Monday, March 19, 2007

Citizenre - Brief Follow-UP

No, I am not totally Citzenre obsessed but a recent comment on a previous post got me thinking.

The DOE just awarded $168 MM in their Solar America Initiative (SAI). The goal of this initiative is to stimulate PV R&D and manufacturing, with the goal of PV generated electricity being the same cost as conventional energy (grid parity) by 2015. It specifically encourages US-based PV manufacturing.

Now, Citizenre has been claiming that they will effectively be able to accomplish grid parity much sooner, with a fully integrated US-based cell, module, and inverter plant.

However, they were not awarded an SAI grant.

Either they did not apply (dumb move, because all of their competitors did; and were awarded between $3.6 - $20 MM over the next three years); or, they couldn't convince the DOE that they are for real.

I don't know which is the case, but either way I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for these guys to bring down the cost of solar.

7 comments:

jj said...

Hi Carl -

I'm not a huge Citizenre fan either, but one comment on your comment. A good number of legitimate solar players - early stage and established - didn't win awards. One could argue that many "losers" didn't win not because they failed to convince DOE they were real, only that they failed to convince them that their R&D strategy was better than the more well established companies that comprised the bulk of the "winners."

Carl Lenox said...

Good point. I'm sure that there were many R&D proposals from solid companies that were not awarded grants.

In general I would agree that a lack of a grant award has no bearing on whether a company is legitimate, or is doing valuable work.

However, my point is that what Citizenre is publicly claiming they can and will accomplish is exactly aligned with DOE goals, and substantially more aggressive than those goals.

If they applied for the grant, then they clearly were not able to convince DOE that they can actually accomplish what they claim.

In turn, it makes me even more skeptical that their claims are accurate.

jj said...

I agree and am further troubled by their lack of transparency, particulalry in light of their agressive sales strategy. I hope all of those deposits are refunded promptly, if they don't manage to get the systems delivered as promised.

BTW, congrats on your company's SAI win ... i sincerely hope you can do big things with the funding!

zugvogel said...

Citizenre's sales associates do not collect money from anyone at this point, JJ.

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