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

In this renewable energy newsletter issue:

The CHINOOK Wind Turbine is back in production.200 watt Chinook wind turbine

The 200W CHINOOK wind turbine is back in production and will be available by April; it's rated at ~200W and is available for 12V, 24V and now also for 48V battery charging systems. Made in Arlington, WA, and built tough as nails, this may be an ideal addition to your power system if you regularly have average wind speeds of 10 mph or greater. MSRP is $1063 but we are offering these at an introductory cost of $849 plus shipping. This wind genny mounts on a 1.5" Schedule 40 steel pipe, and has a three year manufacturer's warranty.

Technical specifications:

Rotor diameter
Rated wind velocity
Rated output
Maximum output
Cut-in wind speed
Output voltage

Tower mount
1 meter (39")
12.5 m/s (28 mph)
200 watts
250 watts
350 rpm
6.5kg (14 lbs)
12, 24 or 48V
(not field selectable)
1.5" Sch. 40 (48.3mm)
3 years (limited)

> Only two moving parts and sealed for life bearings
> Suitable for domestic or marine applications
> Quiet operation
> Excellent performance at low wind speeds Innovative injection molded
> blades Ideal for supplementing a PV system Lightweight but heavy duty
> Microcontroller based control system Designed in windy Montana, made
> in the USA "Plug & Play charge" controller with built-in dump load

Like all wind turbines, it should be mounted at least 30 ft. taller than anything else within 500 ft. If winds are good on the surface, they're even better aloft. Don't be sticking it on a 10 ft. pole above your garage! There's too much turbulance close to the ground.

means "new year's goodness to you". It's the Chinese year of the rooster, and here's a picture of one of my roosters, Frick the fricken chicken; a handsome fellow!
And happy new year's to you.

The Oasis Montana solar power system history - by owner Chris Daum

We get a lot of inquiries for backup power when the utility fails. Many people live where winter or wind storms are prevalent that can knock out power, or simply where they feel their utility power is unreliable. Like other power systems we design, we need to know what loads you want to power, and for how long, for our design parameters. Here at Oasis Montana, we've had winter storms and spring winds that have knocked out our power from time to time, so our first PV system was enough to back up a couple of important loads.

Some folks want only the basic in terms of a long-term power outage...like lights and a refrigerator. Oasis Montana's first photovoltaic system, installed in the year 2000, ran our efficient refrigerator, a couple of compact fluorescent lights, computer and printer/fax; the rest of the home/office ran on utility power. The main components were ~500W of solar modules, charge controller, 2500W 24V inverter (an old Trace Power Series model), ~1000aH of batteries (a substantial battery bank!), plus the fusing, disconnects, mount structure (we hung the solar modules off a south facing soffit), 200W wind turbine, and the balance of system goods -- surge protectors, battery interconnects, grounding parts, AC sub-panel, etcetera. The entire system cost, back then, was around $11,500, before installation and shipping costs (we installed this ourselves). Sometimes in the winter, in low light conditions, we would need to charge the batteries from the utility power (or, if we were off-grid, we would've had to run a generator -- we're on the western side of the continental divide, and we don't get a lot of sunny days in the winter). Our batteries would provide power for about 4-5 days of back-up on our fridge and office equipment loads. The back-up power was only used a couple of times, but it was nice to be able to count on refrigeration, lights and 'business as usual' regardless of if utility power was working or not. This original Oasis system made approximately 2.2KW or ~2200+ watt-hours a day in summer.

http://www.oasismontana.com/images/OurSite/install1modules.jpg -- here's our first solar array, installed in 2000, before we built the office addition.

Our original cabin was about 600 sq.ft. We didn't have an indoor toilet for 23 years!

Our first PV system worked flawlessly, with no particular care except for battery maintenance and hosing off the solar modules, for 10+ years. I imagine it reduced our utility bill also, since those loads were always powered by the sun. But we wanted to be able to power our 240VAC water pump in the event of a power outage; since it was 1.5 HP, we needed a much bigger inverter to handle the starting surge. In 2004 we built a three-story office addition. I started hiring employees and I figured the place needed an upgrade (including indoor plumbing). And the roof was a very nice angle for solar power...when the time came. As it was, we wired an outlet in every room that would run off of our existing small PV system, so we had power as needed.

Just look at all that bare roof space on the office addition.

So back in 2011, we started saving our dollars and planned a major system upgrade.

As a side note, oftimes in this industry we caution folks not to purchase every new component as soon as it's available; the latest controller, inverter, water pump, wind generator, etcetera, may sound very alluring, but it can be a very good idea to let someone else BETA test it the first year and work out any bugs, rather than deal with that possibility yourself. But I do not always follow my own advice. For the new system upgrade, we purchased an Outback Power 8KW Radian inverter and two Midnite Solar Classic charge controllers, and both had only been in production for a short period of time. The rest of the components included twenty-eight Sanyo 205W solar modules, sixteen Surrette/Rolls 530AH 6V batteries, combiner enclosures, roof mounts, system monitors, and the rest of the goods. Back in 2011 this equipment cost in the realm of $37,500 (this was before the price of the solar modules dropped by ~50% or so). If I had waited two years, I would've saved nearly $10K on the solar modules! At any rate, the system was installed in 2012 and it pretty much negates my power bill 10 to 11 months out of the year. And if the power goes out, I still have a working water pump, along with the rest of my household loads. And that new Outback Power Inverter and new Classic controllers? They worked out just fine and are still in use.

Last year, my well went dry and I had to drill another 100 ft. deeper (now 289 feet deep), so I needed a new pump for the new well. It's a Goulds 3 HP 240VAC variable speed ('soft start') pump and it runs fine off of this inverter - and can give me up to 30 gallons-per-minute as needed for my drip irrigation system, garden and household use. While we do sell DC pumps that run directly off of a solar array, we can also power AC models like mine (particularly if it's used mostly in summer, when we have long sunny days). Visit www.PVsolarpumps.com for more information.

The new Oasis power system manufactures in the realm of ~20 to 25+KWH per day in summer -- enough to negate my running the big water pump, meet my other household loads, and still feed power back to our local utility. When I'm not running my water pump (I irrigate a lot in summer, maybe 2 - 3 days a week), my daily usage is pretty minimal, perhaps 4 to 6 KWH per day, max (the average American household uses ~30 to ~35KWH per day). We heat with wood and cook with gas, and have a switch on our electric water heater to keep it off most of the time. A big system's equipment like this, today, would likely cost in the realm of $26,500 (less actually, due to the 30% federal tax credit and whatever state incentives there may be). Things have gotten more cost-effective and the return-on-investment times have decreased!

My initial big system cost probably wouldn't get me 'payback' for something like 17 - 20 years; but now with the cost decrease on the solar modules (and the tax credits), it's a whole new ballgame; and, utility rates keep rising, decreasing the payback time. Lastly, the power never goes out at our place! It's difficult to put a dollar value on that...it's sort of like having your own generating station.

Here's an article from a battery manufacturer about various points of view related to having back-up power:
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-to-sell-energy-storage-when-the-economics-dont-work?utm_source=Storage&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_campaign=GTMStorage The least costly way to have a solar power system for your home or business is still a straight grid-tie without batteries, but if you want back-up power, you will either need batteries or a generator.

What's the big upside to renewable energy in the United States?

Renewable Energy News Bites

The sheer economics will keep wind and solar power moving ahead:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/economics-keep-wind-solar-energy-thriving-jigar-shah?trk=eml-b2_content_ecosystem_digest-recommended_articles-115-null&midToken=AQGdgigratvf_Q&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=3P6heLe4cLGTw1

Automakers Ask Trump to Roll Back Fuel Efficiency Rules:  http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/305497-automakers-ask-trump-to-roll-back-fuel-efficiency-rules

 Worldwide, renewables have surpassed coal in electrical generation:  https://thinkprogress.org/more-renewables-than-coal-worldwide-36a3ab11704d#.p2u4dqqpk

Stanford studies indicate that high C02 levels makes plants suffer:  https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2016/09/06/groundbreaking-stanford-study-shows-plants-suffering-from-raised-co2/

Check out the video and pictures of the Crescent Dunes molten salt solar facility:  https://www.wired.com/2016/09/reuben-wu-crescent-dunes-solar/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue:%202016-09-22%20Utility%20Dive%20Solar%20%5Bissue:7360%5D&utm_term=Utility%20Dive:%20Solar

Solar power saves villagers from snake bite deaths:  https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-solar-plus-storage-is-saving-people-from-snakebites?utm_source=Storage&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_campaign=GTMStorage

Why isn't there more tidal power?  https://thewaternetwork.com/article-FfV/when-will-our-electricity-come-from-the-sea-ThRengYh4nKELA2cELOCqw

Unmanned Mayflower solar trimaran (research vessel) aims to cross the Atlantic:  https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2017/01/04/unmanned-mayflower-solar-trimaran-aims-to-cross-atlantic/ 

Wind Across Rural and Rust Belt America Powers Big Brands:  http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/pressreleasev2.aspx?ItemNumber=9650

Too bad, coal.  Solar is where the jobs are!  http://fortune.com/2017/02/21/donald-trump-jobs-coal-mining-solar-energy

The Johnny Cash Tribute Band: Coal train blues (pretty good!)  http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/center/articles/2014/youtube-coal-train-video-01-22-2014.html

Asian countries are "out-investing" the U.S. --  but this report outlines how U.S. can regain the clean energy foothold:  https://itif.org/publications/2016/12/13/energy-innovation-policy-priorities-trump-administration-and-congress

Burning wood for biomass is not such a great idea:  https://www.newscientist.com/article/2122115-the-eus-renewable-energy-policy-is-making-global-warming-worse/

U.S. wind power capacity exceeds hydro for the first time:  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2017/02/us-wind-power-capacity-exceeds-hydro-for-first-time-awea-says.html?cmpid=enl_rew_renewableenergynews_2017-02-10&email_address=info@oasismontana.com&eid=291084889&bid=1659770

A disturbing time lapse video (less than 90 seconds) that big oil doesn't want you to see:  http://www.upworthy.com/watch-this-is-one-time-lapse-big-oil-doesnt-want-you-to-see?c=upw1 

Here's an extremely cool wind map of the U.S.:  http://hint.fm/wind/  and on this one http://earth.nullschool.net/ you can use your cursor to spin the earth and look at its winds.  Beautiful!

Printable solar cells might be in the future:  https://pv-magazine-usa.com/press-releases/printable-solar-cells-just-got-a-little-closer/

Clearly someone's not minding the store.  Imagine having such a solar array, and not taking care of it to maximize power production!  A clear case of array gone awry!

Battery Back-up for Grid-tied PV

Oasis Montana has sold quote a few straight grid-tie systems -- with no batteries. While they are excellent for reducing your electrical bill (or making your meter spin the other way if you are making more power than you are using), if the utility power shuts down, so does this system. It’s a safety feature that keeps the lines from being live, to protect any linemen who may be working on a utility repair.

The good news is that now you can add components to your grid-tied system to have battery back-up for your essential loads. People ‘in the know’ in the industry have come up with solutions to keep the power flowing when the sun is shining. Grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems need to sense the frequency and voltage from the grid to work; now, when the power goes out, you can feed that power generating from the grid-tie inverter into a battery based inverter and battery bank. Let’s say you have ten 250W solar modules and a 3KW grid-tied inverter (and the rest of the goods for your system). You can add the following components to get battery backup in the event of a power outage.

Midnite Solar Power Panel MNEMS4024
This power center includes a 4KW inverter, Magnum Router, AC Bypass, and Battery Temp Sensor
12 - S550 Surrette 6V Batteries (~850aH storage)
+ Battery Cables and Misc Electrical

Total cost (before freight, battery box, misc. widgets & installation): $10795

This addition to your system will provide enough power for an efficient refrigerator and freezer, a few LED lights, microwave and TV/stereo, and up to three days of backup in low sun conditions. Like figuring the requirements for any backup system, the more efficient you are the less it will cost, and the more power you need or more batteries desired, that will increase the costs. Questions? Give us a call at 406-777-4321 and let us know how we can keep your lights from going out!

Quotable quotes:

"Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom." --Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

"As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder." --John Glenn

"Ours is a world of rapidly increasing sameness. And as we lose more and more species to extinction, as more and more forms of otherness pass into the night, it has seemed crucial to me that we extend our empathy to these other forms. The embodiment of that empathy is our protection." ---Lydia Millet

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" — MLK

“Wasser ist zum Baden; Bier ist zu Trinken.” (Water is for bathing; beer is for drinking).”

"Without trust, we cannot face the difficult challenges in our world." – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." -- Carl Sagan

"We are at a crossroads. We can continue on the path we have been on, in this nation that privileges profit over people and land; or we can unite as citizens with a common cause -- the health and wealth of the Earth that sustains us. If we cannot commit to this kind of fundamental shift in our relationship to people and place, then democracy becomes another myth perpetuated by those in power who care only about themselves." ---Terry Tempest Williams, High Country News

"If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead." -- Johnny Carson

"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." --Nelson Mandela

"There ought to be one day -- just one -- when there is open season on Congressmen." --Will Rogers

"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it." --Clarence Darrow

"The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.” -- Physicist Stephen Hawking.

"Indeed, I have often observed that statements which are the exact opposites of the truth are often more effective than reasoned arguments which respect the facts." -- Julius Ceasar

Sign in a hardware store: "The bitterness of poor quality and service remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden." --Ruth Stout

flower spring flowers purple
Please feel to share this newsletter link with others; knowledge is power!


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, give us a call or visit (insert New Picocell PDF here, which should be on the solar pumping page so perhaps a link from this to there would be smart).
Call us 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 crossingPower line down at river crossing, often local power production is more dependable
or maybe
Sometimes utility power is at the mercy of the elements,
as shown by these downed power lines in a flooding Montana river.

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

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.

Renewable Energy News Bites

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



Please feel free to share this newsletter – knowledge is power!

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