I’m a big fan of the Realist Idealist column penned by Los Angeles Times staff writer Susan Carpenter. Although the columns seem to run few and far between, Carpenter is always up to something interesting around her house whether it’s recycling bathwater or raising backyard chickens. In the most recent installment of the Realist Idealist, Carpenter investigates the relationship between two major eco-investments that she's decided to take on: the electric car that she hopes will someday be parked in her garage and the solar panels that she’s already installed on her roof.

Part of the whole reason Carpenter made the switch to solar was to not only power her home, but to charge her hypothetical plug-in car. She writes: “Home energy consumption accounts for more than one-third of our country's greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation accounts for another third. I wanted to wipe out my contributions to both.”

However good Carpenter’s intentions, she ultimately found that a bit of patience would have ultimately saved her thousands of dollars — installing solar at home and then waiting to buy an electric car was the wrong move. Her advice to homeowners considering purchasing an electric car and charging it with solar? Buy the electric car first and then install solar for cost effectiveness and maximum rebates. Carpenter explains how you can learn from her early-adopter errors in the video below. 


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