Learning how to build a financial model to develop large renewable energy projects is hard. Details matter. Getting one number wrong can cost millions of dollars.

That’s why learning how to develop a financial model is such a valuable skill. This is a quick story about how Jessica learned financial modeling and used it to hit the ground running in her new job.

Jessica is a recent graduate from our Solar Executive MBA course. She was making the transition from oil and gas into the renewable energy industry and was really thoughtful about how to make that transition a smooth one. I spoke with her about how the Solar MBA helped her do that. Here’s an edited version of our conversation.

Jessica: I was unemployed before I started at the course. I had been laid off from my job. And so I took the course to get some more financial training in the renewable sector. And I’m now at Ormat. I’m a director of recovered energy generation there. (Ormat is a big geothermal company.)

I did a lot of research on this type of course and this one was appealing because the rigor of it. That was appealing to me in the realm of modeling because everything that’s available is usually so surficial and I’m, like going into business, I need a real experience. These guys (Chris Lord & Keith Cronin) had clearly a product that was going to be helpful.

What did you find as a result of taking the course?

Jessica: I definitely have a solid understanding of the financial structure of renewable projects, which is what I wanted to understand and how they differ from oil and gas projects, which is where I’m coming from. And I think they got into the tax concepts and enough for me to be able to use them in my financial modeling. And then they were really available on the calls so it was easy to dig in deep.

What are the top three benefits of taking the course?

Jessica: Well, the first thing is just taking my modeling experience to the next level. The second solid thing from the course would be the breadth of the development process that they cover. A lot goes into it and they covered all of it. It was very helpful. And now there’s an archive of really valuable information that I can access from the course.

How do you see yourself using the information you learned?

Jessica: Well, I started my new job over the past two weeks, and I’ve already been able to jump into the new model and understand the concepts 10 times faster than I would have had I not had this course. It gave me the chance to visualize and talk through the numbers in these renewable energy models. I know how to structure projects, so it was very hands-on, very reflective of the real world. And so, yeah, I’m a perfect case study.

Would you recommend the course to somebody and if so, why?

Jessica: Absolutely. I was seeking to dig deep into a financial model and, and this was beyond my expectations. I think with the accessibility of the teachers, it was great. Yeah, I totally would recommend it.

Thank you. I’m excited about your new gig. Are you modeling geothermal projects?

Jessica: Yeah. And recovered energy projects. So basically waste heat recovery. With some of the same tax benefits. But yeah, my model, when I got it from the finance guy at the new company, it looks very similar to Chris’s so that was helpful. Although now I know all these nuances, I want to do like name styles and do other things. So they were great. They gave me lots of ideas.