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


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Call 877-627-4778 or email us for the current pricing an any featured items listed within.

 

The Mirage of a Growing Fuel Supply
Mathematically, drilling more oil is a losing game.

Reprinted with permission, originally printed in the June 4th edition of the New York Times, written by Evar D. Nering, professor emeritus of mathematics at Arizona State University (A side note: it is generally considered that we have about 50 years of oil left, at the present rate of usage and current growth rate of 5%--and growing--per annum).

When I discussed the exponential function in the calculus classes I taught, I used consumption of a non-renewable natural resource as an example; since there is a national debate about energy policy, it may be useful to talk about the mathematics involved in making rational decisions about resource use.

Here’s the hypothetical situation: we have a 100 year supply of oil—that is, oil that would last 100 years if consumed at its current rate. But the oil is consumed at a rate that grows by 5% each year. How long will it last under these circumstances? It’s an easy calculation, about 36 years.

But let’s say we underestimated the supply, and we actually have a 1,000 year supply. At the same annual growth rate of 5%, how long will that last? The answer is about 79 years. Then let’s say we make a striking discovery of more oil—a bonanza—and now we have a 10,000 year supply. At the same rate of our growing use, how long would it last? Answer: 125 years. Estimates vary for how long currently known oil reserves will last, but all are considerably less than 100 years. But the point of this analysis is that it really doesn’t matter what the estimates are; there is no way that a supply-side attack on America’s energy problem can work.

Calculations also show that if consumption of an energy resource is allowed to grow at a steady 5% annual rate, a full doubling of the available supply will not be as effective as reducing that growth by half – to 2.5%. Doubling the size of the oil reserve will add at most 14 years to the life expectancy of the resource if we continue to use it at the currently increasing rate. On the other hand, halving the growth of consumption will almost double the life expectancy of the supply, no matter what it is. This math reality seems to have escaped the politicians pushing to solve the energy problem by simply increasing supply.

Building more power plants and drilling for more oil is exactly the wrong thing to do, because it will encourage more use. To avoid dire consequences, we need to find the political smarts and will to reduce the growth in energy consumption to zero—or even begin to consume less. I must emphasize that reducing the growth rate is not what most people are talking about when they advocate conservation; the steps they recommend are just Band-Aids. If we increase the gas mileage of our vehicles and then drive more miles, for example, that will not reduce the growth rate. Reducing the growth of consumption means living closer to where we work or play. It means telecommuting. It means controlling population growth. It means basic conservation techniques that work. It means shifting to renewable energy sources. It is not, perhaps, necessary to cut our use of oil, but it is essential we cut the rate of increase at which we consume it. To do otherwise is to leave our descendants in an impoverished world.

YOU MUST BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.
 —Mohandas Ghandi

Wind power — right for you?

There are several factors to determine the feasibility of wind generation at your site; the first is obviously a good average wind speed—at least 10 to 12 mph or better. Check with your local weather station or airports to help determine this. Zoning requirements are another consideration; will your community let you put up a tower?

Utilizing efficient appliances and lighting in your home will help make the system cost much less—every dollar spent on efficiency will save you three to five dollars in the cost of your power system, solar or wind.

To figure what components it would take for your system, we need to know 1) your power requirements in terms of watt-hours a day, or how much power you’d like to make with this system 2) the average wind speed 3) your peak loads (the total watts of all appliances, lights, etc., that might be running at one time—this is how we size the inverter) and 4) any special load considerations, like 240VAC loads, utility interactive or not, battery back-up or not.

Bergey Windpower Corporation now offers another option with their Excel 10 model: you can have your system hooked to utility power without batteries—a grid interactive system. When the wind blows, the power you make goes directly against your loads, and when you’re making more power than using, you can sell your power back to the utility. If you’re interested in this type of system, contact your local utility and ask what sort of net metering plan they offer.

Bergey Windpower has a great web site with state-by-state wind maps at www.bergey.com —if your zone rating is "3" or higher, you‘re likely in a very good site for wind generation. You can print pricing, spec sheets, installation manuals and tower options right off their site. For information on small wind gennies for remote cabins with modest power requirements, see

www.air403windgenerators.com/air_403.html —there are links at the bottom with more information on other components, basic wiring diagrams, etc.

Wind power is a vastly underdeveloped resource in this country; there’s enough viable wind power in eastern Montana and the Dakotas to supply the electrical needs of all of North America! But if you have a good site with consistent moderate to high winds, at least you can put it to work for you.


Bergey Windpower Corp’s XL.1 Wind Generator

This is the most technically advanced small wind turbine ever. It comes backed by a full five year warranty. The XL.1 is designed for high reliability, low maintenance, and automatic operation in adverse weather conditions. The unit comes with its own PowerCenter (controller) which includes the ability to add up to 30 amps of photovoltaic capacity. Owner installations are a snap with tilt-up tower options from 30 to 104 feet. . Units currently available are for 24V battery charging systems; the XL.1-S is in the forecast for next year, which will be a grid-interactive unit for batteryless systems! More voltage ranges are coming too.
* Five year warranty
* Maintenance-free design
* Nearly silent operation
*Good low wind performance
* Autofurl storm protection
* State of the art airfoil
* Direct-drive neodymium PM alternato

Bergey is swamped right now—lead time is 4 to 6 months for these popular units. Here’s data on the predicted energy production:

10.7 mph 12.1 mph 13.0 mph 13.9 mph 15.0 mph 18.8 mph
30 ft.
Tower
Daily
Monthly
4.3
130
5.8
175
6.8
205
7.8
240
9.1
275
12.7
385
64 ft.
Tower
Daily
Monthly
6.4
195
8.2
250
9.3
285
10.4
320
11.7
355
14.7
445
104 ft.
Tower
Daily
Monthly
7.8
235
9.7
295
10.9
330
12.0
365
13.1
400
15.4
465

(above output is in Kilowatt Hours)

CONSERV Energy Efficient Refrigeration by Vestfrost

The ConServ refrigerator/freezers offer an AC alternative for efficient refrigeration. Available with stainless steel doors, and white exterior, their tall, slender design is a handsome addition to any kitchen, and their small "footprint" makes them desirable for apartment dwellers or for anyone with a small or galley-style kitchen.

 

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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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vbONlDqmZQ


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.

http://files.constantcontact.com/0cef2499301/ac396408-0aa7-45c8-81b7-c3905aebed37.jpg

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!


STAINLESS DOOR REFRIGERATOR FOR SMALL KITCHENS

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

FF923pl SPECIFICATIONS:

Height of Cabinet

66.63" (169 cm)

Height to Hinge Cap

67.13" (171 cm)

Width

21.25" (54 cm)

Width with Door Open

22.0" (56 cm)

Depth

23.25" (59 cm)

Depth with door at 90°

43.0" (109 cm)

Capacity

8.9 cu.ft. (252 L)

Defrost Type

Frost-Free

Door

Stainless Steel

Cabinet

Black

US Electrical Safety

CSA

Canadian Electrical Safety

CSA-C

Energy Usage/Year

316.0kWh/year

Amps

0.9

Voltage/Frequency

115 V AC/60 Hz

Weight

110.0 lbs. (50 kg)

Shipping Weight

115.0 lbs. (52 kg)

Parts & Labor Warranty

1 Year

Compressor Warranty

5 Years

Price (before shipping)

$585

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


WINTERING CHICKENS AT THE OASIS IN WESTERN MONTANA

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.” 
–Diogenes

“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.” 
-Diderot

“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