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

Oasis Montana Inc., 877-627-4768 or 4778 toll-free order line, or call 406-777-4321 or 4309, 406-777-2632  fax, or send us an email at  info@oasismontana.com; web page at   www.oasismontana.com


(Home/Office Net Metering System, continued from page 1)   The system was designed to power our energy efficient ConServ refrigerator, and our computer, scanner, and printer.  Any extra power goes towards our household loads.  Most of the summer, just the solar array was able to power these loads without difficulty, and without draining the batteries. 
      We put the Air 403 up in a weekend in autumn, and were initially disappointed.  For a month we didn't get a puff of wind!  Our neighbors thought it was great--"Hey, you guys have moderated the weather here" and generally ribbing us for its lack of performance.  Well, our first real "puff of wind" was a winter storm, with 40 to 80 mph gusts for three days.  Wow, it really was humming!  I was glad we had mounted it on a free-standing tower (originally I was going to attach it to the trusses in our shop, through the roof, but decided not to).  You could hear it just a little bit inside our house, but I'm sure if it were mounted to our shop or house, it would've been
much noisier.  It fattened up our batteries substantially in a short period of time--proving to be a good investment for our battery bank charging in the dark, cloudy days of winter.
      I'm pleased with the system's performance, but I do plan to add more solar modules as soon as I can.  My house faces due south, and an additional row of solar panels above the existing modules or on the shop is very easy to envision….  When it comes time to upgrade the batteries (7 to 10 years from now?), if utility power is still dependable, I may opt for a batteryless system, or maybe a hydrogen generator.  And when my Air 403 wind genny gives up its ghost (10-12 years?), I'm hoping to move up to a larger unit.  In a decade, the battery, solar and wind generation technology will doubtless have improved, with even greater system options.
      In Montana, a homeowner can do their own electrical wiring, or hire a certified electrician.  For our customers, we generally work with their installer, contractor or electrician for their projects.  If you can do your own house wiring, you'll probably be able to handle the component installation for a project like this--otherwise, it's best left to the professionals.
      Our small wind tower (27 ft. above grade) was erected by digging a big hole and placing a large treated timber buried about 6 ft. in it, and then we attached the 1.5" schedule 40 pipe securely to that.  We didn't want guy wires all over the place.  For larger wind generators with bigger towers, you will need the help of a civil engineer or experienced contractor.  And, there may be zoning requirements specific to your area that only allow a certain tower height. 

A special thanks to the following businesses and individuals whose labor, components, patience and support helped make this possible:  Doyle Bailey,  Tony King, Stevi True-Value Hardware, West Electric Distributors,  Dan Healy, Tommy Bishop, Chandra Keeney, Tony Boatwright,….and especially to my spouse Ace Johnson, whose help made this one of the most fun and interesting projects I've ever done!

For pictures of this installation, see  http://www.oasismontana.com/oursystem.html --Chris Daum at Oasis Montana Inc.

Oasis Montana Inc., toll-free 877-627-4768 or 4778; e-mail: info@oasismontana.com; web: www.oasismontana.com; fax: 406-777-2632

HOW TO READ YOUR UTILITY BILL - and what does it mean? 
      So, you've noticed that your bills are creeping upward in cost.  While utilities differ somewhat in presentation, the basic information is the same.  Usually your past month's meter reading is listed, with your present month's meter reading, and the number of days of the billing period.  The difference is the number of kilowatt hours (KWH) you've consumed during that billing period.  A kilowatt hour is 1000 watt-hours (or, 1000 watts used for one hour).  If you burn five 100 watt light bulbs for 2 hours, that equals one kilowatt hour of energy consumption.
      If you divide your bill by the total KWH you've used, you'll get your charge for one kilowatt hour.  In Montana, we still have relatively inexpensive electricity, usually 7.5 to 9.3 cents per kilowatt hour (and less for irrigators, who use more electricity).  Some parts of the U.S., like Hawaii, are paying 20 to 25 cents a KWH!     In California, PG & E is currently charging 31 cents per KWH….    Soon, a utility bill will become like a mortgage or car  payment.  Grim, but likely.
      DEREGULATION was supposed to encourage competition between utilities in the hope of driving costs down--but in reality power producers have been avoiding building new generation stations (or, as with nuclear power sites, paying for their de-commissioning and disposal costs), and now, with increased power demand (which is expected to double in the next 20 years), they are unable to keep up with consumer and industrial demand for electricity.   Those who pay the highest will have more dependable power, while those who manufacture it in their "back yard" can expect brownouts, as their power is sold to the highest bidder.  This is likely to become the future of power sales in the Northwest.  Of course, those in the renewable energy field hope that wind generation, tidal power, solar and other alternatives will be pursued.  But expect to see talk of new coal and  nuclear  facilities; a short term solution, really, when you consider we're still cleaning up after the first generation units. 
      WHAT YOU CAN DO:  It's always very cost effective to conserve!  When you upgrade to a new appliance, be certain it's an energy efficient unit.  If you can do without that electrical "widget", please do so.  And, hey--dump your hair drier please.  1000 to 1500 watts just to dry your hair?  Gimme a break!  Is it worth contributing  to (utility profits and) to acid rain and other pollutants to DRY YOUR HAIR!?  Utilize compact fluorescent lights instead of incandescents, for an energy savings of 75% in lighting.  Most utility companies offer free energy audits, so you can see where your dollars are being spent.  Additional insulation, new windows, low flow shower heads are all  things any household can do to help keep a lid on your usage.  Most Americans live a very energy consumptive lifestyle--and they get major "sticker" shock when they inquire about the feasibility of a renewable energy system for their use.  "Why does it cost so much?"  --because we are the greediest society in the world--and we're just starting to pay for it.  Yet the acquisition  of an SUV or luxury sedan for $40,000+ is considered an "appropriate" purchase.  If you are serious about a renewable energy system, the first step is to become energy efficient--your system (and lifestyle) savings will follow, as trying to power a conventional home is unnecessarily expensive. 

Pages to this newsletter:

P1.Net metering P2.Efficient freezer sale P3.Basic product info Quick index
P4.Generators P5.Trace inverters P6.Propane Freezers Home page
wind generators Gas kitchen stoves Propane refrigerators Email us

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