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


Winter - Spring Flier 2004 
from Oasis Montana Inc.

Oasis Montana winter - spring flier 2004 page 3

Model P36S238BP 
Stainless Steel
6 Burner Gas Range

 

NATURAL GAS AND PROPANE APPLIANCES: We got into these as a sideline to renewable energy, as most homes away from utility power use propane or natural gas for heating loads (like cooking, hot water, space heating, clothes drying and sometimes even refrigeration). Yes, it’s still fossil fuels we’re utilizing—but natural and LP gas are among the cleanest-burning of all fossil fuels, and are highly efficient for many appliances (and may be much more cost-effective than thousands of dollars of solar modules). 

So whether you want a sleek European stainless drop-in cook top, a small propane refrigerator, or an attractive 6 burner stainless range, you may find what you need on our web page at www.LPappliances.com - - even if you don’t want a solar electric power system!

And if you are seriously considering an investment in renewable energy (or are trying to simply help keep a lid on your utility bill), the first step is to become as efficient in your use of electricity as possible. If you have a lot of older appliances, an investment of several thousand dollars will save money with a quicker payback sooner than a similar investment in a power system. The first step is efficiency; look for the energy star label when you visit the appliance store. You can view our goods at www.eco-fridge.com  An investment in energy efficiency is always cost-effective! For basic information about efficient appliances and more, visit www.aceee.org

 

NEW TRISTAR CHARGE CONTROLLER BY MORNINGSTAR CORPORATION!

TriStar charge controllers

The TriStar is the newest addition to the Morningstar line of pulse width modulated (PWM) charge controllers. It’s a serious UL listed controller for 12, 24 or 48V systems and is available in 45 or 60 amp capacities. Unlike Morningstar’s other chargers, the TriStar cannot operate as a charge and load controller at the same time. It can be used as a diversion controller for a wind or hydro system where it will dump excess power to a heating element to prevent battery overcharge. The TriStar is conduit-ready with large #2 AWG wire terminals and it mounts readily on existing power panels. It can also be connected directly to a personal computer via an RS-232 port for data logging or remote system monitoring. Options include a battery temp sensor and digital meter that displays battery voltage, charging amperage, battery temperature, cumulative amp-hours and system status (in your choice of 5 languages—English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish). Dimensions are 10.3”H x 5”W x 2.8”D and weight is 3.5 lbs. Also, the Tristar’s printed circuit board is conformably coated for protection against humidity and insects. It has a built-in high efficiency heat sink for cool operation and maximum reliability. Microprocessor controlled self-diagnostics are available to alert of system problems. The optional TriStar Meter is very sophisticated and informative; it’s a 2” x 16” display, and mounts to the controller, connected by a RJ-11 phone jack. One meter option includes 30 meters of cabling for remote monitoring. All Morningstar products offer a five year manufacturing warranty. For additional information on this and other charge controllers and regulators, visit our web page at: www.chargecontrollers.oasismontana.com  
If it’s time to upgrade, consider the Tri Star!

 

THE TOP 20 STATES for wind energy potential, as measured by annual energy potential in the billions of kWhs (kilowatt-hours), factoring in environmental and land use exclusions for wind class of 3 and higher.
1.  North Dakota  1,210          8.  Oklahoma 725          15. New York 62
2. Texas 1,190 9.  Minnesota 657 16. Illinois 61
3. Kansas 1,070 10. Iowa 551 17. California 59
4. South Dakota 1,030 11. Colorado 481 18. Wisconsin  58
5. Montana 1,020 12. New Mexico  435 19. Maine 56
6. Nebraska 868 13. Idaho 73 20. Missouri 52
7. Wyoming 747
Source: An Assessment of Available Windy Land Area and Wind Energy Potential in the Contiguous United States, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, 1991

 

The United States has tremendous wind energy resources. Although California gave birth to the modern U.S. wind industry, 16 states have greater potential.

Installed wind energy generating capacity is now at around 6700 megawatts, up from 2550 in 2000. By contrast, the total amount of electricity that could be potentially generated from wind in the U.S. has been estimated at 10,777 billion kWh annually—about three times the electricity generated in the U.S. today.

The American wind energy industry is poised for rapid growth, with many new projects coming online. These new wind farms demonstrate how wind energy can help meet the growing need for clean, affordable, reliable power in the west and other parts of the U.S. For more data about wind power, see www.awea.org

 

The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. —Ecclesiastes 1:6


Current sources of electricity in the U.S.: 
coal, 52%; nuclear, 20%; natural gas, 16%;  hydropower, 7%; and oil, 3%.


SOURCES FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY INFORMATION: 
We have a great many informative links on our web page at www.oasismontana.com/links.html —regarding solar hot water, energy efficiency, financing, lighting, healthy homebuilding and other data. Many folks are interested in seminars or classes regarding installation or figuring your home power design. The Midwest Renewable Energy Association in central Wisconsin is offering workshops starting in January, 2004, regarding Living Off-Grid, Wind Design Considerations, Women’s PV Design, Construction and Installation, among other topics. For more information see http://www.the-mrea.org/course_workshops.php or call 715-592-6595. Northwest SEED (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development) is promoting several conferences and events, for their calendar see www.nwseed.org/events.asp Solar Energy International (SEI) has several workshops upcoming starting in April, www.solarenergy.org for more information or call 970-963-8866. Topics covered will include wind generator construction, power system siting, design and installation. For those seeking national and international information about renewable energy projects and technology, job offerings in the industry and the latest trends and products, subscribe to www.renewableenergyaccess.com 

On another topic: are you confused about the ‘energy bill’? There’s been a lot of words slung from several viewpoints; a refreshing analysis of the issue can be viewed at http://www.aceee.org/energy/nrglegistatus.htm

If you are interested in electric, alternative, high gpm vehicles, and biodiesel/alternative fuel developments, you can subscribe to this informative weekly e-zine at www.evworld.com 

Oasis Montana winter - spring flier 2004 page 3

Home page winter/spring 2004 newsletter Site map
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
 
 

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