Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to

Home Forums General Discussion Once set up, how much money is required to live each year? Re: Once set up, how much money is required to live each year?


I bought a small (24’x26′) cabin shell that was roofed and had septic. I could have done that myself, but it was convenient as a base of what I wanted to do. I remodeled in anticipation of the addition and added two attached low sheds custom designed for the battery banks/twin DR2424 Inverters and charge control center on one side, and one similar to fit the backup generator on the other side (2’8″ x 2’8″ x 5′, 4/12 shed). The inside was conventionally wired, and custom finished. The full tracking 8-75W array with everything cost $9,400 (w/2-24VDC desulfators). House facing was 45* to south (I would have built with the roof going E to W).

On the addition, it was 26′ x 32′ with a 9’x 16′ part of the existing house. Using rammed earth tires on 56′ of bearing /retaining walls(R-32), transitioning to frame, using log siding removed for exposed framing 2 x 6 walls, like the house R-21, ceiling R-30. I added 4-US42s and 2 US64 panels on fixed aluminum L mounts, C35 charge control, Vector Smart Charger, 4- L-16S, ProSine 1000, and modified sinewave 800-2500 surge, w/remote selector. $2,900 total system cost(w/2-12VDC desulfators). Then I completed the Y in the rammed earth retaining walls to a 32′ x 24′ Earthship(R-32 walls and R-38 ceiling). It has a simple 3 light 2 1/2 outlet system, with 2- US64s, a C12 controller, 4 golf cart batteries, 2-12VDC desulfators, and has been through 1-140W, 1-300W sinewave inverters from the humidity, and now on a 180W. Total, counting the inverter replacements–$1,240.

The Unisolars are on fixed latitude mounts because they take in good power throughout the day. The glass panels need tracking. Seasonally adjustable single axis trackers are less than my two axis “full” tracker. If not tracking, but going just seasonally adjustable fixed with glass panels, you need at least 40% more. If mounted fixed and not at the average sun angle, you will need to figure refectivity losses, and adjust for that. Look at the warranty for hail damage–usually at least a 30* angle of mounting from horizontal is needed or the warranty is void. Of course, if self mounting without a kit, they must be made strong enough to resist any anticipated or greater wind (and maybe snow) loads.