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Solar Fred Warning…again: Citizenre

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I just want to update my warning about Citizenre because of a comment I read on a forum about someone thanking Ed Begley, Jr for his referral to Citizenre. The commenter not only thanked Ed, but said they were happy with the Citizenre service…which is impossible.

First of all, for those who don’t know, Citizenre is a company that is supposed to rent solar panels. That’s great, and nothing new there. Many companies are doing some version of a solar lease or a solar PPA.

However, I find it difficult to believe that any Citizenre system is working or sold, as of the writing of this post in July 2009 January 2010.  First of all, as of July 2008, Ed Begley, jr has had nothing to do with the company. How do I know? Through this Citizenre press release.

Second, Citizenre’s business plan is based on making its own solar panels. Yet, its own website says that its factory location has not even been decided—let alone built. It also encourages those who do not want to wait for their factory to buy a system now through a NABCEP certified installer. This is from their own website. Read their full statements here. But I quote:

We want to make very clear that the location of Citizenre’s manufacturing facility is still in negotiation. And, as with all scheduling, delays can occur. If you have the financial ability to buy a PV system today, we urge you to do it. Our environment and economy need you to act as soon as possible.

I admire Citizenre for its goals of renting solar and also for being fairly honest that it is nowhere near providing this service. (Think about it: The factory location doesn’t even have a location! Citizenre is years away…if ever.) I also commend the company for not taking any deposit money upfront. Their intentions seem to be well meaning, but their business plan is apparently very flawed.

As the Citizenre’s own website suggests, please don’t delay getting solar. Solar quotes are generally free, so you have nothing to lose by getting a quote from a NABCEP installer in your area–as Citinzenre also suggest in the full statement. And if you live in a net metered state with solar subsidies and have enough home equity, you may be surprised at how affordable solar is today. It’s not your 1980’s solar anymore.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there are also other ways to buy solar, such as solar leases and solar power purchase agreements (solar PPAs). These are becoming more common and typically have low money down….but in the long run, you pay out more with a solar lease and a solar PPA than you would if you bought solar. Plus, you’re locked into 15 -20 years of payments.  Don’t get me wrong: Solar leases and solar PPAs still save you money over your regular electric bill. It’s just not as much money if you buy. So if you can swing the home equity loan, buying is most cost effective.

In any case, I don’t know how the person commenting on Treehugger was thanking Ed Begley, jr for Citizenre service, given what the Citizenre website says. So please,don’t wait for Citizenre. If you want to go solar, find a qualified installer in your area now.

Thank you,

Solar Fred

Last modified: December 8, 2015

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Corey R Jackson

Can Anyone Offer An Honest Evaluation Of ” POWUR ” ? Thank You

Solar Watchdog

This company shows occasional promise but then falls short by not processing its customers’ orders and not paying its salespeople consistently. They put on a good front, but honesty is not their strongest attribute.


Is that john Rodgers lol


They have already installed over 100 systems in Ca and are now heading into other states as we speak. I also heard that one of the competitors help them to install, but drop them (Citizenre) due to them out selling in a certain state. Do not know if that’s true. But it means allot!

MIke Biller

You are right . Money is just the starting point. What I think people are excited about is that after much hard work, the company is moving to bring solar to the masses. The company has proven they can install in several markets and the sales force has proven they can generate customers. I think as the pieces come together it will be a big deal. For the industry , the company and the sales associates. Good luck to them.


Gosh Fred, you sound very bitter. That’s unfortunate. A lot of the information you’re asking for is proprietary but you probably know that already. How many grassroots startups are you responsible for, and how many were successful? Do you think I’m disappointed that I waited for CitizenRE to get off the ground, since like many people I could never afford solar otherwise.

Instead of a character attack on Fred, you might consider what appears to be taking place here. Whoever at CitizenRE has all of a sudden been interested in their public image in light of a funding announcement- Thus, google’s their company name to check out their buzz, and oh no there’s a “warning” about their company 4th on the list. This appears to me to be a bit of attempt of management to put a positive spin on things in light of some good news internally. Flat out, the company has done many wrongs. Coming out of the woodwork just… Read more »


Feb 09, 2011 09:12 ET Citizenre Signs Development Agreement SAN DIEGO, CA–(Marketwire – February 9, 2011) – The Citizenrē Corporation today announced that it has received and executed a funding commitment with Adam Capital, a private investment fund based in Sonoma, CA. Adam Capital has agreed to provide Citizenrē with an initial $20 million in funds, and subsequent funding rounds, over the next 18 months to fund Citizenrē’s goal to install 15 megawatts (MW) in residential solar photovoltaics (PV) systems. Citizenrē has been providing homeowners the use of solar electric systems with immediate savings and no out-of-pocket costs throughout California… Read more »

Nice that they have money? Does this mean they have experienced NABCEP solar installers? Who? Where? Whose panels are they using? Whose inverters? This press release basically says they now have money. Let’s see how they use it. Still have a long way to go to gain back our trust here. “When the company launched back in 2006, Citizenrē introduced a solar rental product that was a game changer and breakthrough for residential PV. The company’s vision of “PV for all” captivated over 37,000 customers in two+ years. During the intervening recession, the drop in PV component prices has enabled… Read more »

Frank Knight

Howdy, It has been a long time since I have hit the blogs about Citizenre and am happy to say there is some great news! After a lot of passion and dedication of those of us who did not give up on the mission to bring renewable energy to the masses we have now got what we need to really make a difference. We had a press Release this morning and I am happy to share three of the links where you can read about recent developments: We are finally doing what we started out to do… Read more »


From what I understood last I heard from my Eco-pal CitizenRE is now able to make installations in CA because they have decided to go with limited outsourcing on equipment for their start up installations. Though still planning to build a proprietary site for their “economy of scale” manufacturing plant, they decided to not continue to be held up by the logistical snags of actually building the plant in the start up phase. If this is true, I think this explanation would satisfy the doubts expressed by the original poster of this article.

Nope. It doesn’t. Until I see them change their web site and stop posing as a national player, they’re still misleading the public. A pilot program is a pilot program, even if true.

If you must lease, go with tested solar leasing companies like Solar City or Sungevity or other local ones in your area.

Sundoor Solar

A fantastic example of a dood idea – Great guns a blazing – and than poof they are gone. Citizenre was very bad for the inductry. The fact remains solar is expensive and incentives DO make it work. Right now! If the government took away the volatility and the installers remained orhanized and stable – the projects would go so much smoother!


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