or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Citizenre

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Anybody know anything about Citizenre?  Basically it's a company that's planning on renting out solar panels.  They take a deposit and then take care of the installation, maintenance, upgrades if necessary, etc.  You pay a flat rate for the electricity provided by the solar system, just like to a regular utility provider, except the rate stays frozen as long as your contract lasts.

 

Theoretically in think it's a great idea.  I've read a lot of people complaining that Citizenre won't be able to meet their promises - basically that they won't be able to produce the number of solar panels they claim they'll be able to.  The company is still starting up and is very mysterious and hush-hush about its solar panel production facility, which is supposedly under construction.

 

Personally it doesn't matter much to me either way.  If it works then it's a great deal, and if it doesn't, it won't effect me because I can't afford to buy my own solar panels anyway, and they don't ask for any money until the $500 deposit prior to installation.

 

I'm curious if anybody knows anything about this company and the likelihood that it will succeed or collapse.

post #2 of 18

I found this blog post showing some calculations/projections about the company:


Lets look at the economics.

Example Best Case Scenario
System cost per kilowatt
Anyone that is selling systems today must use today’s prices. This cost estimate is lower than anyone can get, for a small system, while covering their costs:
Panels: $4,000/kW
Inverter: $700/kW
Balance of System: $500/kW
Rack: $325/kW
Tax: $260/kW
Labor: $650/kW
Shipping: $65/kW
Additional payments to CitizenRe field staff etc: ~$250/kW
Total cost: $6750/kW

Let’s assume CitizenRe’s Corporate costs for are ZERO!
Marketing: $0/ kW
Contracts and Administration over 25 years: $0/kW
PV System data collection and billing over 25 years: $0/kW
PV system maintenance over 25 years: $0/kW
Cost of money over 25 years: $0/kW
My guess is that these costs equal the system’s cost.

If Citizen’s RE owns the system they get:
30% federal tax credit on installed cost of the system: $2025/kW of system
Accelerated depreciation over the first five years of systems cost
Assuming they are at a 35% tax bracket: $2010/kW
System cost after Federal tax credits: $2715/kW

Payments to CitizenRe: Madison Gas and Electric customers
According to their own calculator MGE power is: 11.7 cents/kWh
A one kW fixed mounted system in the full sun with no snow cover will generate about: 1250 kWh/year
So customer payments would be $146.25/year or $3,656 over 25 years

CitizenRe Return on Investment: MGE Customers
Based on all my assumptions (Zero CitizenRe corporate costs), CitizenRe would make a profit of about $940/kW over 25 years on an investment of $2715
That is a 35% return over 25 years, or less than 2% return per year

Payments to CitizenRe: North Dakota Ottertail Customers
According to their own calculator Ottertail’s power is: 7.2 cents/kWh
A one kW fixed mounted system in the full sun with no snow cover will generate about: 1350 kWh/year in ND
So customer payments would be $97.20/year or $2430 over 25 years

CitizenRe Return on Investment: Ottertail customers
Based on all my assumptions (Zero CitizenRe corporate costs), CitizenRe would lose about $285/kW over 25 years on an investment of $2715

Summary: When evaluating a business plan venture capital investors are looking for returns of 1000% over a three to seven years. CitizenRe does not look like a workable business model.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen that one.

 

Reading the comments responding to the blog, both sides make some good arguments.  I can't really tell at this point which side is right.

 

It seems to me that Citizenre has nothing to gain from being dishonest.  They're not getting anything out of it - not even asking for a deposit until the solar panels are installed.  They certainly seem to think their business model will work and that they know something the rest of the solar industry doesn't know.

 

I can't tell if they do, but as long as it's not costing me anything to sign up and find out then I'll do so, and good luck to them.

post #4 of 18
I just read every word on their corporate and consumer webpage, and I am very confident that they are providing a much needed and very intelligent service. The person who did their own cost-figuring analysis is not very accurate, simply because the figures he/she used are retail figures, but Citizenre is manufacturing it's own PV arrays at an unbelievable volume. If I were in the U.S I'd sign up for this for sure. EA Green Technologies Inc. www.electric-avenue.ca
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:

Anybody know anything about Citizenre?  Basically it's a company that's planning on renting out solar panels.  They take a deposit and then take care of the installation, maintenance, upgrades if necessary, etc.  You pay a flat rate for the electricity provided by the solar system, just like to a regular utility provider, except the rate stays frozen as long as your contract lasts.

 

Theoretically in think it's a great idea.  I've read a lot of people complaining that Citizenre won't be able to meet their promises - basically that they won't be able to produce the number of solar panels they claim they'll be able to.  The company is still starting up and is very mysterious and hush-hush about its solar panel production facility, which is supposedly under construction.

 

Personally it doesn't matter much to me either way.  If it works then it's a great deal, and if it doesn't, it won't effect me because I can't afford to buy my own solar panels anyway, and they don't ask for any money until the $500 deposit prior to installation.

 

I'm curious if anybody knows anything about this company and the likelihood that it will succeed or collapse.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricave:
I just read every word on their corporate and consumer webpage, and I am very confident that they are providing a much needed and very intelligent service. The person who did their own cost-figuring analysis is not very accurate, simply because the figures he/she used are retail figures, but Citizenre is manufacturing it's own PV arrays at an unbelievable volume. If I were in the U.S I'd sign up for this for sure. EA Green Technologies Inc. www.electric-avenue.ca

Interesting point - that may be the case.  I think the main question is whether or not Citizenre can actually manage to build PVs at the rate and volume they've stated, because they've been so secretive about their manufacturing facility and process in general.

 

We'll see, I hope they succeed.  Thanks for your input.

post #6 of 18

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by electricave:
I just read every word on their corporate and consumer webpage, and I am very confident that they are providing a much needed and very intelligent service. The person who did their own cost-figuring analysis is not very accurate, simply because the figures he/she used are retail figures, but Citizenre is manufacturing it's own PV arrays at an unbelievable volume. If I were in the U.S I'd sign up for this for sure. EA Green Technologies Inc. www.electric-avenue.ca
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:

Anybody know anything about Citizenre?  Basically it's a company that's planning on renting out solar panels.  They take a deposit and then take care of the installation, maintenance, upgrades if necessary, etc.  You pay a flat rate for the electricity provided by the solar system, just like to a regular utility provider, except the rate stays frozen as long as your contract lasts.

 

Theoretically in think it's a great idea.  I've read a lot of people complaining that Citizenre won't be able to meet their promises - basically that they won't be able to produce the number of solar panels they claim they'll be able to.  The company is still starting up and is very mysterious and hush-hush about its solar panel production facility, which is supposedly under construction.

 

Personally it doesn't matter much to me either way.  If it works then it's a great deal, and if it doesn't, it won't effect me because I can't afford to buy my own solar panels anyway, and they don't ask for any money until the $500 deposit prior to installation.

 

I'm curious if anybody knows anything about this company and the likelihood that it will succeed or collapse.


 

 

CitizenRE is not going to work, they have not delieverd on their promises, and they do have something to gain by creating a bunch of buzz around their brand name.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gogreensolar:

 

CitizenRE is not going to work, they have not delieverd on their promises, and they do have something to gain by creating a bunch of buzz around their brand name.


See that just doesn't make sense.  If they create a bunch of buzz around their brand name and then the company completely fails to deliver on its promises (which would cause it to lose all credibility and fold), how are they going to benefit from that?

 

Also you say they haven't delivered on their promises, but as far as I'm aware they haven't made any promises on which they could have delivered to this point.


Edited by dana1981 - Fri, 21 Mar 2008 17:19:00 UTC
post #8 of 18

I think Dana's points are good, as the company is basically pre-selling the concept without asking a deposit on a reservation for a future lease-program, PV solar system. If you can't wait for the product, which is still an unknown, perhaps one to two years out for those in the quenue...explore other options.

 

I joined Citzenre, because I like the future opportunity it presents to me as a home owner, and as a business opportunity. I am also in a see and wait mode, doing little to promote my Citizenre site: jointhesolution.com/morizongreen. They have not met their deadlines, but I hope the can make it all happen. It's a great concept. If the don't do it, another company will...however, they have a head start in developing their business plan and strategies.

 

If the network marketing of PV solar panels is flawed, the company's fine print puts the onus on themselves to make good any promise, and does not hold customer's accountable for their failure to perform. I signed up, so I could lock in my current energy rate for the next 20 years. Who wouldn't want to do that? A refundable deposit...that's cool! Lease instead of fork out 20K-50K for a system...another incentive to sign up...but, you can't want it yesterday or tomorrow, and likely not even next year. Its not the solution for everyone, but it promises to be a good one, if they can pull it off.

post #9 of 18

Just got this today.  I remember when they first came around, it was very exciting but then the word was that they were not legit.  I would ask the Sierra Club and a host of other groups to please look into it to see if it was real or not but they never did (other than Ed B.).  The rep for my area left the company and there was no rep for a really long time until recently when I got this email:

 

 

  • Thank you for your continued patience.  As you know, we have been

delayed in providing Citizenre's REnU solar solution for your home.

The good news is that your contract rent is locked using the 2005
formula for your area.  This means you are in a great position to
save once your system is installed.

OUR STATUS: There are a few updates and improvements we would like
to share.  Most importantly, our rental pricing has changed, from
an adjustable amount to a flat rate plan.  This way you know what
your Citizenre bill will be each and every month.  The response
from our customers has been extremely positive about this
improvement.

You don't need to sign a new contract or anything.  When the system
designer comes to your house for your site visit, James,
they will explain all of the details before you approve the final
design.  As you know, you can always cancel your contract at any
time before you pay the security deposit and there will be no
financial obligation whatsoever.

To confirm, your Citizenre REnU is still coming to you.  Our
commitment has not changed - only our timetable.

OUR PROCESS: We want to make sure that you are clear on the next
three steps:

1.    Verification -- A Citizenre customer specialist will contact
you to confirm your Forward Rental Agreement.  You will be asked to
send in your electricity bill--faxed or mailed.  This step confirms
that you are responsible for the electricity bill and gathers
valuable information for the site designers.  At this time, you can
also ask any questions that you might have.

2.    Site visit -- Once installations have begun in your area, our
site designer will schedule a date for your site visit.  Please
don't call us asking when your date will be -- For most areas,
these visits will not begin for six months or more.

3.    Installations - At your site visit, the system designer will
be able to give you an approximate range of installation dates.
Once you have approved the system design and provided your security
deposit, Citizenre will schedule your installation.  No deposit is
ever given until these three steps have occurred.

We will be in contact as soon as we can to give you a more specific
time-line.  While we have been slowed by the same credit crunch and
investment slow-down that has stymied many new companies, we have
continued to make slow but steady progress.  We have many new
avenues for funding and we are fully committed to making the
Citizenre vision a powerful reality.

"You never change anything by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model and make the existing model
obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

Citizenre is creating a new model - already, others are copying us.
Your leadership and vision have helped make that happen.  By
signing up
for your solar solution, you not only put yourself in position to
save money, you also make a bold statement that you stand for green
solutions that make economic sense.

OUR THANKS:  As you wait, there are ways that you can save money
right now.  We partnered with sustainability expert Chris Prelitz
to create a video to show you how to save money now by conserving
energy.  This short, interesting video is our gift to you.

www.citizenre.net/extras/videos/chris_prelitz/

This short summary gives you all of the points in a useful summary:

www.citizenre.net/extras/videos/chris_prelitz/steps_to_save.html

We hope these videos help you save both energy and money.

Thanks again for your patience and your vision.  We look forward to
providing your REnU solar system as soon as we are able.  In the
meantime, James, please save as much energy as you can -
it benefits us all when you do.
 

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yeah I got the same email.

 

It doesn't make much difference to me.  It's not like if I weren't signed up for Citizenre I would go out tomorrow and buy solar panels.  I can't afford them right now, and my energy use is sufficiently low and PG&E power mix is sufficiently green that I don't really need PV anyway.  I'm in a position where if Citizenre meets their promises, that's great.  If not, it doesn't hurt me in any way.

 

So hopefully the critics are wrong, Citizenre will pan out, and this delay is indeed just a delay.  Only time will tell.

post #11 of 18

The last time I spoke with them they said that there will be options for getting battery systems so that you can harness the energy produced for night time use.  They said that they will have a separate insurance/liability policy that will be very cheap.  They pretty much thought of everything.  Crossing my fingers it's for real!!

post #12 of 18

I've recently heard of another company offering a similar service.

I like this idea. It seems like a good way to get solar without the massive up-front cost. Plus the more solar that gets produced through this means is more solar demand and thus lower prices of solar for everyone.

 

On the other hand, you could look at this as them saying, "Hey, can we set up a solar power plant on your roof for free? Thanks, you're awesome. Now we're going to charge you for the energy it produces." which is kinda sh***y from that perspective...


Edited by stins - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 17:36:31 GMT
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattress:

 

On the other hand, you could look at this as them saying, "Hey, can we set up a solar power plant on your roof for free? Thanks, you're awesome. Now we're going to charge you for the energy it produces." which is kinda sh***y from that perspective...


 

It just boils down to the cost.  If they're saving you tens of thousands of dollars in materials and installation costs, and charging you a cheaper rate than your electrical utility, then it's a great deal.


Edited by stins - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 17:37:00 GMT
post #14 of 18

I never said it wasn't, I even said I liked the idea.

 

However, what if they're making more electricity than you're consuming from the panels on your building? who are they selling that to, should you get a cut for providing the building? What happens if you decide you don't want to buy the solar energy from them anymore? Shouldn't they have to pay you rent? If the cell phone company wants to put a cell phone tower on your property they pay you rent, so do bill board companies, etc.

 

This is just details, but instead of selling energy at a cheaper rate, how about sell it at the normal rate and pay the building owner some form of rent for use of their property? Maybe it is already spelled out this way in their contracts, who knows, but it doesn't seem to be presented that way. If that's not how it is, I think they may have a harder time getting larger companies to sign on.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattress:

 

However, what if they're making more electricity than you're consuming from the panels on your building? who are they selling that to, should you get a cut for providing the building? What happens if you decide you don't want to buy the solar energy from them anymore? Shouldn't they have to pay you rent? If the cell phone company wants to put a cell phone tower on your property they pay you rent, so do bill board companies, etc.

 

This is just details, but instead of selling energy at a cheaper rate, how about sell it at the normal rate and pay the building owner some form of rent for use of their property? Maybe it is already spelled out this way in their contracts, who knows, but it doesn't seem to be presented that way. If that's not how it is, I think they may have a harder time getting larger companies to sign on.


 

I don't think Citizenre is trying to get big companies to sign on - I think they're focused on residential solar.

 

You sign a contract for 5, 10, or 25 years, so you can't just decide 'I don't want your solar power anymore'.

 

As for rent - nobody wants a  cell phone tower billboard on their property, because you don't get anything out of it (except rent).  Most people want solar panels for the cheap and clean energy, which is what's being provided. 

post #16 of 18

It is still land/property use, they ought to be paying rent. The outcome could still be the same in terms of getting a 'discount' on what you're paying for your solar energy.

My question about using less than is generated still stands. They probably sell it to the grid at the renewable rate, you should get a cut of that for providing the building, they wouldn't be making that money if you hadn't let them put their panels on your building, and been so efficient as to use less than is generated ;)

 

After your contract is up in 5 years do they take the solar cells off your building? Seems silly to have such a short contract period...

 

And if you live out in the country with dodgey cell phone reception, why wouldn't you want a tower on your property? ;)

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattress:

It is still land/property use, they ought to be paying rent. The outcome could still be the same in terms of getting a 'discount' on what you're paying for your solar energy.

My question about using less than is generated still stands. They probably sell it to the grid at the renewable rate, you should get a cut of that for providing the building, they wouldn't be making that money if you hadn't let them put their panels on your building, and been so efficient as to use less than is generated ;)

 

After your contract is up in 5 years do they take the solar cells off your building? Seems silly to have such a short contract period...

 


 

I don't buy the rent argument.  Unless they do sell excess energy to the local utility (I don't know the answer to that), they're not getting anything out of the panels.  Plus the 'land' they're using was already in use by the house.

 

If you really want to argue that instead of providing a flat energy rate they should give a variable rate and pay rent - whatever.  I'd prefer the constant electric rate myself.  Otherwise you have a constant rent rate and an increasing electric rate.  You're better off with Citizenre's system.

 

After the contract is up, you can either renew it (but at the new electric rate) or have the panels removed.  That's why they also offer 10 and 25 year contracts.

post #18 of 18

I have Citivenre own my house right now and love it.  Saving about 30% and I'm locked in at this low rate for 10 years.  They do not do a $500 deposit any more as well.  I am biased because I sell it for them but there is really no risk to it.  Unfortunately we are only in a few cities right now but growing rapidly....Los Angeles, Redding Ca.  We just did 70+ installs in Redding in the past 5 months.  If you have questions just give me a call and avoid all the bullshi.. out there. 530-510-6181  It has taken a long time to get going but it is a money thing like all businesses... but now we are rocking so come on board and suck up some of those rays.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Renewable Energy