Smile Politely

Solar Finance Simulator: Assisting institutions make solar investments a reality


From the press release

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has launched an online, interactive tool to simulate long-term financial forecasting for photovoltaic (PV) investments. The tool was created with expertise from Sustainable Capital Advisors and is designed for tax-exempt and taxable entity personnel to analyze, compare, and define investment strategies that meet their needs and advance PV investments in the public and private sectors. The tool allows the user to input their own basic solar project values to demonstrate and compare financial projections for four types of solar PV investment.

The tool can be used to guide or validate potential projects, compare proposals, or simply help users become more familiar with financing structures and common transaction costs. Before a site assessment, users can estimate cash-flow projections using financial assumptions. After a site assessment, users can fine tune their simulation using the new information collected. Users will then be able to compare proposals, analyze multiple runs, and learn how specific variables influence project outcomes.

“The process of installing a solar PV system is often complicated, particularly for a non-tax paying entity with a complex energy footprint. The tool will help organizations procure highest value, lowest cost solar and make good on the unprecedented investment opportunity in local, clean energy” says Nick Hylla, MREA Executive Director.

The Solar Finance Simulator can be accessed online at and includes sample projects that can be used by institutions that share similar investment conditions. The sample projects have pre-populated system assumption values to provide guidance for generally accepted, institution-specific ranges. The website also offers a site tour to help users navigate through the tool. Users interested in a guided experience can refer to the recorded demonstration video on the Institute for Sustainable Communities Vimeo page. The demo includes a step-by-step tutorial to simulate financial returns for a direct ownership model and power purchase agreement (PPA) investment.

More information about the Solar Finance Simulator will be featured in an upcoming webinar, “New Tools to Accelerate Solar Deployment for Resilience, Communities, Universities, and More,” with the Cook County Department of Environmental Control, The Institute for Sustainable Communities, and the City and County of San Francisco Department of the Environment on Friday, October 27, at 1:00-2:30 pm ET (10-11:30 am PT). Start using the tool by visiting

More Articles