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

With the ongoing saga of the COVID-19 virus, we want to emphasize our hope for our customers and employees’ health and well-being. As time moves onward, we are monitoring any new developments and relying on experts to keep us all safe and prevent the spread of this virus, with guidance from CDC.gov and WHO.int. Here’s a link with common sense information about COVID-19 and how to deal with it: https://www.sciencefriday.com/spotlights/coronavirus/

Most of our supply chains are still intact so we will be business as usual as much as we can (open weekdays), while trying to follow safe social practices. In the meanwhile, please take precautions to protect your health and the health of family and friends. We can all survive this together. Many if not most of our transactions have, in the past, been done by e-mail or phones, and that will continue. We are seeing some price increases but availability looks pretty good for most PV components, at least through summer, although some of the manufacturers of certain components and appliances have closed their doors temporarily.

Not all carriers (UPS, FedEx, USPS, truck freight, etc.) are honoring expedited delivery dates so some orders may not be delivered in any guaranteed time frame. As to our business here in western Montana, we are doing our best to be informed, flexible, being available for our customers, being careful and planning for the future. Time for a Victory Garden

Now, in spring, the fruit tree blossoms are supplying our hungry bees and we are engaged in our rites of planting, and taking comfort in the natural resiliency of our most beautiful world. If you garden, try and plant extra this year – I’m sure there will be plenty of folks who would appreciate your extra produce. It may be time to consider having a ‘victory garden’, like during and after WWII. We do not, at this juncture, know how COVID-19 will affect our spring agricultural businesses and production. But now is a good time to plan and expand upon your vegetable garden. One thing for sure, it never hurts to plant more than you may need. And building resilient foods systems are always a wise way to proceed.

If you are seeking a more self-reliant and secure energy for important loads in your household, now may be the time to consider an investment in solar power. In the U.S. through the end of 2020, there is still a 26% federal tax credit for all costs related to such an investment venture, including labor, shipping, permitting, etc.

Be well people, and take care.

 Small Watt Solar Modules:

Size: 13.9 x 10.4 x 1.4, 5lbs
VOC: 22, Vmpp: 17.5
ISC: 0.82A, Impp: .0589
Back Side: TPT /TPE
Output: Junction Box
$28 apiece or two for $49 plus shipping!
25 year, 80% output warranty.

Sometimes it’s harder to find 12V solar modules – but we also have these sizes available:
12V, 50 Watt POLY solar panel is $85.00 a piece
12V, 100 Watt POLY solar panel is $129.00 a piece
12V, 160 Watt POLY solar panel is $179.00 a piece
If you have an RV or need modules for a smallish 12V system, these prices are hard to beat! Call us for specifications, 406-777-4309 or 4321.

      Technical difficulties:

I’m not sure if it’s just a sign of the times or perhaps our boonie factor, but we’ve been having regular problems, on occasion, with our phones and sometimes internet connection. Then, last weekend, all our web sites were down due to a server problem. If you’re trying to contact us and things just aren’t working, please just try again later! Sometimes all of our glorious technologies just aren’t what they’re cracked up to be!

                High altitude systems:
Recently I had a chat with a fellow about the poor performance of his generator. We do not sell generators per se, but most of our off-grid systems (particularly in the north) integrate a fuel generator for times of low light or winter use, so we are familiar with questions related to generator use. Anyway, I finally asked the fellow…what is your elevation? His system is at 7800 ft., and that gave an indication as to the problem: the air is thinner the higher you go; the low oxygen density needs more airflow for the proper mix of air and fuel. And, actual output needs to be de-rated, about 3 to 5% for every thousand feet above sea level (above 1000 ft.). So here at the Oasis Montana, we’re at 3700 ft. elevation, so you’d have to de-rate a generator about ~12 - 15%; at 8000 ft., about ~35%. Some manufacturers may offer a ‘high attitude kit’ to help mitigate the power loss from the thinner air. But an 8KW generator is apt to put out only 5KW or less at 8000 ft. elevation. Engines also get hotter when the air is thinner. Many manufacturers do not state at what altitudes they will perform, so that’s good to check out before you make the purchase. It may affect its warranty too.
Inverters are not all alike at higher elevations either; some are not warranted over 6500 ft., so it make sense to do your homework before you make the investment! Often it’s not the electronics that are a factor, but the mechanics of those electronics – like a cooling fan on an inverter. Fans won’t move as much air since there’s just not as much air to move.

4KW Inverter

Gas appliances can also have their performance affected by high altitudes; above 8000 ft., sometimes a change in the size of the gas orifice needs to be made, or a change in the gas pressure, so that there is a proper air/gas mix. The gas refrigerators we offer and sometimes the stoves may need an orifice swap to improve the appliance’s function. Visit www.LPappliances.com or call us if you have any questions.


At this writing we are readying for another year of gardening; we’ve been growing these dried beans for years. The variety is called Indian Woman Yellow, and they are an easy to grow and tasty shell (dried) bean. Send me a couple of stamps and your address, and I’ll send you some seed source. They are great for chili, burritos or anything that calls for a tasty bean. They also do well in short-season areas, needing only 80-85 days to mature. Our address is Oasis Montana Inc., 436 Red Fox Lane, Stevensville, MT 59870.

Ice Maker from Summit Appliance
NEW ITEM: Do you need ice? Need water? Model #AIWD282 can make up to 282 lbs. of ice per day and can also dispense filtered water. It meets NSF-12 commercial standards; perfect for medical facilities or small commercial operators.
$3425 plus shipping.

• Three dispenser options to meet all of your user needs
• Produces up to 282 pounds of nugget ice in a day cycle; ice storage capacity 11 lbs.
• Height adjustable to fit a multitude of spaces; 31.25" H x 16.5" W x 25.0" D
• Stainless steel construction provides a professional, sleek look
• Bacteria-killing UV light keeps unit clean and easy to maintain
• Weighs 146 lbs (shipping weight 177 lbs)
• 1 year parts & service warranty, 5 year warranty on the compressor.
• 120VAC 60 hz, using 2000 watt-hours (2KWH) a day.

The AIWD282 is ETL-S listed to NSF-12 commercial standards. Measuring 18 3/4 inches from the front leg to the unit rear makes this a perfect fit on standard counters. This unit can produce up to 282 pounds of ice per day. Three dispenser functions - ice, water, or ice+water - provide expanded functionality, while the illuminated display ensures easy access and control of the unit.

Adjustable legs offer flexible height options, while the stainless steel front provides a professional look. The removable tray and sealed back make for easy cleaning, and the bacteria-killing UV dispenser light keeps the unit sanitary. This unit must be used with a drain and should be placed in a space that allows for draining below the unit. It is top vented.

With its countertop footprint and large production output, the AIWD282 is the perfect unit for hospital waiting areas, break rooms, or similar settings looking for a water and ice dispenser that is attractive and efficient.

Note: A water filtration system is available and recommended for optimal performance of the unit. That model is #AIWD282FLTR and costs $3685 plus shipping. Call or e-mail for more specs!


NEWS BITES – Renewables & Beyond

The draft Montana Climate Solutions Plan is available now at the following link: https://deq.mt.gov/Climate.

Jimmy Carter built a solar farm in his hometown and now it powers half of the entire city. https://www.upworthy.com/former-president-jimmy-carter-built-a-solar-farm-in-his-hometown-and-now-it-powers-half-of-the-city?utm_source=The+Upworthiest&utm_campaign=f5897bff30-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_22_07_15_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_78f827fba6-f5897bff30-237849945

Americans willing to pay for renewables: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/02/21/americans-want-renewables-and-are-willing-to-pay-for-them/?utm_source=pv+magazine+USA&utm_campaign=ea03c7eb00-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_80e0d17bb8-ea03c7eb00-155454613

Coal & Gas Emissions Are 1500–3000× the Mass of Waste Wind Turbine Blades: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/02/20/coal-gas-emissions-are-1500-3000x-the-mass-of-waste-wind-turbine-blades

Non-conventional and unique homes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GqKstQghX4&t=2s&utm_source=CNN+Five+Things&utm_campaign=7b08ae1330-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_02_25_06_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6da287d761-7b08ae1330-84287069

Wind Has Surpassed Hydro as the Most-Used Renewable Electricity Generation Source in U.S.: https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=42955

Identifying and ending subsidies for extinction: https://anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/02/subsidy-accountability/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=subsidy-accountability&utm_source=Anthropocene&utm_campaign=452e89baaa-Anthropocene+science+to+AM&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ececcea89a-452e89baaa-294326701

Decreasing coal dependency offers agricultural gains: https://anthropocenemagazine.org/2020/02/as-coal-pollution-declines-crops-begin-to-flourish/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=as-coal-pollution-declines-crops-begin-to-flourish&utm_source=Anthropocene&utm_campaign=229ab06757-Anthropocene+science+to+AM&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ececcea89a-229ab06757-294326701

Larger solar panels: is bigger better? https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/03/05/how-will-the-new-generation-of-500-watt-panels-shape-the-solar-industry/?utm_source=pv+magazine+USA&utm_campaign=54cc894a4d-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_80e0d17bb8-54cc894a4d-155454613 (it certainly means…heavier!)

Gas Companies Want to Recycle Your Manure: https://www.eenews.net/stories/1062527775

Fish-Friendly Turbine Achieves >98% Fish Passage Survival Rate: https://www.hydroreview.com/2020/03/06/ice-harbor-fish-friendly-turbine-achieves-98-fish-passage-survival-rate

Forget toilet paper, Aussies are panic-buying solar: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/03/20/forget-toilet-paper-australians-are-panic-buying-pv/?utm_source=pv+magazine+USA&utm_campaign=7fd98c6bf9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_80e0d17bb8-7fd98c6bf9-155454613

Safe solar practices during a pandemic: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/03/26/guide-to-installing-residential-solar-amid-a-global-pandemic/?utm_source=pv+magazine+USA&utm_campaign=a598957c5a-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_80e0d17bb8-a598957c5a-155454613

American Voters Strongly Favor Offshore Wind: https://www.awea.org/resources/news/2020/voters-strongly-favor-offshore-wind-energy and https://nawindpower.com/american-voters-strongly-favor-offshore-wind

Solar mammas in Zanzibar install lighting systems: https://face2faceafrica.com/article/meet-zanzibars-solar-mammas-lighting-up-remote-villages-and-transforming-lives

Solar modules prices to rise ~12.5% in China due to COVID-19: https://www.power-technology.com/comment/solar-pv-module-prices-china-covid-19/

Quotable quotes

 “I have been scientifically studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so-called) and contrasting them with the traits and disposition of man. I find the results profoundly humiliating to me.” –Mark Twain
 "Education and justice are democracy's only life insurance." --Nannie Helen Burroughs
 “You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity.” --Marie Curie
 “Racism does not have a good track record. It’s been tried out for a long time and you’d think by now we’d want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.” --Thomas Sowell
 “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” --Theodore Roosevelt
 “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” --Aristotle
 “Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong, and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.” --Dwight D. Eisenhower


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


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