Since renewable energy projects are often developed by independent entrepreneurs (as opposed to large corporations or utilities), the course will spend a few sessions on the techniques and analytics of project financing (using the cash flow from the anticipated project to finance the project on its own; or more technically put, debt repayment has only recourse to the project itself, not to any third party guarantor). Without understanding what makes a project “financeable,” a start-up company can easily fail even if its technology works. The VC community has dozens of “green elephants” that have floundered because the companies have not been able to get their technologies financed in projects.
While the course will often use the lens of an investor, most of the issues are the same from the standpoint of a business owner seeking to finance renewable energy activities and a policy maker seeking to encourage capital formation in the sector. Sessions will explore federal and state renewable energy support policies, including recent innovations in clean tech finance including the Green Bank of New York and other agencies bridging public and private capital. Non-SOM students who have background in finance and in business strategy are encouraged and welcomed to participate with permission of the instructor.