowledge and capability in project finance. It is particularly useful for those aiming to offer project finance services or to understand better financial models provided by third parties.

As an introductory course, it has practical limitations clearly outlined throughout. However, it is a solid foundation for building knowledge, enabling participants to develop a basic understanding and confidence in analysing projects and asking pertinent questions.

Prior knowledge of using spreadsheets, particularly Microsoft Excel, is advantageous. Due to time constraints, the course only covers basic Excel usage. Nevertheless, the financial model is built step-by-step using examples, culminating in a fully functional model that can be used during the course and in future projects.

Course Aims

  • → Guide students step-by-step to create a financial model using common spreadsheet software, calculating metrics like net present value and internal rate of return for assessing the financial viability of renewable energy projects.
  • → Teach students about key players, stakeholders, and parties involved in developing and operating renewable energy projects, and consider metrics from their perspectives.
  • → Use model results to understand the financial feasibility of projects through fictitious examples, and compare various projects using a consistent set of rules.
  • → Instruct on calculating electrical energy yield from wind and solar using common methods and free online tools.
  • → Compare the created model against a well-established finance model provided by the Welsh government energy service.
  • → Equip students with the knowledge to understand and create their own project finance models, analyse other financial models, and calculate electrical yield from wind or solar generators.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • → Financial Modelling:
    • → Develop a financial model using spreadsheet software to calculate key metrics such as Net Present Value (NPV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for renewable energy projects.
  • → Stakeholder Analysis:
    • → Identify and understand the roles of key players and stakeholders in renewable energy projects and evaluate financial metrics from their perspectives.
  • → Project Assessment:
    • → Apply financial modelling techniques to fictitious examples to determine the financial viability of renewable energy projects and compare various projects using a common set of criteria.
  • → Energy Yield Calculation:
    • → Using common methods calculate electrical energy yield from wind and solar sources.
  • → Model Comparison:
    • → Compare and contrast the created financial model against a well-established finance model provided by the Welsh Government Energy Service.
  • → Practical Application:
    • → Understand and apply the pertinent inputs and formulas to create a project finance model and analyse other financial models effectively.
    • → Assess the financial feasibility of renewable energy projects and make informed decisions based on financial metrics and energy yield calculations.

Course Delivery

The course is conveniently delivered through Swansea University’s Learning Management System, Canvas, providing a seamless online learning experience. The course spans 12 weeks, requiring participants to dedicate approximately 3 hours per week to complete it. This structure allows for a manageable yet comprehensive exploration of project finance for renewable energy.

Throughout the course, participants will engage in three progressive assessment quizzes, followed by a written assessment in the form of a short report. We have tried to keep this course as true to real world scenarios as possible and so the final assessment reflects this. All assessments are conveniently submitted through the secure and user-friendly platform Canvas.

To ensure a supportive and enriching learning environment, expert guidance and assistance are readily available from our project lecturers and dedicated learning technologists. These experienced professionals can be easily reached through Canvas or via email.


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