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Verengo Solar Plus! Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Verengo Solar Plus! case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Verengo Solar Plus! case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by William A. Sahlman, Joseph B. Lassiter, Liz Kind. The Verengo Solar Plus! (referred as “Verengo Solar” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Venture capital.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment




Case Description of Verengo Solar Plus! Case Study


In the three years since Bishop and Button purchased Verengo in a leveraged buyout (LBO), the company had gone through dramatic changes. Initially a residential windows and insulation firm, after the economic recession of 2008 the company switched gears and began offering solar installations to local residential customers. Aided by favorable regulatory changes and a consumer financing partnership, Verengo's solar business took off and became the company's primary focus. By the end of 2010, Verengo had grown to $27 million in revenue and was the largest solar integrator in Southern California. In December 2010, Verengo raised $9.7 million in growth equity funding and was considering its options for future growth. Eager to expand to markets outside of Southern California, Bishop and Button knew that they had to carefully assess the firm's many opportunities and tightly manage its growth.


Case Authors : William A. Sahlman, Joseph B. Lassiter, Liz Kind

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Related Areas : Venture capital




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Verengo Solar Plus! Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10029617) -10029617 - -
Year 1 3457418 -6572199 3457418 0.9434 3261715
Year 2 3981120 -2591079 7438538 0.89 3543183
Year 3 3936950 1345871 11375488 0.8396 3305539
Year 4 3247915 4593786 14623403 0.7921 2572653
TOTAL 14623403 12683090


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2653473

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting


What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.




Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting


There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Internal Rate of Return
2. Payback Period
3. Net Present Value
4. Profitability Index

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Verengo Solar shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.
2. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Verengo Solar have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.




Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Verengo Solar Plus!

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Innovation & Entrepreneurship Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Verengo Solar often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Verengo Solar needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10029617) -10029617 - -
Year 1 3457418 -6572199 3457418 0.8696 3006450
Year 2 3981120 -2591079 7438538 0.7561 3010299
Year 3 3936950 1345871 11375488 0.6575 2588609
Year 4 3247915 4593786 14623403 0.5718 1857006
TOTAL 10462364


The Net NPV after 4 years is 432747

(10462364 - 10029617 )






Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%


If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10029617) -10029617 - -
Year 1 3457418 -6572199 3457418 0.8333 2881182
Year 2 3981120 -2591079 7438538 0.6944 2764667
Year 3 3936950 1345871 11375488 0.5787 2278328
Year 4 3247915 4593786 14623403 0.4823 1566317
TOTAL 9490493


The Net NPV after 4 years is -539124

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9490493 - 10029617 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Verengo Solar to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.



Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Verengo Solar has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Verengo Solar can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Verengo Solar, then the stock price of the Verengo Solar should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Verengo Solar should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.




References & Further Readings

William A. Sahlman, Joseph B. Lassiter, Liz Kind (2018), "Verengo Solar Plus! Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.