Solar Project Cost-Estimating & Pro Forma Development

Solar Project Development Budget Estimating & Pro Forma Fundamentals

October 30-31, 2023 | Online :: Central Time

To effectively utilize allocated and dedicated solar project financing, it is critical for developers, subcontractors, project managers, utilities, and suppliers to fully understand the components and practices that yield efficient and reliable solar project cost estimation.   

In this course, solar project development subject matter experts (SMEs) will guide attendees through the critical processes of developing budget and pro forma project estimates. Key components of the course include the salient factors that impact the cost of building “bankable” solar projects, including permitting and siting, materials and engineering, construction, and project management. 

Learning Outcomes  

  • Discuss the solar project planning process and budget considerations utilizing industry samples of typical projects
  • Analyze engineering, component, EPC/construction and development costs
  • Discuss the environmental and siting processes and the impact on schedules and costs
  • Compare and contrast contracting methods to include design-bid-build vs. OE/EPC projects
  • Identify strategies to mitigate risks across the spectrum of project types and sizes


Monday, October 30, 2023 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Course Timing

9:00 – 9:20 a.m. :: Overview & Introductions

9:20 – 10:30 a.m. :: Key Concepts and Considerations in Determining Bankability

  • What Constitutes Bankability
    • Funds
    • Operations
    • Off-take strategy
  • Identifying the Players and their Bankability Roles
    • Sponsors
    • Equity investors
    • Asset owners
    • Project developers
    • Lenders
    • Power off-takers
      • Utilities
      • Corporates
      • Commercial/industrial
  • Financial Metrics
    • Levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
    • Internal rates of return (IRRs) – unlevered and levered
    • Cost of goods sold
    • Simple fixed-charge rate (FCR)
    • Net present value (NPV)
    • Capex
    • Risk
    • Return on Capital

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Key Concepts and Considerations in Determining “Bankability” (Continued)

  • Development Objective
    • Power purchase agreement (PPA)
    • BOT/BTA (Build-transfer agreement)
    • Other
  • Financial Structure
    • Single owner
    • Leveraged partnership flip
    • All equity partnership flip
    • Sale leaseback
    • Lease pass-through/inverted lease

12:15 – 1:00 p.m. :: Break for Lunch

1:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: Setting the Project ROI Goalposts

  • What’s your financial role in the project
  • Defining project financial objectives
  • Factoring in risk
  • Bringing tax equity to bear
  • What drives returns
  • How are returns modeled
  • The pro forma
  • Financial metrics and levers
  • Pricing risk
  • Term sheet

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:00 – 4:45 p.m. :: Asset Owner Cost Estimation Process

  • Developing budget parameters and the project plan 
  • Utility estimate components 
  • Cost estimating best practices during the project life cycle 
  • Cost reference development 
  • Risk management 
  • Expected accuracy ranges 
  • Measuring performance 
  • Project cost estimate example 
  • Industry benchmarking resources
  • Cost estimating tools commonly used in the industry

4:45 p.m. :: Course Adjourns for Day


Tuesday, October 31, 2023 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Course Timing


9:00 – 10:30 a.m. :: Methods of Contracting

  • Identify common types of contracts and contract delivery methods and understand the risks and advantages and disadvantages associated with each
  • Fixed price/lump sum
  • Cost plus
  • Time and material
  • Traditional arrangement/design-bid-build
  • EPC arrangements and risk management
  • Open book EPC variations
  • Impacts to construction process

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: Building a Project Budget

  • Scope of project
    • Size
    • One-off vs. fleet
    • DC or AC interconnection
    • Geography
    • Weather extremes
  • Development Costs
    • Point of interconnection, substation, etc.
    • Permitting, processing and regulatory
    • Engineering / EPC services and functions
    • Overhead and fees
    • Installation labor
    • Capital costs
  • Material and Component Costs
    • Modules
    • Inverters
    • Balance of system (BOS)
    • Racking/Tracking
  • O&M Cost Assumptions
  • Storage “adder”
  • Land assembly and acquisition
  • Soil stability, erosion design and foundations
  • O&M cost assumptions

12:15 p.m. :: Course Adjournment



Jonathan Altman, Associate Project Manager – Renewable Energy Consulting, NextEra Energy Resources

Jonathan Altman is Associate Project Manager of Renewable Energy Consulting at NextEra Energy Resources.  He performs market research, and financial modeling to assist clients to source quality projects. Before joining the team, he worked on solar & storage projects from the project design phase through to system energization. Mr. Altman is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in Global Affairs and a certificate of Energy Studies.

Steve Birndorf, Director – Renewable Energy Consulting, NextEra Energy Resources

Steve Birndorf is Director of Renewable Energy Consulting at NextEra Energy Resources.  He is a seasoned solar and renewable energy executive with more than 20 years of professional experience. With a foundation in consulting, finance, and business development, he has developed projects, led teams and built organizations. Steve has developed, financed and advised on more than $500M of utility scale and C&I solar projects, largely to private industry, municipalities, school districts and water agencies. Before joining the company in 2020, Mr. Birndorf’s industry career has included stints at Edison Energy, Valor Analytics, Sungevity Solar, Borrego Solar and AMSOLAR . He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his MS and MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.  

Matthew Brinkman, Vice President & Regional Practice Manager – Energy, Burns & McDonnell

Matthew Brinkman is Vice President & Regional Practice Manager for Energy at Burns & McDonnell. In that capacity, starting in 2008, he led the company’s entrance into the solar market. His team of nearly 100 multi-disciplinary engineers, has more than 15GW of experience in Solar as Owners’ Engineer, Detailed Design, and Integrated EPC execution.

James F. Duffy, Partner & Chair – Renewable Energy Tax Credit Team, Nixon Peabody LLP

James F. Duffy is a partner in the Boston office of the national law firm, Nixon Peabody LLP.  He serves as the Chair of the firm’s Renewable Energy Tax Credit Team and concentrates his practice on structuring and closing transactions involving federal income tax credits and other significant federal and state income tax incentives, including Production Tax Credits for wind and other forms of renewable energy; and Energy Investment Tax Credits for solar and certain other forms of renewable energy.  He has represented numerous developers, investors, syndicators and lenders in structuring and closing renewable energy and other transactions around the country.  He is a member of the American, Massachusetts, and Boston Bar Associations. He has served as the chair of the Equity Finance Committee of the Real Estate Section of the Boston Bar Association and as a member of the Real Estate Steering Committee of the Boston Bar Association. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, B.A., summa cum laude (1978), and The Harvard Law School, J.D. (1981). 

Tony Grappone, Partner, Novogradac & Company LLP

Tony Grappone is a partner in the Boston, Mass. office of Novogradac & Company LLP, where he specializes in providing accounting, tax and consulting services to developers, syndicators and investors of projects that qualify for federal and state tax credits such as the low-income housing tax credit, historic rehabilitation tax credit, new markets tax credit and renewable energy tax credits. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Grappone worked at Ernst & Young LLP specializing in partnership taxation within the affordable housing industry and servicing many of the nation’s largest tax credit syndicators and investors. In addition, he served several leading venture capital firms as well as commercial real estate developers and investors. Mr. Grappone serves as a member on the Northeastern University Undergraduate Accounting Group Advisory Board and is on the board of directors of the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development. He received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston, Mass.

Arlee Jones, Project Manager & Administrator, Tampa Electric

Arlee Jones is a Project Manager and Administrator at Tampa Electric, a subsidiary of TECO Energy (TEC) where he is responsible for the management of transmission, distribution and substation infrastructure projects in the 13kV to 230kV range and manages PV projects from the 2MW to 74.5 MW range. He has more than two decades of experience in the power design and energy consulting industry.  Mr. Jones completed advanced engineering training in the US Navy’s Nuclear Power Program where he served for 25 years and earned a BS in Nuclear Engineering. He also earned an AS degree in Electronics Engineering Technology from Southeast Arkansas University, a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of London, a Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management from Old Dominion University.

Jeny Parakkattil, Senior Project Director, NextEra Energy Resources

Jeny Parakkattil is Senior Project Director at NextEra Energy Resources.  She consults and advises commercial customers on various renewable solutions, primarily solar. Ms. Parakkattil evaluates quantitative and qualitative customer impacts including on load and economics before and after implementing renewables solutions and provides valuable analysis on the results. Previously, she worked in operations and analytics for a solar financial services company where her primary role centered around analyzing data and improving functions.  Ms. Parakkattil graduated from Columbia University and earned her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Torrey Graf, Vice President of Engineering, FastGrid

Torrey Graf is Vice President of Engineering at FastGrid, which he joined in 2022.  He has 12 years of electrical engineering experience across both traditional power and utility scale solar generation, as well as deep experience in large scale energy storage. In addition to building and leading multidisciplinary teams at Burns & McDonnell, Mr. Graf has served as engineering and project manager on more than 4GW of solar and 2GW of energy storage projects across the United States. He holds Bachelor and Master degrees in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a separate email with a unique link to a personalized landing page which will include links to join all sessions of this event.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all attendees for 7 days after the event


Solar Project Development Budget Estimating & Pro Forma Fundamentals

October 30-31, 2023 | Online
Individual attendee(s) - $ 1295.00 each

Volume pricing also available

Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

Pack of 5 attendees - $ 5,180.00 (20% discount)
Pack of 10 attendees - $ 9,065.00 (30% discount)
Pack of 20 attendees - $ 15,540.00 (40% discount)

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before September 29, 2023 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800




EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this course.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program 

Participants must log in each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit. 

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint presentations, interactive group exercise, and group discussion will be used during this course. 

Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

Course CPE Credits: 11.0
There is no prerequisite for this Course.
Program field of study: Specialized Knowledge
Program Level: Basic
Delivery Methood: Group Internet Based
Advanced Preperation: None

CpeEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site:



Who Should Attend 

  • Solar development and renewal energy project managers, estimators, and contract managers
  • EPCs
  • Solar engineers 
  • Supply chain and cost accounting professionals for utilities, corporate off-takers and other energy contracting organizations
  • Generation project developers and engineers who need an understanding of solar plant components and costs
  • Appraisers and cost segregation specialists
  • Investors and financial advisors
  • Regulatory agency staff
  • Consultants and engineering firms that work within the solar development sector

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