Please find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions
I was recommended to Pivotal180 by a colleague and I am now considering the renewable online self -paced course. What is the structure of the online course and how many hours of content is the course?
The online course is structured as follows:
- We have lessons, which cover the concepts of the items we will model, such as how to size debt for a project, or what is in a typical PPA Agreement
- Within the lessons we also have Excel demonstrations, using simple annual numbers for 5-10 years
- In addition to this we have a full model walk-through, from start to finish talking through every line in the model
- This is a video and is placed in between the lessons on concepts
- The Excel files are also downloadable, but fundamentally you build up a model from start to finish
- The online class also has a discussion board to answer any questions you may have
The total content online at this stage is approximately 26 hours, this is equivalent to just over a full week course if it were delivered in person.
If I choose the online self-paced version of the course, Can I start whenever I want and take my time to complete or is there a deadline?
If you choose to the online version you can start whenever you choose and work at your own pace. The only deadline is that your purchase entitles you to a full year of access to the course. At the end of the first year there if you have not completed the course or wish to maintain access in order to refresh your skills there is a $100 annual fee. We commit to continually adding materials to the courses which will go even deeper into the subject matter.
At the completion of your course you will receive a certificate of completion from Pivotal180. Once you have completed the course you can of course continue to access the online material until you subscription expires.
I am a student and I am interested in signing up for the Renewable Energy Project Finance Modeling course. do you provide any discounts?
Students and non-profits are eligible for a discount of 50%. We also offer discounts for group bookings of 3 or more people – 15%
Absolutely if you enroll in our self paced online training course and then attend a public or live streaming course within the next 12 months, we will credit the full price of the self paced online course when you purchase the public or live streaming session. So, for now with the uncertainty and having more time at home this is a great way to start your learning
In the renewable energy course do you focus only on Renewable Energy as a whole or do you at any point dive into other technologies such as wind or solar?
The renewable course primarily focuses on wind and solar. but the model, for all intents and purposes could be used for wind, solar or hydro. Operationally they’re, pretty similar from a financial modeling. The course does go into specifics of each of these. For the live streaming or tailored courses, we can go into any particular technology you’d like to. There’s no issue there, but the primary focus is wind and solar. So if you’re in wind or solar, this course is equally good for both of you.
Is the renewable course designed solely for people who work in the field or for anyone else interested in renewables?
Look, first of all, there’s no prerequisites. If you have never been in finance, you have never used Excel, you can do this course. If you’ve been working in the industry, doing modeling for a year, this course is still valuable to you because it will cover things that you’ve just not seen before. it helps explain how all the documents tie to the model. If you’re just interested in renewables. this is still a great course. You might not want to do all the detailed modeling, but you may be interested in how the transaction comes together or in how people make decisions using a financial model.
Do you have a detailed comparison about how much of this new project finance course overlaps with the renewables course?
Similarities between courses
Project finance has many similarities between the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors. Many of the broader concepts are similar between the courses, such as:
- Overall concepts of project finance
- Best practice modeling concepts
- The broad approach to debt sizing
- How to calculate construction funding and distributions
- Tax and depreciation concepts
- Debt service reserve accounts (DSRA)
- 3-way statements and accounts receivable and accounts payable
Differences between courses
The project finance and infrastructure course has the following additions, not covered in the renewable energy course:
- Description of Project Agreements and Concession Agreements common in infrastructure (as opposed to Power Purchase Agreements)
- Case study is focused on a PPP hospital project
- The model is less US-focused, meaning it covers:
- Taxable entities (i.e. SPVs who pay tax, which is common outside of North America) as well as the pass-through entities common in the US and Canada
- Reducing balance depreciation categories
- Covers more in relation to modeling various depreciation categories
- Debt sizing with gearing/leverage constraint added
- Addition to construction funding: Government contributes a proportion of the capital costs
- Distributions have the option to be limited to retained earnings constraints, common in many countries
- Shareholder loans
- Maintenance reserve accounts
- Tax in the 3-way statements
It goes pretty deep! It goes through all of the capital accounts, HLBV, sponsor buy-out options etc (with detailed calculations).
We go through both of these approaches. We show iterations and how to enable them, but we also build up the macros AND show some ways to get around macros with algebra or based on commercial realities.
To optimize the livestream training, we recommend that participants have 2 monitors (or one laptop plus one monitor). This enables students to watch the instructor while simultaneously implementing the techniques in their own Excel file. With dual screens, it is also possible for each participant to share their Excel file simultaneously, so that the instructor can see progress and assist – or even take remote control – when necessary.
This equally applies to the online self-paced course where you can watch the videos while implementing the techniques on your own model.
Of course, this is not an absolute requirement. The training is completely workable with only a single laptop, but we have found that the comprehension and engagement has been better for participants with two screens than for those who are using a single laptop.