Power Trip

Myth: Solar and an electric vehicle would be expensive, unrealistic, unattainable, for people with a lot of cash. Solar and an electric vehicle will need to be part of our household’s “five-year plan.”

Fact: Tesla is drawing up solar plans on my house for me to approve this week and install next month. I traded in the mini van for a LEAF. I’ve paid no cash up front and I WILL BE SAVING SO MUCH MONEY. Oh yeah, and the planet, too. IMG_0163

I’m on a total Power Trip (and for the record, renewable energy is the only “Power Play” I’ve got going on right now). Since coming back from Climate Reality Leadership training, I’ve been on a rampage to learn more about renewables. I returned home and announced we needed to sell the cars. Husband put his size 15 foot down and said there was no way we could afford anything right now. I would muse out loud, “I wonder about solar…” and he would rebuff, not because he didn’t think solar was great and all, but just that he/we thought it would be cash intensive. I agreed, but still pondered how to work through the logistics.

An electric car may even spice up our love life

How is it that I’ve been giving these presentations about how cheap renewables are and how electric vehicles are being dreamed up and churned out and how everyone around the world is doing it. Cost parity for renewable has been achieved or is right around the corner, so why not us? Why not me? Why not you?

I scheduled a meeting with a solar company, “for blog research,” I told the Hubs. By the end of the meeting, we would need no money down, and pay less money every month, generate our own renewable energy, have backup power during an outage, have a complete warranty for any possible malfunctions, and add value to our house. The downside would be –nothing. I didn’t even need to take the kids to the building permit office again. No brainer.

With the solar project underway, I debated the car situation. We have a 2010 Subaru Outback partial zero emissions vehicle (PZEV), which means that while it still burns fuel, the emissions are sort of magically reduced by 90%? I didn’t and still don’t really get it, because where does it all go? But getting rid of that car for the sake of the planet didn’t make much sense. And it was paid off, safe, and great in the snow.

I set my laser beams on our Honda Odyssey. Was it convenient? You betcha. Was it huge, hard to park, expensive, and generally only half-full or empty despite my best efforts to lure in carpoolers with free rides like a pedophile by a school with some candy? Indeed.

Could I live with less? Giving up the van meant giving up a certain level of convenience I’m not entirely sure that even now after the deed is already done I’m going to love. But living with less never hurt anyone and plenty of people use a 5 seat car as their family vehicle and still manage to live to tell about it. Could I live without that van payment? You betcha.

I began looking at the Nissan LEAF. Then something amazing happened. Brett read this blog by Mr. Money Mustache. It was a game changer, and suddenly he hopped on board. So on board, in fact, he was at the helm of the ship sailing to a dealership and kicking the tires of a used 2015 model.

IMG_0165I love the car buying process. I love going in acting ditsy and female yet totally prepared with numbers in hand and generally not giving a shit when the sales people shamelessly try to hustle me out of my hard-earned money. I got a good deal and traded the van in and now I don’t pay for gas or oil changes or van payments anymore.

Trump will be so bummed to find out that renewables might actually be good for businesses and the economy. Tonight, we took the LEAF downtown and charged it for free from the city of Novato. My four year old even plugged it in. While the car charged, we dined at a local restaurant, and visited two other local businesses on the same block. Maybe that Paris Climate Agreement isn’t such a bad deal for America after all.



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