Renewable Energy Investments: A Case Study
Early adopters are consumers who aspire to own the newest gadget even if it means paying top price. When it came to a renewable energy plan for our home and automobiles, we were no exceptions. Despite the high cost, we wanted our home and two cars dependent on 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Why? Where did we get the money? Was our idealism too expensive? Would this energy cost-saving-investment make a difference in our monthly electric bill? How long could it take to pay for itself? This blog post answers those questions. We took the plunge, began our conversion with 24 solar panels seven years ago and a few years later purchased two 100 percent electric cars.
Our primary motivation was to reduce our bills from Southern California Edison, which is the most expensive electric power company in the country and to take advantage of power company incentives and federal tax credits. We had a big-picture motivation too: With our long-term commitment to green consciousness, we support our national goals of clean, renewable, and efficient energy production and consumption. Tesla employs American ingenuity and employees, and supports our home-state California economy. These decisions to convert our home and our cars to 100 percent renewable energy over the last seven years were obvious ways to support our country and the planet.
Where did we get the money?
Because of our 35-year history of frugal living and disciplined investing, we had the financial resources to proceed. Our portfolio’s growth since the 2008 stock market crash was facilitated by self-managing our low-cost, diversified portfolio. Financial advisers are expensive, even the fiduciaries. We figured that our cost of going green was actually less than what we would have paid an adviser, who could have easily eaten 2 percent per year to manage our portfolio.
We share below what we paid for solar panels, a Nissan Leaf and a Tesla Model S, and how much we saved in energy costs. Keep in mind that prices for solar panels and electric cars will no doubt decline. The battery is the most expensive part in any electric car. Tesla Motors is planning to build a factory dedicated to creating and producing batteries at lower costs and longer driving range, and it is rolling out the first $35,000 (base price) Model 3 SUV by 2017. By 2020, electric cars and solar panels should be everywhere.