Oasis Montana Inc.
Renewable Energy Supply and Design
406-777-4321or 4309
e-mail: info@oasismontana.com
Home Page: www.oasismontana.com

Visit us on the web for product and project information!
For grid-tied power systems, www.grid-tie.com
Solar water pumping:  www.PVsolarpumps.com
Non-electric gas appliances, www.LPappliances.com
Efficient and DC appliances, www.eco-fridge.com
And our main page at www.oasismontana.com

Topics In This Newsletter (Fall 2009)
From Oasis Montana

Greetings From Our Solar Powered Office: What a summer it was! Too short, as always—but with some beneficial rains that helped with the forest fires. Then, we had unusually hot weather in September, and a nasty cold snap early in October. Still, the orchard and garden were very generous to us and our friends, with much cider, plums, potatoes, carrots and other produce to share.

For those of you who aren’t “on line”, or are beginning your project, we have an extremely informative Product Catalog on disc for $10 ($18 out of country)—essential for your energy library! Products, system sizing, pricing, components, importance of energy efficient appliances, battery care, and wind turbines are just some of the topics covered. If you are on-line, you can see example systems (costs, components and power output) at www.oasismontana.com/systems.html
To assist your information input, we’ve tried to develop as much on-line information as we can. For solar water pumping, see www.PVsolarpumps.com; for utility-tied photovoltaic systems, visit www.grid-tie.com; for efficient AC appliances, DC ’fridges, coolers and freezers see www.eco-fridge.com; for natural and LP gas appliances, see www.LPappliances.com. Our main index page is www.oasismontana.com and we now offer composting toilets at www.eco-potty.com. Visit our web pages and stay a while!

30% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT —and reduced solar module pricing make this the ideal time to get your PV system up and running!

Solar modules have come down as much as 30% in the past year, so check our pricing page for what modules best suit your power project (or give us a call). Since the paperwork involving these incentives can be a little confusing, peruse these online sources for more information.

http://www.dsireusa.org for a state-by-state database of all incentives available to U.S. consumers.

http://www.energy.gov/media/HR_1424.pdf This link summarizes the energy tax incentives of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index This lists federal tax credits for energy efficiency.

http://www.awea.org/legislative/american_recovery_reinvestment_act.html This site summarizes grant programs and wind energy productions tax credits, as well as tax credits for advanced energy manufacturers.

And here’s http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf , the form for the personal residential tax credit.

The Allure of Wind Power!   Many people are enamored with the prospect of wind power generation—and unfortunately some make the investment before they have really ascertained that they have the resource for a wind system. Solar modules are so boring, they just sit there….but wind machines are a form of kinetic sculpture, and their spinning movement is quite entrancing! BUT, while folks are drawn to wind generation, photovoltaics are often a better approach (often because wind looks like it’s doing something even when it isn’t, while PV tends to be the opposite). And there are important issues with wind turbines; wind devices need proper siting to avoid turbulence, and most neighborhoods have tower restrictions. Wind generators should be mounted at least 30 ft. above anything else within 500 ft., and in an urban situation, usually your lot must be at least 1/2 half acre or larger in size. Permits, neighbors, variances….all are factors to be considered before spending money on a wind generator. The larger the blade span, the greater the swept wind area, so if you do have an excellent site for wind power, go big and high for the greatest power return.

If you have some idea of mounting a wind genny on your house….well, get over it. It’s a very bad idea, and even smaller units have been known to vibrate a structure apart. Visit http://www.wind-works.org/articles/RoofTopMounting.html for an article about roof-mounted wind machines. And there’s another site that works to dispel myths about urban wind generators at
http://www.urbanturbines.org (there’s some scary pictures here!). A pole stuck 10 ft. above your garage is not going to generate much; now I’m not saying you can’t have a wind turbine in the city limits, but unless you have good clean wind, preferably mostly from one direction, with no obstacles to reduce the wind resource, it’s not going to be a good investment.

Of late we have been receiving requests to become dealers for several types of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs). These devices sort of look like egg-beaters, mounted on a vertical central pole and spinning like a top. In spite of their claims, the basic design is not suitable, at present, for high power production. And while they do look cool, no matter how high wind speeds are, the blades being turned are offset by an equal amount of wind hitting the opposing blades—so never more than 50% of the winds can be utilized to create rotation, no matter how efficient the blade design. The three bladed horizontal axis models still make the most power for their design. And so, if you WERE seriously considering a residential, battery-based, grid-tied wind generation system….it just might entail these components:

  • Outback GTFX2524 inverter (2500W continuous rating, 24V inverter)
  • Outback Power MATE controller (system programmer & monitor)
  • Pair 10' 4/0 inverter to battery cables
  • XL1 Wind Generator
  • Temp Sensor
  • Midnight E-Panel, two 60A DC breakers
  • 8 - 6V Batteries (no cost included for these)
  • 80 ft. tilt-up tower kit

So I have a total of $8100 (approximate; see current pricing) before freight, batteries & interconnects, site work, installation, wire runs, ground rod, those sorts of things. We have had XL.1 turbines in the field since 2002 with few problems, and you can view the installation manual for this tough turbine at http://www.bergey.com. How much power this will make at your site depends on your average wind speeds, local turbulence, and elevation. You can view maps of wind resources at these sites: http:/www.windpowermaps.org,
http://www.nrel.gov/wind/resource_assessment.html and http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp. You may also want to consult with your local weather resources and airports—always good places to check for average wind speeds.

To design a power system for you, we need your power requirements (electrical load information). See our web page for system sizing information and examples of power systems, which are based on the part of the country you’re in and how much sunlight you receive. We have design information on our web site, so please feel free to utilize this. Or, we also offer a product and design information CD for just $10.00 ($18 international)-—filled with information for your energy library! We also have a paper catalog, which costs $15 for U.S. residents.

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Current Pricing as of November 2009

Solar Module Pricing:

Call for availability, freight costs, and quantities (# of modules) on pallets for the best deal. You can’t get less than a pallet quantity to get the pallet ‘deal’. For larger modules, pallet quantity generally runs between 20 and 30 modules.  Call for single module and pallet quantity prices. 


SHARP ND-224U1F, 224W
Sharp NT-175UI, 175W 
Sharp NE-170UI, 170W SALE! while supplies last.
Sharp ND-130UJF, 130W 
Sharp NE-80EJEA, 80W

SANYO HIT195, 195W
Sanyo HIT190, 190W
Sanyo HIT Double 195W 
Sanyo 215N, 215W

Mitsubishi UD-175MF5, 175W

SUNTECH STP-175/24, 175W
Suntech 70 STP12, 70W

Canadian Solar 200W

Evergreen 195W


Kyocera KD205GX, 205W
Kyocera KD185GX, 185W
Kyocera KD180GX, 180W
Kyocera KD135GX, 135W
(Some Kyocera modules may have a ~3 month lead time)
Kyocera KC130TM, 130W
Kyocera KC85T, 85W
Kyocera KC65T, 65W
Kyocera KC40T, 40W
Kyocera KS20, 20W
Kyocera KS10, 10W
Kyocera KS5, 5W


GE-PVp200M, 200W




We offer a variety of mounts to suit your project, including A-frame roof or ground mounts, top and side of pole mounts, flush mounts, tilt mounts, RV racks, as well as Zomeworks or Wattsun Trackers. Call for your cost, avail-ability and freight. At this writing, some racks may have a 6 week lead time.
NOTE: the small print — prices subject to change without notice (sometimes for the better!)

CHARGE CONTROLLERS—call for information! We offer most models, including those made by Morningstar, Blue Sky Energy, Apollo Solar, Xantrex, Outback Power, SCI and Stecca.

From time to time we at Oasis Montana hear of these supposed marvelous ‘energy saving devices’ which will magically reduce the amount of power we are using...and purchasing. Well, here’s an article written by the Association of Energy Engineers which addresses the sales pitches for these so-called energy devices:
http://www.plantservices.com/wp_downloads/pdf/0903_Power_Quality.pdf.  As quoted: "The problem is that some of these solution providers have significantly overstated the savings and the customers are deceived. They often provide very little, if any, energy savings."

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Propane refrigerators, freezers, ranges, cooktops - www.LPappliances.com for information.  No power is no problem with these gas ‘fridges, freezers and stoves!  The refrigerators and freezer come set up for propane but can be converted to natural gas for a small fee.  The stoves and cooktops come set up for natural gas with instructions to adjust for use with propane.

Propane Refrigerators:
Dometic Servel propane refrigerator, 8 cu.ft. capacity  Call for pricing.
The Servel propane refrigerator can be converted to use natural gas; call for pricing.

Crystal Cold 12 cu.ft. capacity propane ’fridge  Call for pricing.
Crystal Cold 15 cu.ft. capacity  Call for pricing.
Crystal Cold 18 cu.ft. capacity  Call for pricing.
Stainless 18 cu.ft. capacity (w/ black textured sides)  Call for pricing.
NEW 21 cu.ft. capacity White Crystal Cold ‘Fridge  Call for pricing.
(it’s the biggest propane refrigerator manufactured!)
Also available as a special order is a 19 cu.ft. black model for  Call for pricing.
The Crystal Cold refrigerators can be converted to natural gas; call for pricing.

Propane Freezers
Blizzard 15 cu.ft. capacity upright freezer  Call for pricing.
Blizzard 22 cu.ft. capacity upright freezer  Call for pricing.
The Blizzard 15 and 22 cu.ft. freezers can be converted to natural gas; call for pricing.

Peerless Premier gas ranges are available in 20”, 24”, 30” and 36” widths, with model colors ranging from white, bisque, black and stainless. Even the electronic ignition models will work without power (you can light the burners and oven with a match) -- there’s no glow bar in the ovens on these mechanically simple, American-made stoves. All ranges are set up for natural gas but LP conversion kits are included for every model at no extra cost (and you don’t have to be Mr. Wizard to figure it out).

Drop-in Gas Cook-tops
We also offer propane & natural gas cooktops, Italian-made by Verona; these professional cooking appliances are available in a wide variety of finishes (stainless, black, bisque and white or black glass), with two, four and five burner models. www.LPappliances.com for pictures and specifications.

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Outback Power Components Pricing

Sealed inverters: FX2012T, 2524T, 3048T  Call for pricing.
Vented inverters: VFX2812, 3524, 3648  Call for pricing.
Grid-tie, mobile, marine and export versions available on most of these sine wave inverters.
MATE system display & controller  Call for pricing.
PSX240 Transformer  Call for pricing.
Communications Manager HUB-4; HUB-10  Call for pricing.
FLEXmax60 MPPT 60A Charge Controller  Call for pricing.
FLEXmax80 MPPT 80A Controller  Call for pricing.   
There are way more Outback Power products than we have room to list….call or e-mail for more information. info@oasismontana.com or visit their web page at www.outbackpower.com They’ve got a nice product catalog there you can download too, at http://www.outbackpower.com/catalog.htm.

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
—Stanley Horowitz

Why buy from Oasis Montana Inc?

Chris Daum, owner and manager of Oasis Montana, has been in the renewable energy field for 20 years. We are happy to work with your installer, electrician, or contractor out of our area, and we do install systems locally. We provide detailed wiring diagrams with the systems we sell. We are a small shop and take the time to design a system specific solar electric power system to your requirements. We do not sell solar electric power "kits".  Every system is specifically designed to meet your needs.  Being a small shop with over 20 years experience we are able to specialize in great customer service.  There are a lot of "newbees" out there now that "Renewable Energy" is starting to be popular.  Buy from Oasis Montana Inc with confidence and don't be fooled by some "Johnny-come-lately" now that renewable energy is becoming in vogue.

TO PLACE AN ORDER: E-mail or call us for your freight ; if you have any questions about your system or product, please contact us. E-mail is easiest and fastest (but we know that you aren’t all on line). We accept Visa/Mastercard (personal and business checks are fine). For our international customers, we accept bank transfers—e-mail or call us for our banking information. Our hours are 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Mountain Time, Mon. – Fri. If we‘re on another line when you call, please leave us a message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can, but you may have to leave a message if we’re with a customer or on one of the other lines. 406-777-4321 or 4309 or e-mail us at info@oasismontana.com — for tech support on renewable energy systems, e-mail  larry@oasismontana.com. We’d be very happy to help you with your power project — send an e-mail or give us a call!

Kill A Watt Meter:


The Electricity Detector and Monitor can educate you about your monthly electric bill and help you save a lot of money. You can now be a ’detective’ and ascertain what appliances are actually worth keeping plugged in. Simply plug in the Kill A Watt meter, connect your appliances to it and Kill a Watt will assess how efficient it really is, showing you the instantaneous power used, and also cumulative energy or kilowatt-hours used.
Kill a Watt, with large LCD display, will count consumption by the kilowatt-hour, same as your local utility. With the help of Kill a Watt you can figure out your electrical expenses by the day, week, month or year on a given device. Kill a Watt can check the quality of your power by monitoring Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor. Still just $25.
Now you'll know if it is time to install a power strip on your entertainment center instead of feeding those ghosts loads while you are sleeping or away from home. Or, is that laptop really cheaper to power than a desktop PC?
* Operating Voltage: 115VAC   * Max Voltage: 125VAC
* Max Current: 15A                   * Max Power: 1875W
          * Dimensions: 5 1/8” x 1 5/8” x 2 3/8”

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The CHINOOK 200 Wind Turbine is here!

 If you have modest power requirements, good average wind speeds and are looking for a small wind generator to help keep your batteries full (especially in the cold, dark days of winter), consider the Chinook turbine. Its maximum output is 250W and it’s rated at 200W, at either 12V or 24V output. It is made and tested in one of Montana’s windiest location (near Great Falls). At an average wind speed of 12 mph you will get about 40 kilowatt-hours per month (depending on your elevation and constancy of wind).

Technical specifications: rotor diameter is one meter (39”); rated wind velocity is 28 mph; cut-in rpm 350. At 14 lbs. it is easy to mount on any 1.5” (48.4mm) schedule 40 steel pipe (commonly available in most hardware or plumbing stores) and it carries a three year limited manufacturer’s warranty. Other features:

  • Only two moving parts and sealed for life bearings
  • Proprietary 3-phase axial PMA utilizing neodymium iron boron technology
  • Suitable for domestic or marine applications
  • Quiet operation with low TSR motor
  • Excellent performance at low wind speeds
  • Injection molded blades
  • Lightweight but heavy duty
  • Microcontroller based control system
  • ‘Plug & Play’ charge controller with built-in dump load
  • Ideal for supplementing solar electric power systems!
  • Quality USA made
  • Call for pricing.

The DL300 Series controller is designed to prevent your batteries from overcharging; it’s compact and easy to install, and incorporates a 300W resistor/heater and controller in a stout 18 gauge powder-coated steel enclosure.
If you have been considering the addition of wind to your PV system—or you are planning to add a wind generator to your sail-boat or catamaran, now is the time to try a Chinook! The turbine and controller is $675 plus freight. The next batch in production should be ready to ship just before Thanksgiving. We have specs and a copy of the manual we can e-mail, if you want more information!

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While it is wonderful that our federal government has finally stepped up to the plate with its renewable tax incentives, there are always unscrupulous persons waiting to take advantage of people’s interest in these kinds of power systems. There was an article in AARP’s last newsletter about the dangers of scammers, and how you can avoid them at http://bulletin.aarp.org/yourmoney/scamalert/articles/scam_alert_watch_out_for_energy_saving_schemes.html. There are other scammers out there too; of late there’ve been many e-mails about ’making your own solar modules’ with claims of ’powering your home for a $200 investment’. While there are kits to build your own modules, they are better suited for the student or hobby endeavor. We are getting calls from folks wanting to sell power back to their utility with their home-made solar modules or wind generators. Unfortunately most people are clueless as to the input requirement for these grid-tie inverters, and it’s a rude awakening when they are told that only UL approved components are legal and National Electric Code safe for grid-tie systems. And if you think that $200 of home-made PV panels will power the average home, there’s a bridge somewhere that’s for sale cheap too….

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Our customers in northern climates have sought ways to keep their animals watered in below freezing conditions—and we finally have something for you. The SUNTANK (25 gallon model pictured at right) will keep your water freeze-free to wind chill of 20 degrees below zero, and the 42 gallon unit will work to -50 degrees F. These can be filled from the top with a hose or you can have a direct line attached with auto-fill and shut-off float to keep full.  Call for pricing. Other features include:

  • Durable! Units used and tested for 18 years are still going strong.
  • No freeze-ups, never rusts.
  • No fuel or electricity needed, so it can be placed anywhere in un-obscured sunlight.
  • No risk of electrical shock to livestock, with a shatter-proof passive solar collector.
  • No costly fuel or electricity; uses energy from the sun, still absorbs UV on cloudy days.
  • SAVES time and money, so it pays for itself faster.
  • Will NOT freeze even when livestock don't drink. Easy accessible water for livestock, even in ice and snow conditions.

There’s no minimum number of livestock needed, and this also keeps water cool and algae-free in summer. Closed system helps stop West Nile Virus and other diseases. You may have to fence out the collector side to avoid shading from stock. The 42 gallon unit is guaranteed to -50F degrees below zero, and the 25 gallon unit guaranteed to -20 degrees below zero -- during winter conditions with wind chill factor included.

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Renewable Energy and Alternative News Bites:

Kudos to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown for introducing the "Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act of 2009." The IMPACT Act would provide resources for small- and medium-sized manufacturers through a 2-year, $30 billion manufacturing revolving loan fund, which will provide much needed liquidity for domestic manufacturers to improve processes, to retool and expand production of clean energy products. The Apollo Alliance estimates that, once enacted, the bill will create 680,000 direct manufacturing jobs and 2 million indirect jobs over 5 years.  more...

Nuclear Power Too Cheap To Meter? ….not really! There’s little hype or spin in this article by energy policy analyst Matthew Johnson from Texas at http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/commentary/50063697.html; and you can find more information about the very high costs of nuclear-generated electricity at http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=47906

Pee fuel….it could make beer drinking even more important!

Weighing in on Federal subsidies for renewables vs. fossil fuel.  Visit http://www.grist.org/article/2009-09-22-fossil-fuel-subsidies-dwarf-clean-energy-subsidies-obama-wants/ for an article on fossil fuel subsidies far outweighing funds for renewable technologies—and how that will change in the near future.  more...

Decisions, decisions...should you subsidize your utility company’s photovoltaic project, or is it more cost-effective to renovate your own home with PV?
http://www.emagazine.com/view/?4802, and scroll down for some perspectives and answers.

Intermittency Not a Problem for Wind Power, Say European Studies: http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?src=nl&id=16703; reports published in the past month by the National Grid, and other energy consultancies, all come to the same conclusion - that large scale deployment of wind energy does away with the problems of variable wind. The NGO report, "Managing Variability," published by WWF, RSPB, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, also claims that breakdowns in coal and gas plants generally pose more of a threat to the stability of utility networks than the relatively benign variations in the output of wind plant.

Vegi-car? http://www.gizmag.com/formula-3-racing-car-powered-by-chocolate-and-steered-by-carrots-seriously/11625/ for an article on a Formula 3 racing car powered by carrots and...chocolate? Seriously!  It’s a little pricey, but check out the video footage. more...

New Economic Data Released on Clean Energy Legislation: http://www.nrdc.org/media/2009/090917.asp Under the American Clean Energy and Security Act, there will be more jobs, less global warming pollution and greater security, all for less than the cost of a postage stamp a day (per American household), according to “A Clean Energy Bargain” analysis. The report found that ACES will drive investments in clean energy and energy efficiency of more than $300 billion by 2030.

Solar collector roads?  Imagine if our asphalt surfaces could make solar power: http://www.solarroadways.com/Introduction.htm ...



"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul,” —John Muir

“If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.” —Paul Hawken

“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself, he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” —Laurence J. Peter

“Every business is built on friendship.” —J.C. Penny

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts…and beer.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Come my friends, tis not too late to seek a newer world.” —A.L. Tennyson

"Believe in yourself, your neighbors, your work, your ultimate attainment of more complete happiness. It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in Autumn. “ — B. C. Forbes

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape -- the loneliness of it -- the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it -- the whole story doesn't show.” — Andrew Wyeth

“October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February. “ — Mark Twain

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.” — Albert Camus

“The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many. “ — Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.” —Samuel Butler


WE’RE STILL REDUCING OUR MAILING LIST—with rising printing & mailing costs, we will be removing some old addresses from our mailing list. If you receive both this e-mail version and the paper version, let us know if we can remove your name from our mailed version if this version works for you.  If you are reading this from our web site and would like to subscribe to our emailed newsletter please let us know.  It saves paper, labor and postage, and only disturbs a few electrons. Sometimes we have a great deal to offer, or just some good RE news to pass on. We do not sell or share our (small, hand-maintained) e-mail list with anyone. Contact us at info@oasismontana.com.  If we have a sale or new product, e-mail may be your only notification. And we promise we won’t bother you more than a couple of times a year.

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Solar Array Flag
Independent power is as American as apple pie!

There’s never been a better time to go solar!

This is the last year for the 30% federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for a solar power system. Then it will drop 4% and be at 26% for 2020; this includes installations on both residential and business properties – and may even include your RV, if you can call that a second home. The federal tax credit for all installations will end by the end of 2022.mounted solar array

You can also find out what state incentives are available for you at www.dsireusa.org. In some states, their incentives, combined with the ITC, can negate up to 80% of the system’s total cost. And all costs are deserving of the credit with the ITC, including permitting, installation and shipping (and perhaps even a new roof if it is needed).

If you use some tax software, it should ask you if you’ve installed a solar power system in the past year, but if not, and you do your own taxes, be sure to fill out IRS form 5695 – and keep all of your receipts related to your system purchase. IF you need a link to that residential tax form, here it is: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf

Reducing or negating your utility bills, and gaining energy independence (an American value!) through solar power has never been a better deal!

The Importance of WATER...

You can live without a lot of things in the world, but water isn’t one of them; clean potable water is running low or just becoming unavailable in many parts of the world, including the U.S. We’ve been engaged in solar water pumping for two decades, and there’s been many changing technologies to address water needs for residential use, and commercial endeavors such as irrigation, livestock, fish farms and wildlife management. One of the latest is to run a 240VAC pump array direct – that is, it will run when the sun is shining, and requires a solar array but no batteries. These will run a variety of pumps, 120/240V, three-phase, and change a 1 or 2 speed motor pump to a soft start. You can view information about this new technology at http://www.pvsolarpumps.com/PDFs/PicoCell Spec Sheet_Oasis Montana.pdf

Now there are even more options; if you have the need for higher amperage and horsepower, the Picocell will now handle up to 3 HP and 12 amps. These solar-powered pumps will allow your home or business to qualify for a variety of tax credits, grants, and incentive programs. If you are looking for something to power your large AC pump, We Have It!  Check out our new Picocell controllers.  Give us a call for more information, 406-777-4321.

And if you’ve been thinking of an off-grid water pumping project, you are likely to enjoy this short video from one of our pump suppliers, Lorentz.

If you are a Montanan: Northwestern Energy is proposing some bad news for its net-metered customers; more information at http://montanarenewables.org/programs/general-electric-rate-case/

And if you really want to help support renewable energy in MT, please consider joining the Montana Renewable Energy Association (http://montanarenewables.org/about-us/join-mrea/). They’ll keep you informed as to legislative issues, promote our annual energy fair and offer an informative web site to help promote the advantages of renewables (www.montanarenewables.org). Please consider joining today! Your membership will make a difference.

Why energy efficiency is SO important.


The cheapest power is that which we do not use.   https://nwenergy.org/ for more information!

Is this proper grounding?
Power line down at river crossing

Power line down at river crossing, often local power production is more dependable

Sometimes utility power is at the mercy of the elements,
as shown by these downed power lines in a flooding Montana river.

We caught these picture canoeing the Bitterroot River last June.


Is small wind right for you? Here’s your opportunity to find out!
For a limited time only, we are offering the Chinook wind turbine for half-price, at $495 plus shipping. You won’t find a better deal for a quality, American-made wind generator! With a top end of 250W output, this can be a valuable addition to your battery charging set-up if you regularly have winds of 10-12 mph or greater. These mount on 1.5” schedule 40 steel pipe and come with their own dump load controller. They are available as a 12, 24 or 48V charging unit, and were originally designed and built in Montana (so you know they are tough).

We’ve had one of these here at Oasis Montana for about five years now, and it still works great. Every spring and summer, we have winds in excess of 80 mph but it keeps quietly making power for our 48V battery bank. These are also suitable for marine use, to help keep your navigation equipment charged and working (as the wind on the water generally seems to be blowing most of the time). We have installation manuals and other information we can send you on these; call if you are interested, 406-777-4309, e-mail us at Oasis or visit our web page at http://www.air403windgenerators.com/chinook-wind-generator.html.


System Spotlight

We assisted Bryan & Shannon Tarter of southeastern Montana in their system upgrade, adding more solar modules
and going from a 12V system to replacing with a new 48V inverter for their remote home. Nice going!


If you have a space-challenged kitchen (or a small cabin needing a fridge), we have an efficient, beautiful AC refrigerator option for you.
MODEL FF923PL (uses only 865 watt-hours per day, or .865KWH).

.attractive ff923 refrigerator with door open


Attractive FF923pl Stainless refrigerator


Height of Cabinet

66.63" (169 cm)

Height to Hinge Cap

67.13" (171 cm)


21.25" (54 cm)

Width with Door Open

22.0" (56 cm)


23.25" (59 cm)

Depth with door at 90°

43.0" (109 cm)


8.9 cu.ft. (252 L)

Defrost Type



Stainless Steel



US Electrical Safety


Canadian Electrical Safety


Energy Usage/Year





115 V AC/60 Hz


110.0 lbs. (50 kg)

Shipping Weight

115.0 lbs. (52 kg)

Parts & Labor Warranty

1 Year

Compressor Warranty

5 Years

Price (before shipping)


We have other efficient refrigeration options available; visit www.eco-fridge.com for AC & DC offerings, and www.LPappliances.com, for refrigerators, freezers and gas ranges that operate off of NG or LP gas with NO electrical requirements.

Solar electric power from the sunInverters, solar modules, tariffs & trade deals

The import tariffs put on many incoming products hasn’t terribly hurt the renewable energy sector. True, employment in the solar power field has dropped a couple of percentage points in the past 18 months, and some utility-size projects were put on hold, but in general renewable energy jobs are still a very a bright spot in the U.S. economy. Renewable technologies are a global industry; many solar modules considered ‘made in the USA’ still have cells made in other countries; likewise inverters and inverter parts are often made abroad. If you are looking to buy American, Mission Solar, Panasonic and SolarWorld are cranking out high-quality modules in our fair country, and we also have access to Longi, Seraphim, Canadian Solar, Trina, Jinko, LG, Silfab, CSun, Yingli and more. We can also get ahold of some of the smaller, 12V nominal modules that are sometimes difficult to find. Let us know what you need for your power project, and we shall find what you seek!



Batteries for back-up power: what are your critical loads?

6v batteries wired in series for 48 voltsThe least costly way to get into solar power (if you are hooked up to a utility) is to have a batteryless, grid-tied power system; when the sun shines, the solar modules on your roof or mounting rack make power that goes into an inverter, which converts the electricity into grid-palatable AC power and makes your meter spin slower – or makes your meter spin backwards, if you are making more power than you use. It’s a simple and direct method of reducing or negating your utility bill. However, without batteries, if the power goes out, these systems shut down (to keep the power lines from being live to protect any line workers). It can be frustrating to have a solar power system but not be able to use it if the power goes down!

There are now ways to add battery back-up to these kinds of power systems. The number of batteries needed will depend on the loads you want to power. It may be very costly to, say, power your entire home or business but if you have any important loads (like a refrigerator, or keeping necessary computers on line) – that’s how we design the size of the battery back-up needed. If your power outages are brief and rare, then you won’t need the number of batteries that someone might need if the power tends to go out for days at a time! Like any other system design, the electrical load information is most important.

We have a lot of basic battery information at www.oasismontana.com/batteries.html; most of the information is about FLA (flooded lead-acid) batteries, but we offer a lot of other options for battery back-up. Call us if you are interested in back-up power in the event of a utility outage!


Renewable Energy News Bites


Anyone who knows me, knows I am a chicken fancier and raise batches of chickens from time to time. Some of my friends even refer to me as the ‘chicken whisperer’.

Organic Chickens at Oasis Montana

 I’ve been keeping chickens for nearly forty years, and was raised around them as a kid, and I’ve learned some tricks about helping them to survive winter in good health. One of them is to keep clean water in front of them at all times. I have one of those heated dog waterers; it holds about a gallon; I put fresh water out every morning then top it off later in the day, and that provides enough water for my 14 chickens. The waterer itself uses about 40 watts, and when it gets above freezing it shuts off as it is thermostatically controlled. So it is not a large electrical load on my solar power system (still, that’s almost a kilowatt-hour a day when it’s cold). There are companies that sell heated chicken waterers, but they tend to use substantially more power.

I have a small chicken house that is only 6 x 8 on the floor area, but with the nests and built-in roosts, it’s pretty easy to keep clean, and its smaller size enables the chickens to stay warmer in winter than they would in a larger shed. I use a good grass hay for bedding, and rake it out when it getsOrganic eggs grown at Oasis Montana Inc. soiled (and have enough from ‘the girls’ to side dress all of my fruit trees with the manure and hay at least once a year). I have to clean their house more in winter, as the days are shorter and they spend more time indoors. But I do have a 10W LED light and timer that comes on in the chicken house about 3 a.m. – and that increases the photoperiod enough that my hens lay very well through the darkest time of the year. I used to think that hens needed some ‘time off’ in the winter – but I no longer believe that is true; when a hen chick is hatched, she contains all the embryonic eggs she will ever lay, so it’s up to us to provide the nutrition and environment to maximize their egg-laying capabilities.

There are breeds that are certainly more suitable for colder climates (and I won’t go into that in great detail, as there’s lots of information about that available), but the breeds I favor are for hardiness and egg-laying ability. The Plymouth Rocks and Ameraucanas are high on my list (and I love the colored eggs), although I presently have some crossbreeds that are prolific layers of large eggs. I feed my chickens organic grains; it’s considerably more costly but – when you consider what goes into chicken feed (mostly corn and soy) – I’d rather not have any transgenic pesticides in their feed. I eat (and sell) their eggs and sometimes I eat my chickens too, so I want all to be of the highest quality and free of chemicals.

We have designed systems for barns and sheds to provide lighting; like all systems it all depends on how much power you need and the loads you desire to run. We don’t get a lot of sun in the winter, here on the western side of the continental divide, and I don’t have a separate system just for the chicken house; we run an electrical line out there from my inverter system that powers my home/office. And the results are gorgeous, tasty eggs and healthy chickens.

Quotable quotes

"One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.”
-Charles M. Blow

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer if they’re happy.” 
–Anton Chekhov

 “Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” 
–Sinclair Lewis

 “Optimize the way we use the world’s resources.  Do more with less.  Don’t wait for the politicians.  See what needs to be done and do it.” 
–R. Buckminster Fuller                                              

 “Ah, the Summer Solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvas of awareness.  At the Winter Solstice, the wind is cold, the trees are bare, and all lies in stillness beneath the blanket of snow.” 
–Gary Zukav

“Humans have complicated every simple gift of the gods.” 

“Bad days happen to everyone, but when one happens to you, just keep doing your best and never let a bad day make you feel bad about yourself.”
-Big Bird

“People of North America, may the example of all those nations that have preceded you, and especially that of your motherland, instruct you. Beware of the affluence of gold that brings with it the corruption of morals and the scorn of laws; beware of an unbalanced distribution of wealth that will give rise to a small number of opulent citizens and a horde of citizens in poverty, a situation that will engender the insolence of some and the deprivation of others.” 

“I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.”
- George Washington



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Visit us on the web for product and project information!
For grid-tied power systems, www.grid-tie.com
Solar water pumping:  www.PVsolarpumps.com
Non-electric gas appliances, www.LPappliances.com
Efficient and DC appliances, www.eco-fridge.com
And our main page at www.oasismontana.com