Capital Projects: A Guide to Project Funding and Lending

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Written By AltFin

Your gateway to project finance, capital projects, and private debt. 

Key Points:

Definition: Capital project finance refers to the funding mechanisms for large-scale infrastructure and development projects that require significant capital investment.

Capital Structure: It involves a mix of public and private funding, including bonds, loans, equity, and public-private partnerships, structured to manage the substantial costs and long-term nature of these projects.

Objective: To enable the construction and maintenance of critical infrastructure, fostering economic growth and improving community services and facilities.

What are capital projects?

Capital projects are large-scale initiatives that involve significant investments in infrastructure, construction, or development.

Capital projects can encompass various sectors such as transportation, energy, real estate, manufacturing, and more. They typically require substantial funding to cover the costs of planning, design, procurement, construction, and implementation.​

To finance capital projects, organizations, and entities typically rely on different funding sources and strategies. (1)(2)

Overview of capital projects

Capital projects are significant investments made by organizations to acquire, upgrade, or expand physical assets such as buildings, infrastructure, or equipment.

These projects typically require a substantial amount of financial resources and involve long-term planning and implementation.

Capital projects play a crucial role in driving economic growth and development by creating jobs, improving productivity, and enhancing the overall quality of life in a community.

Examples of capital projects include the construction of highways, the establishment of manufacturing plants, or the development of educational facilities.

Planning and management of capital projects

The successful execution of capital projects demands careful project management and a comprehensive understanding of various factors, including financial feasibility, resource allocation, risk assessment, and regulatory compliance.

Planning for capital projects involves conducting feasibility studies, cost-benefit analyses, and market assessments to determine the viability and potential impact of the proposed investment.

Project teams collaborate with stakeholders, such as government agencies, investors, and community members, to ensure that the project aligns with the needs and expectations of all parties involved.

Effective project management techniques, such as setting clear objectives, establishing timelines, and monitoring progress, are essential to ensure that capital projects are completed on time and within budget.

Broader impact of capital projects

Capital projects can have far-reaching effects on the economy and society. They stimulate economic activity by creating jobs during the construction phase and generating additional employment opportunities in related industries once the project is completed.

Capital projects also contribute to infrastructure development, improving transportation systems, energy efficiency, and public services. For example, the construction of a new airport can boost tourism and trade, while the development of renewable energy facilities can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and promote sustainability.

Moreover, capital projects often have long-term implications, shaping the future growth and competitiveness of regions and nations.​

In summary, capital projects are significant investments that require careful planning and management. They have a profound impact on the economy and society by driving economic growth, creating employment opportunities, and improving infrastructure.

Understanding the importance of capital projects and implementing effective project management strategies is crucial for successful project execution and long-term positive outcomes.

architectural city drawings

What is project funding?

Definition and overview of project funding

Project finance (also referred to as “project financing” or “project funding“) is a method of funding where lenders provide financing to a project company to undertake a development project.

Project finance is best suited for financing large-scale capital projects, given the large capital required and the long-term project development. ​

The project company is created with the purpose of developing and operating the project and is responsible for generating the cash flow that will be used to pay back the lenders. (5)

Characteristics of project funding

Project finance has a number of distinct features that set it apart from other types of financing. One of the main characteristics is the use of limited recourse financing, which means that the lenders can only look to the project’s assets to recover their investment in case the project company fails to repay the loan.​

Unlike most private debt lending offers on the market, our lenders offer non-recourse project funding. Project funding is also characterized by long-term financing, with loan tenors typically ranging from 10 to 25 years.​

Finally, project finance is also often used in emerging markets where the risk profile of the project may be higher than in established markets.

Advantages and disadvantages of project funding

Project finance has a number of advantages for project sponsors, including the ability to leverage their equity, which can be used to finance other projects. The key benefit for sponsors is this also allows project sponsors to limit their downside risk and retain control of the project.​

However, project finance can also be more expensive than traditional financing, as lenders require higher returns to compensate for the increased risk. This is not the case with our lenders. ​

Project finance is best suited for large-scale or mega projects. This is because the sheer complexity of project finance can make it difficult for smaller projects to access the financing they need.

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How is project development funded?

The role of the project company

The project company is responsible for managing the project, including obtaining the necessary permits, securing financing, and building and operating the project.​

It is also responsible for generating the cash flow that will be used to pay back the lenders.

The role of the project sponsor

The project sponsor is the entity or individual that initiates the project and provides the initial equity used to finance the project.​

The project sponsor is also responsible for managing the project and ensuring that it is completed on time and on budget.

The role of the lender

The lender provides funding to the project company to finance the project.​

In exchange for providing the funding, the lender receives a return on its investment in the form of interest payments during the term of the loan and the repayment of the principal at the end of the loan term.

city by the river with money overlay

What are the types of project funding?

Recourse vs. non-recourse loans

Recourse loans are those in which the lender can look to the borrower’s assets in addition to the project’s assets to recover its investment in case of default.​

Non-recourse loans, on the other hand, limit the lender’s recourse to the project’s assets only. (3)(4)

Debt vs. equity financing

Debt financing involves borrowing money from lenders that must be repaid with interest.​

Equity financing, on the other hand, involves issuing shares in the project company to investors in exchange for capital. Equity financing does not require repayment, but it does dilute the ownership of the project sponsor.

On-balance-sheet vs. off-balance-sheet financing

On-balance-sheet financing includes debt that is recorded on the borrower’s balance sheet.​

Off-balance-sheet financing, on the other hand, does not appear on the borrower’s balance sheet but still represents a liability that must be repaid.

What are the risks and mitigation strategies in project funding?

Default and repayment risks

Default is a risk that the borrower will be unable to make the required payments on the loan.

Repayment risk is the risk that the project will not generate enough cash flow to repay the loan.​

Mitigation strategies for these risks include requiring project sponsors to invest equity in the project, establishing reserve accounts to cover debt service, and requiring off-take or purchase agreements.

Types of risk mitigation strategies

Other risk mitigation strategies in project finance include technical assistance, insurance, and guarantees from financial institutions or government agencies.​

Legal and regulatory considerations must also be taken into account when financing a project.

Legal and regulatory considerations

Project funding requires extensive documentation, including project documents and loan agreements.​

The lending agreement will outline the terms and conditions of the loan, including repayment terms, interest rates, and collateral requirements.​

Additionally, regulations may vary depending on the country or region where the project is located. It is important to consult with legal and financial experts to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

How is project cash flow and debt structured?

Understanding cash flow in project finance

In project finance, cash flow is generated by the project rather than the balance sheet of the borrower.​

The cash flow generated by the project is used to pay back the investors and lenders that provided the capital to finance the project. The project’s cash flow is allocated between project debt and equity.

Project debt and equity

Project debt is used to finance the project and is repaid from the cash flow generated by the project.​

Project equity, on the other hand, is used to finance the project and is not repaid.

Instead, project equity represents ownership in the project company and the right to share in the profits generated by the project.

Liability allocation

In project finance, liability is allocated to the project company and its sponsors. In a limited recourse loan, the lender has limited recourse to the project’s assets in case of default.

FAQs about project funding

Q: How do you get financed for a project? 

A: There are several ways to get financed for a project.​

One common method is to seek funding from investors or venture capitalists. This involves presenting a detailed business plan outlining the projected costs and expected return on investment.​

Another option is to apply for a bank loan or a line of credit, which requires a strong credit history and collateral.​

Crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise funds in recent years, especially for creative projects. This involves soliciting donations from the public through online platforms such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe.​

Government grants and subsidies are also available for certain types of projects, such as those related to scientific research or environmental conservation.​

Whatever method is chosen, it is important to have a well-defined budget and a clear plan for how the funds will be used.

Communication with potential investors or donors should also be open and transparent, to establish trust and build confidence in the project’s viability. ​

While these are viable financing options smaller or mid-size projects, they are not really applicable to capital projects, which project financing.

What are 3 ways capital projects are funded?

Firstly, private funding is often utilized for capital projects, which includes resources such as venture capital, private equity, and angel investors.

This funding model provides financial support from private investors who are willing to commit their resources to the project in return for equity or a share in the potential profits.​

Secondly, public funding is another way to finance capital projects, which involves government or donor agencies offering grants or loans for projects that align with their goals.​

Lastly, borrowing is a common way to fund capital projects, where entities borrow funds from banks, financial institutions, or through issuing bonds. It is a cost-effective way to generate capital if the project is profitable in the long run.​

These are the three most common funding sources for capital projects, which each have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on the circumstances of the project. 

Q: What is an example of a project finance?

A: Project finance is a type of financing that is specifically designed for large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the construction of power plants, highways, or airports. This type of financing involves a complex financial structure that is tailored to the specific project and its risks, as well as the financial needs of the investors.​

An example of project finance is the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in a developing country.​

In this scenario, the project sponsor would create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to raise the necessary capital, which could come from a consortium of lenders, equity investors, and government agencies.​

The SPV would then use the funds to construct the power plant and sell the generated electricity to the utility company or the government under a long-term power purchase agreement.​

The revenues generated from the sale of electricity would be used to repay the investors, with any excess cash flow going to the project sponsor.​

Overall, project finance plays a critical role in funding large-scale infrastructure projects, which are often too costly or too risky for traditional financing methods. 

Q: How do companies fund projects?

A: Companies fund projects in various ways. One popular method is to use their own resources, such as cash reserves or profits from other operations.​

Another option is to borrow money, either from banks or through bonds issued on the financial markets.

In some cases, companies may also seek funding through partnerships with other firms or by attracting investors.​

Crowdfunding has increasingly become a popular alternative method to fund projects, particularly for start-ups and small businesses.​

Additionally, companies may also receive grants or subsidies from government agencies or other organizations for specific projects that align with their mission or values. The type of funding chosen depends on a variety of factors, including the size and complexity of the project, the company’s financial position, and the level of risk they are willing to take on.​

Ultimately, securing adequate and appropriate funding is crucial for companies to successfully execute projects that drive growth and achieve their strategic goals.

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  1. Investopedia, Capital Project: Definition, Examples, and How Funding Works, retrieved from
  2. US Department of Treasury, Capital Projects Fund, retrieved from https//
  3. Investopedia, Ken Clark, Recourse vs. Non-Recourse Loan: What’s the Difference?, retrieved from
  4. Forbes, Kiah Treece, Recourse Loans Vs. Non-Recourse Loans, retrieved from
  5. Investopedia, Adam, Hayes, Project Finance: Definition, How It Works, and Types of Loans, retrieved from