Calculate the Financial Viability of a Solar PV System

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  • Being able to calculate the financial viability of a PV system is a vital skill for solar installers, especially those who wish to move into the commercial or industrial space.

Commercial clients may know in their gut that the system is going to be good for business thanks to more reliable power at a price point they can control, but unless the installer can come up with the metrics that satisfy the shareholders, they’re not getting go-ahead for that system.

So how do you prove the viability of the installation to the end user who is unmoved by the fancy technology and linear performance warranties? It’s not simple ROI; in fact, to calculate the ROI of anything you would be using the assumption that the capital stays intact – which is definitely not the case when the client is purchasing components. You need to know how to run the numbers that matter and how to communicate these to the client.

GREEN Solar Academy has developed a 1-day training for installers ready to take that leap into commercial and industrial solar. The course uses real-world examples and case studies to walk you step-by-step through topics such as:

  • Defining financial terms and concepts including payback periods, levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and profitability index.
  • The importance of using correct utility costs and escalator assumptions, and their impact on solar PV financial models.
  • How net metering, feed-in-tariffs and tax breaks influence cash-flow projections of a PV project.
  • The “time value of money” and how projected future energy costs and PV energy production are affected by the time value of money. 
  • How to identify ongoing system costs and how to estimate them.

The course includes a session with Vishay Rabbipal, ABSA’s Head of Renewable Energy, who will explore the options available to commercial and industrial clients who are increasingly turning to financing to pay for their systems.

This 1-day advanced course takes place on Friday 8 July in Johannesburg. Cost is R3 950 ex VAT including course notes and catering. Visit to register or contact GREEN Solar Academy on +27 (0) 10 312 6724 or

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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