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


Solar grid-tie inverter roundup
Oasis Fall 2005 Newsletter

For those of you who aren’t familiar with solar grid-tie inverters, a brief overview of how they work is in order. These inverters allow you to easily connect a solar array directly (i.e. without a battery bank) to your home’s AC breaker box. From there the DC power generated by the solar modules is inverted to AC and it is either used directly by your AC appliances or it is sold back to your utility company which lowers your monthly electric bill. This is the most efficient and least costly way to “go solar” since there is no expensive battery bank to purchase and maintain. The one drawback of this type of system is that it cannot provide backup power during a utility outage since the inverters shut down for safety reasons. 


If you are interested in this type of solar power system, the first thing you should do is contact your utility company to see if they will allow you to connect such a system to their electric grid (as not all utility companies will). The next thing to ask them is if they offer “net metering”, where they pay you the same rate per kilowatt-hour of energy that you pay them. Without net metering, a solar grid-tie system is not very cost-effective. The last thing to ask your utility company is how long they will allow you to carry over any excess energy production (hopefully for a full year). If you get all of the right answers from your utility company, the next step is to determine how much energy you would like the grid-tie solar system to produce. The limiting factors in determining the maximum size of your solar system are either available roof area or budget (also, you can install these on the ground on differing mount structures). After the solar array size is determined, the next step is to figure out which inverter(s) will work best for your chosen solar array. This can be a little tricky due to many factors (number of solar modules, solar module voltage vs. inverter voltage, physical module layout, minimum winter temperature, etc.) so give us a call and we will design the whole system for you. If your solar array size is too large for one inverter to handle, that isn’t a problem because these inverters are modular—so you can install multiple systems on your home if your budget allows, or do it incrementally. A grid-tie solar system is very easy to wire and install since most of the inverters use 1 to 3 high-voltage series strings of solar modules (hence their nickname “string inverters”) along with simple disconnect switches on the DC and AC sides. Some of the grid-tie inverters incorporate these required disconnect switches into their design and all of them have the NEC required DC ground fault detection/interruption protection for roof mounted solar arrays. 


Rather than writing a long and probably boring article (or have we just done that?) about the features of each inverter, we put together the chart below comparing units from SMA, Xantrex, Fronius, Sharp and PV Powered, which we think are the most popular brands for residential and small commercial solar applications. Each unit’s peak power rating is part of the model name so we didn’t list it separately. Hopefully this chart will help you choose the grid-tie inverter that has the features you want and will best meet your needs. Of course if you have any questions about these grid-tie inverters or if you would like us to design a grid-tie solar system for you, please contact us via phone, fax or e-mail. 

 

Manufacturer & model Input  VDC Peak Efficiency AC & DC Disconnects Digital Display Weight  Warranty
SMA SB1800U 156-400 93.6% No Optional 59.4 lbs 5 years
SMA SB2500U 50-600 94.1% No Optional  71 lbs 5 years
SMA SB3800U 200-500 95.6% No Standard 85 lbs 5 years
SMA SB6000U 234-600 >95% No Standard 137 lbs 5 years
Xantrex GT 3.0 195-600 94.6% Yes Standard 45 lbs 5 years ***
Fronius IG 4000 50-450 94.4% Yes Standard 42 lbs 5 years ***
Fronius IG 5100 150-450 94.4% Yes  Standard 42 lbs 5 years ***
PV Powered 2800 200-450 97.6% No Standard 74 lbs 10 years
Sharp JH-3500 110-380 92.4% No Standard**  62 lbs 5 years
*All of the units above have a 240 VAC 60 Hz output with the exception of the SMA SB1800U which has a 120 VAC 60 Hz output. All of the 240 VAC units listed are available for 208V 3-phase applications.

**Sharp’s digital display is designed to be mounted remotely. 

***Optional 10 year warranty available.

For manufacturer's information about these inverters, you can check out these links:

http://www.sma-america.com/index.aspx

http://www.fronius.com/worldwide/usa.solarelectronics/about/index.htm

http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/172/p/1/pt/25/product.asp

http://www.pvpowered.com/inverter_pvp2800.php


   It took 125 years to consume the first trillion barrels of oil; we will likely
 consume the next trillion barrels within just thirty-five years. 

Oasis Montana Fall 2005 newsletter navigation

Contents Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
 


Greetings from our solar powered office!

In the event of a lengthy power outage, what are your critical loads?

With the presence of winter storms, hurricanes, tornados and aging grid infrastructure as part of daily life, many people are rethinking how reliable utility power really is, and we are getting more calls for back-up power for certain loads. Some of our customers just need to have power for charging their cell phones, Kindles, tablets or similar devices (and a couple of lights or a small TV for an hour or so); a small system for them might entail the following components:

System #1, small system: One ~300W solar module, 300W sine wave inverter, charge controller, 12V 55AH AGM battery, combiner enclosure with fuse, flush roof rack, panel output cable; $1449
For additional information on smallish, RV-type systems, visit http://www.oasismontana.com/RV_systems.html.

Other folks are concerned about losing their food if the grid goes down, so they’ll want to power their refrigerator and perhaps a freezer too. If your appliances are of more recent vintage, backing them up will cost much less than if they are older, less efficient models. An efficient refrigerator shouldn’t use much more than a kilowatthour a day, and a freezer might be in the ~1.5KWH range (but contact the manufacturer to be certain). A system to power those loads, plus a couple of lights, might entail these components:

System #2, medium system: (MS2812 Magnum inverter, 6 ~300W solar modules, 6X top of pole mount, Classic 200 MPPT charge controller, 4 L16 type batteries + cabling, battery monitor, interconnects, combiners and disconnects; $8700

If you don’t have city water, a common concern is powering your well pump. One can live without a lot of things but water is not one of them! And many deep well pumps are 240VAC; if you needed a backup power system to run your ½ HP 240VAC pump, say, one hour a day, plus extra power for a fridge and small loads, you might be looking at a system of this size:

System #3, large system: (Radian GS4048 – loaded, on a pre-wired power center that includes the charge controller, MATE3 system monitor, disconnects, etc., 12 – ~300W solar modules, 16 – L16 type batteries, pole mount, battery cabling = $14750

Costs do not include freight, installation, concrete footer for pole mounts, ground rod & clamp, and miscellaneous electrical widgets or wire runs.


       

Some people think solar modules are ugly – but I think they’re beautiful…and how wonderful it is to get electricity from sunlight!
And, you can enjoy saving money while saving the planet.


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Are you looking at a stock watering project this year? Or you want power for a pump if the utility fails? Or perhaps you have a pond to fill, or fruit trees that need irrigating? A remote cabin? Contact us for all your remote water pumping needs; visit www.PVsolarpumps.com for more information.


If your only concern if the power goes out is water and you have a, say, 1.5 HP 240VAC pump, we can now run many of those pumps array direct whenever the sun is shining. So if you need water for irrigation or stock, this new PicoCell system might be just what you need. The PicoCell, from SunTech Drives, is now part of our line of quality solar products, and we look forward to the next generation of their solar evolution as the newer and more robust water pump solutions come on board. Being powerless doesn’t mean being waterless any more! Depending on your water pump make and model, we may have a solution for those times when the power is gone but the need for water exists and the sun is shining. Three-phase water pumps and motors under 2HP manufactured by Berkley, Franklin, Flint, Goulds, Grundfos, Myers and Wailing are all great candidates for using the new PicoCell from SunTech Drive to run your water pump while the sun is shining and conventional power is out. Single phase pumps up to 1HP from these same manufacturers, including Sta-Rite are able to operate effectively also. Call for more information or to see if your pump will work with a PicoCell. 406-777-4321


Cows LOVE solar water pumping!


 

We offer the Grundfos, SunRotor, Dankoff and Lorentz pump line, from submersible to surface pumps. And we can power your 240VAC pump too! 406-777-4321 for tech support on pump systems.


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TAX SEASON is nearly upon us! If you had a solar power system installed and running by 31st December, 2017, you are eligible for a 30% tax credit of the cost of your solar module installation, less any state incentives or rebates. The 30% tax credit is still available through the end of 2019, so now the time is ripe for investment in the solar power system of your dreams. It is also available for certain types of solar thermal (hot water and space heating) systems. https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/solar_energy_systems for the links about the federal tax credit; http://www.dsireusa.org for a state-by-state database of all renewable incentives; and https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf for the personal tax credit form. We are NOT tax experts, so when in doubt, consult your accountant or visit the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i5695?utm_source=Iron+Edison+Newsletter&utm_campaign=35a4413d23-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_eaf26bfcab-35a4413d23-135295541&mc_cid=35a4413d23&mc_eid=6d3c772416

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OUTBACK POWER has a new charge controller, the FlexMax 100! This will allow for longer strings of solar modules and is fully NEC 2014 compliant with the Outback ICS Plus. It offers:

> a rainproof outdoor IP54/Type PR enclosure
> 100A output for up to 5KW of charging
> suitable for 24, 36 or 48V battery banks
> updated MPPT software algorithm means more power than other controllers
> up to 99% efficiency; LED indicators status display
> Five year warranty
> system configures quickly (MATE3S required)
> minimum battery bank size: 100ah
> had built in GFCI, field-replaceable cooling fan
> built in 128 days of data logging

You can view more information on this exciting new charge controller at http://www.outbackpower.com/outback-products/make-the-power/flexmax-series-charge-controllers/item/flexmax-100?category_id=531
Now available at a special introductory price of $1045 plus shipping (offer good til 4/30/18)

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NEW PRODUCT FEATURE

MNChinook 200 Wind Turbine Now Officially Available http://files.constantcontact.com/aaa32e00401/5cc9c46b-fd24-4c58-8538-64e359dee783.jpg
The Chinook 200 is now new and improved, a direct-drive micro-turbine designed for use in 12, 24 or 48 volt DC battery charging applications. Its attractive low-profile design, exceptional performance in low winds and low rotor acoustics, make this turbine the ideal choice for almost any application. It’s also very quiet, and mounts on a 1.5” Schedule 40 steel pipe.

The Chinook 200 can also work hand-in-hand with PV panels to ensure that power is being generated in all weather conditions; they can be charging the same battery bank, and are also suitable for marine use. The MidNite Chinook Diversion Load (CDL) is an integrated solution designed to prevent 12, 24 or 48 volt batteries from overcharging and is included with the Chinook 200. Compact and easy to install, the CDL incorporates a 300 Watt resistive heating element and controller board in a powder coated steel enclosure. $995 plus shipping includes its dump load controller. The output voltage is not field selectable and must be ordered for either 12V, 24V or 48V battery charging. Designed in Montana and still made in the USA, if you have good average wind speeds (10-12 mph+) you will find this to be an excellent addition to your battery charging scheme.

https://files.constantcontact.com/aaa32e00401/ad3a72d6-c36d-423c-b2ac-0e7328fddb78.png

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SOLAR PANELS: Despite the 30% import tariff on certain incoming solar modules, there are still a lot of good deals to be had.

NEO Solar Power 360W Mono 72 cell, Tier 1 module Vmp 39.01V Imp 9.23A 77” x 35”, pallet quantity is 30; minimum order quantity is 10. Cost is $309 per module in pallet quantities.

MightyMax Solar 150W 12V nominal modules, 24/pallet, Vmp 17.7V Imp 8.47A 39.’” X 39”, cost is $215 each in pallet quantities.

Hanwha QCells Black Q.Peak G4.1 295W Vmp 32.19V Imp 9.17A 65.7” x 39.4”, minimum quantity 4, cost $269 each

Canadian Solar MaxPower CS6U-325P (poly), 325W, Vmp 37V Imp 8.78A 77.2” x 39.1”, minimum quantity 4, cost $298 each

LG Mono 330E1C-A5 330W AC module (includes Enphase IQ6+Micro-inverter) 66.38” x 40”, minimum quantity 4, $555 each (max string 13 of these AC modules)

SolarWorld Plus SW300 Mono 300W Vmp 32.6V Imp 9.31A 65.95” x 39.4”, minimum quantity 4, $360 each

GLC 325W Multicrystalline Vmp 37.6V Imp 8.64A, 77” x 39.05”, 26 per pallet, cost is $269 each in pallet quantities.

We can also source a variety of other solar products including Trina, ET Solar, Yingle, Jinko, Csun, etc.
Many of our suppliers have a substantial fee for less than pallet quantities.

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Yes it’s finally SPRING and we are offering our gorgeous indigenous corn seed to you for the price of postage. An ounce is about 100 seeds and (since the P.O. considers this a ‘package’), cost to mail you about 1.5 ounces is $1.21

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No power is no problem with our gas refrigerators – now featuring the new economical HOMESTEADER line by Diamond

The manufacturers of the Diamond propane gas refrigerators are now offering a non-CSA certified offering available as a refrigerator/freezer unit in 19 cu.ft. and 21 cu.ft. capacities. While this means we cannot ship these to Canada, their cooling performance is not compromised in any fashion – in fact these have the same identical cooling unit as those installed in the Diamond gas fridges of the same size. These are some of the finest performing gas absorption units in the industry. Both sizes will be offered in the popular white, black and also stainless steel finishes, and they are less costly than most other models in the full size range. Here are the specifications:

19 cu.ft. Homesteader

 

 

 

 

Our customer Rick Freeman from southern California swaps out his old batteries for new to re-charge his PV system.
These 6V batteries weigh about 110 lbs. each.

 

QUOTABLE QUOTES:

  • “Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.”
    --Gustav Mahler

  • "We have to prepare our cities for the increasing scarcity of resources by increasing their density and energy efficiency." -- Mathis Wackernagel

  • "Saying that you don't care about privacy because you got nothing to hide is no different than saying that you don't care about freedom of speech because you got nothing to say."
    --Edward Snowden

  • “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
     --William Shakespeare

  • "In reality, studies show that investments to spur renewable energy and boost energy efficiency generate far more jobs than oil and coal."
    --Jeff Goodell

  • “Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.”
    --Virgil

  • “At the end of the day, no amount of investing, no amount of clean electrons, no amount of energy efficiency will save the natural world if we are not paying attention to it - if we are not paying attention to all the things that nature give us for free: clean air, clean water, breathtaking vistas, mountains for skiing, rivers for fishing, oceans for sailing, sunsets for poets, and landscapes for painters. What good is it to have wind-powered lights to brighten the night if you can't see anything green during the day? Just because we can't sell shares in nature doesn't mean it has no value.”
    --Thomas Friedman

  • “Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
    --Leo Tolstoy

  • "As the saying goes, the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones; we transitioned to better solutions. The same opportunity lies before us with energy efficiency and clean energy."
    --Steven Chu

  • “Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” --Robert H. Schuller

  • "Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us."
    -- President Theodore Roosevelt
     

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