Project Finance Associate
Project Finance Associate
While the majority of her time at Safari Energy is spent perfecting financial formulas for complex solar projects, Dani Ragin’s passion goes well beyond the numbers.
A lifelong New Yorker, Ragin has found a career with purpose while staying close to family and having an impact beyond the financial aspects that she’s focused on day-to-day.
At Cornell University, Ragin studied Applied Economics and Management with a concentration in Environmental, Energy and Resource Economics. While there, she partnered with another student to start a business to make solar investments more accessible to individuals.
During her coursework and through her business, she came to understand the intricacies of solar finance, as well as some of the hurdles to acceptance, even among those with the means and interest in carrying out solar projects.
“In solar project finance, we’re laser-focused on the economics of our projects, but non-financial factors often come into play as well,” Ragin said. “We all work to better understand the environmental and operational aspects that go into closing a solar deal beyond just having a sophisticated financial model.”
Starting as a project finance junior analyst, Ragin worked with the team on making Safari Energy’s financial model faster, more accurate and easier to use.
“There was a report that took an entire day to compile, but through customized programming and automation, we managed to get that down to 30 seconds.”
Two years later, Ragin’s job now revolves around an alphabet soup of financial concepts commonplace on Wall Street, including WACC, EBITDA and IRR (weighted-average cost of capital; earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization; and internal rate of return, respectively). While these and other financial measures define the bottom line for Safari Energy’s clients, the Project Finance team works to ensure clients grasp the broader solar energy industry and where it is going.
“Without that deeper level of understanding, clients might have a harder time trusting the numbers and moving forward with a deal,” Ragin said.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of the job for Ragin is when a customer has that breakthrough realization.
“Sometimes it can be difficult to get a new real estate client comfortable with solar and its nuances, but I love seeing the ripple effect when we get them on board,” she said. “Once they feel confident and excited about the deal, they bring others in their company or industry into the circle, and we make real progress.”