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



Last summer in the northern Rockies was pretty
strange….July was cool and spring-like and many folks’
gardens were delayed by the lack of heat. But the mild warm
autumn made up for it, and it was another bumper haul from
the Oasis garden and orchard. We couldn’t keep up with the
plums and apples, again! Who planted all those trees,
anyway? It seemed like a good idea at the time…..And this
winter has certainly been the real deal. La Nina, they say...

For those of you who aren’t “on line”, or are beginning
your project, we have an extremely informative Product
Catalog on disc for $10 ($20 out of country)—essential for
your energy library! Products, system sizing, pricing,
components, importance of energy efficient appliances, battery care, and wind turbines are just some of the topics covered. If you are on-line, you can see example systems at www.oasismontana.com/systems.html.  To assist your information input, we’ve tried to develop as much on-line information as we can. For solar water pumping, see www.PVsolarpumps.com; for utility-tied photovoltaic systems, visit www.grid-tie.com; for efficient AC appliances, DC ’fridges, coolers and freezers see www.eco-fridge.com; for natural and LP gas appliances, see www.LPappliances.com.  Our main index page is www.oasismontana.com and we now offer composting toilets at www.eco-potty.com. Visit our web pages and stay a while!

Late Winter - February/March 2011 Newsletter Index:

NORTHWESTERN ENERGY offers grants to help qualified Montanans afford grid tied PV systems!
At this writing, this year we’ve been able to install four separate grid-tied PV systems that have qualified for NWE’s grants of $3/watt (up to two kilowatts) in our installation area. Our first system was for Gary and Karen Pelkey (of ‘Wild About Pets’ in Hamilton, MT).  They put an 8.2KW system on their brand new pole barn at their dog boarding facility near Corvallis, MT (Daly Dog Care).  The decision to buy solar modules was a no-brainer for Karen & Gary.  “The numbers are tremendous,” Gary explained. “You’d have to be crazy not to do it now.” With the $6000 grant from Northwest Energy,  combined with the 30% federal and $500 state tax credits, the installed cost of solar power is coming down significantly.  “It’s going to cover about 68% of the power used on the property on average,” Gary explained. And for Gary and Karen, the decision to switch to the sun offers more than financial benefits. “Energy costs are going to rise, so becoming self-sufficient is important”, says Gary. “The environmental aspect is important to us as well.”

Barb and Justin Stewart, of Hamilton, MT, (below left) put their ten modules on a pole mount that is easy to adjust seasonally. After the NWE $6000 grant, the 30% federal tax incentive and the $500 state tax credit, these two kilowatt systems, installed, cost their owners less than $7000. Kudos to our green-thinking neighbors in western Montana!

The 2 KW roof mounted system, above, is for June Russell of Hamilton, MT. “It’s just the right thing to do”, she says, “and also a hedge against utility inflation”

Oasis Montana pricing as of Jan. 2011 - call for current prices

SOLAR MODULE PRICING—call for availability, freight costs, and quantities (# of modules) on pallets for the best deal. You can’t get less than a pallet quantity to get the pallet ‘deal’. For larger modules, pallet quantity generally runs between 20 and 40 modules, and oft times there are significant additional charges for less than pallet quantities.

Solar Module Description

SHARP NT-175UI, 175W, 4.95A, 35.4V (62.01” X 32.52”) 
Sharp ND-130UJF, 130W, 17.4V, 7.5A (26.1” X 59.0”) 
Sharp NE80EJEA, 80W, 4.63A, 17.3V (47.28” X 21.14”)
SANYO HIT195, 195W, 3.53A, 55.3V (51.9” X 34.6”)
Sanyo HIT190, 190W, 3.47A, 54.8V (51.9” X 34.6”)
Sanyo HIT Double 200W, 3.56A, 56.2V (53.2”X35”)
Sanyo HIT 205W SALE!, 5.05A, 40.7V (62.2” X 31.4”)
(while supplies last)
SAMSUNG LPC235, 235W, 6.21A, 29.9V (64.2” X 38.7”)
SOLON Black 225W 225W, 7.76A, 29.0V (64.5” X 39.37”)
TSM220PA05 220W, 7.39A, 29.80V (64.96” X 39.05”)
SUNTECH stp175/24, 175W, 4.95A, 35.2V (62.20” X 31.81”)
CANADIAN SOLAR 230W, 7.7V, 29.8A (64.48” X 38.66”)
Canadian Solar 220W
EVERGREEN 210W, 11.48A, 18.3V (65.0” X 37.5”)
SOL-1012 10W, .58A, 17.2V (14.49” X 12.2”)
SOLARWORLD 230W, 6.18A, 26.6V (39.4” X 65.94”)
KD215GX-LPU 215W, 8.09A, 26.6V (59.1” X 39.0”)
KD210GX 210W, 7.90A, 26.6V (59.1” X 39.0”)
KD205GX-LP 205W, 7.71A, 26.6V (59.1” X 39”)
KD185GX 185W, 7.84A, 23.6V (52.7” X 39.0”)
KD135GX 135W, 7.63A, 17.7V (59.1 X 26.3”)
(Some Kyocera modules may have a 2-3 month lead time)
Kyocera KC85T 87W, 17.4V, 5.02A (39.6” X 25.7”)
Kyocera KC50T,
Kyocera KC40T, 43W, 17.4”, 2.48” (20.7” X 25.7”)  (not available)
Kyocera KS20, 20W, 16.9V, 1.20 A (20.47” X 13.85”)
Kyocera KS10, 10W, 16.9V, 0.60A (11.96” X 13.85”)
Kyocera KS5, 5W, 16.9V, 0.29A (8.07” X 13.85”) $77 $64
LUMOS LS185, 185W, 35.8V, 5.17A (31.8” x 62.2) Pallet (ONLY) of 28


In Europe they have taken half the cigarette packet to tell you smoking kills. I’m going to insist it should also say on the back, “Death awaits you whether you smoke or not.”     —David Hockney


GAS APPLIANCES: Propane refrigerators, freezers, ranges, cooktops - www.LPappliances.com for information.

Servel propane refrigerator, 8 cu.ft. capacity
Crystal Cold 11 cu.ft. capacity propane ’fridge
Crystal Cold 15 cu.ft. capacity
Crystal Cold 18 cu.ft. capacity
Stainless 18 cu.ft. capacity (w/ black textured sides)
Crystal Cold 19 cu.ft. (white, black or bisque)
Stainless 19 cu.ft. (w/ black sides)
NEW 21 cu.ft. capacity Crystal Cold ‘Fridge
(Now available in white, black or bisque)
NEW 21 cu.ft. capacity stainless gas ‘fridge
Blizzard 15 cu.ft. capacity upright freezer
Blizzard 18 cu.ft. capacity upright freezer
Blizzard 22 cu.ft. capacity upright freezer

The Servel propane refrigerator can be converted to use natural gas for $200 (includes re-crating). The Crystal Cold refrigerators and Blizzard 10 to 18 cu.ft. freezers can be converted to natural gas for $50; the Blizzard 22 cu.ft. freezer can be converted to natural gas for $100 (more costly as this model has two gas absorption units). No power is no problem with these gas ‘fridges and freezers! We also offer propane & natural gas cooktops, Italian made by Verona; these professional cooking appliances are available in a wide variety of finishes (stainless, black, bisque and black glass), with two, four and five burner models. Visit www.LPappliances.com for pictures and specifications.

CONTROLLERS & REGULATORS are essential for complete battery charging while preventing overcharging. Sizing a charge controller is based on the input amperage and voltage of the solar array. Sungard 4 (4.5A by Morningstar) $32; Sunsaver 6 (handles up to 6.5A) $48 (with low voltage disconnect option $59); Sunsaver 10 (handles up to 10A) $55 (with LVD option, $70) also available in 24V. NEWSunsaver Duo 12V 25A (charges two batteries,w/ display & LCD) $188 - -great for RVs! Prostar PS15 $112; PS15M (with meter) $179; PS 30 $152; PS 30M $219. Tristar Charge Controller, 60A, 12 to 48V, multiple settings & screens, $218; 45A, $169,Tristar Digital Meter for their 45A or 60A charge controller $99.     5 yr. warranty on Morningstar products. Outback Power 60A Controller (MPPT, 60A with varying voltage input) $619. We can provide most brands of solar charge controllers, from Blue Sky Energy (formerly RV Power Products) to Specialty Concepts or Steca. Call us for availability and your pricing.

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE PLUMS: It was yet another bumper crop of European type plums this past year. This recipe for plum torte has been around for a while, but if you haven't seen it, it’s a great way to deal with too much fruit (and also works with raspberries, peaches and apricots).

1/4 lb (1 stick) butter, softened; 3/4 cup plus 1-2 tblspns. sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs pinch salt
24-28 pitted plum halves
4 to 8 tblspns. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon or more, to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and 3/4 cup of sugar; add flour, baking powder, eggs, salt and mix well. Spoon the thick batter into a greased 9 or 10 inch spring form pan (or 9 inch round cake pan). Cover the top with plums, skin sides up. Drizzle lemon juice over the top. Mix the cinnamon with the remaining 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool; refrigerate or freeze, wrapped double in foil if desired. To reheat, you can thaw it, or just pop the whole thing into a 350 degree oven for a half hour. Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream (or brandy). Mmmmm, it’s a great way to enjoy a good harvest!

New Marine Grade Solar Modules by Eco-Energy: GANZ Eco-Energy’s fully weatherproof solar modules are designed to provide clean, quiet and reliable power in 6W, 12Wand 30Wmodels for rugged marine and other outdoor applications. An unbreakable plastic film surface with semi-flexible aluminum backing make these panels ideal for mounting on flat or gently curved decks. These solar cells have a very high conversion efficiency, providing maximum power while taking up less space on deck or in your backpack. Each panel has 4 grommet finished holes for mounting along with 10 ft. of 12 gauge outdoor rated cable that connects directly to your battery or a charge controller.


New Marine Grade Solar Modules by Eco-Energy

Maximum Output
55 watts
40 watts
30 watts
12 watts
6 watts
Max Output Current 1.74A .78A .39A .39A .39A
Max Output Voltage 17.2V 15.3V 15.3V 15.3V 15.3V
Short Circuit Current 1.93A .86A .42A .42A .42A
Open Circuit Voltage 21.6V 19.3V 19.2V 19.2V 19.2V
Length 22.1" 15.8" 11.8" 11.8" 11.8"
Width 20.5" 14.1" 10" 10" 10"
Weight 4.4 lbs 2.3 lbs 1.4 lbs 1.4 lbs 1.4 lbs
Price $859 $619 $459 $199 $114
LATE BREAKING NEWS:  These marine grade modules are also available in 40W ($426) and 55W ($612) versions; call or e-mail for additional information/specifications.

As a guideline, a charge controller should be used when the solar panel to battery ratio exceeds 10Wto 100Ah. These modules offer a 20 year power output warranty (1-10 Years 90%; 11-20 Years 80%); 2 year materials limited warranty; made in China, very similar to the former Solarex “MSX Lite” product line. These are built to give you years of economic power and portability for RVs, boats, traffic signals, marine environment, wherever you need portable & reliable power.

And another note added: these also include blocking diode, fuse, connectors and terminals, pre-constructed on the 6W and 12W module only!

Hello folks: For those of you who've received our paper flier, you will not be seeing information about the new Unique brand of stoves in our e-newsletter; unfortunately these are no longer available to us as they have been discontinued from our supplier. BUT, the Peerless Premier line of stoves will still be available (at least until later in the year) as a non-electric gas piloted model, and also as an electronic ignition model (where you can light the oven and burners with a match in the absence of AC power). And in the meanwhile, the Peerless Premier manufacturers are working on a non-electric model that will work off of a small battery pack, basically making a DC electronic ignition model. So stand by as more changes are in the works! These are still available without a heating element or glow-bar. We have a nice brochure on these we can pop into the mail, if you'd like a hard copy, or visit http://www.LPappliances.com/stovemodels.html for more information. And one other thing--the price of steel worldwide has really gone up in the past four months, so we are looking at what may be a significant price increase come April 1st. No foolin!

Kill-A-Watt Meter: This electricity detector and monitor can educate you about your monthly electric bill and help you save a lot of money. You can now be a ’detective’ and ascertain what appliances are actually worthkill-a-watt meter keeping plugged in. Simply plug in the Kill-A-Watt meter, connect your appliances to it and Kill-a-Watt will assess how efficient it really is, showing you the instantaneous power used, and also cumulative energy or kilowatt-hours used.  Kill-a-Watt, with an easy-to-read LCD display, will count consumption by the kilowatt-hour, same as your local utility. With the help of Kill-a-Watt you can figure out your electrical expenses by the day, week, month or year on a given device. Kill-a-Watt can check the quality of
your power by monitoring Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor. Still just $29.  Now you'll know if it is time to install a power strip on your entertainment center instead of feeding those ghosts loads while you are sleeping or away from home. Or, is that laptop really cheaper to power than a desktop PC? And how much power does that HD TV use? 

Operating Voltage: 115VAC
Max Voltage: 125VAC,
Max Current: 15A Max Power: 1875W
Dimensions: 5 1/8” x 1 5/8” x 2 3/8”
$29 plus shipping or two for $56
Check out this nice Kill-A-Watt article: http://blog.oregonlive.com/pdxgreen/2010/12/kill_a_watt_success_based_on_m.html

One kind word can warm three winter months.
                                       --Japanese Proverb


The patented Zep System enables rapid coupling and automatic grounding of solar module arrays. The Zep System
(U.S. Patent #7,592,537, U.S. & Int'l Patents Pending) works with all solar modules that include a Zep Groove on the outside surface of an otherwise conventional solar module frame. The system requires no rails, making it easier to ship, warehouse and most importantly, install.
The heart of the Zep System is a specialized stainless steel fastener called the Zep. This quarter-turn coupling rapidly locks
into the Zep Groove, enabling a drop-in installation action for one side of each PV module. The Zep also cuts through the
module frame's anodization to secure a solid ground path while simultaneously allowing for real-world factors like tolerance
take-up and thermal expansion. The Zep coupling is integrated into our two core components: the Interlock and the Leveling

Zep mount system features include: 

· Dramatically reduced installation time
· Eliminates mounting rails and clip hardware
· Eliminates separate grounding hardware
· Ultra reliable hyper-bonded grounding matrix
· Rapid, top-accessible precision array leveling
· Ultra low parts count - 3 parts for entire array
· Enhanced aesthetics - low-profile, straight & level

May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.  And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows your dead. (Irish Blessing)

Big cost savings combined with the substantial PV module price reductions of 2010, Zep technology is opening the door to unprecedented solar pricing levels. With far less material and a rapid method of installation, the Zep System can realize savings of over $0.50 per Watt or more – that’s up to $2,000 in savings on a typical 4 kW system! And because the Zep System installs faster than conventional systems, solar installation companies can install more kWs per crew each day, allowing for better margins on labor and a significant increase in the deployment of solar energy.

Zep solar module mounting racks
2.3kW Zep roof mounted system:
This system will utilize 10
Canadian Solar 230 watt solar
modules and a PV Powered
string inverter.

Typical cost breakdown:
Equipment total = $10,850
Installation Estimate = $1,980
Project base cost = $12,830
Minus 30% federal tax credit
 = $3849
*Total Project cost = $8981
(cost may not include your site specifics, racking options or destination costs which vary place to place)

On average, this system will produce ~8.6 per day or ~249kW per month with the array oriented due south and mounted flush on a 6/12 roof with un-obstructed sunlight and 5 hours of full sun.

Note: there may be more solar incentives for you! Visit www.dsireusa.org for more info.

Battery based inverter for grid-tie PV systems, SmartRE

SmartRE is the revolutionary Smart Renewable Energy solution from OutBack Power,
bringing you simplified grid-tie solar with back-up power for residential and small commercial
applications. Designed with an emphasis on ease of installation, a SmartRE solution
installs and operates similarly to basic grid-tie solar inverters but with the uniqueSmartRE grid-tie inverter
additional benefit of providing UPS quality battery back-up during utility outages. An
integrated ultra-fast AC transfer switch guarantees that even sensitive back-up loads,
like computers, never know when a utility outage occurs. Recommended AGM batteries
are maintained and charged by an innovative OutBack multi-stage charging process.
This valuable feature assists in providing reliable back-up power and will help extend
your battery life up to 10 years.

The SmartRE is a versatile product and can be installed both indoors and outdoors.
Available in power levels up to 3kW and capable of providing as much as 69 kWh of
back-up power during outages, there is a SmartRE solution for your application. With
matching type 3R rainproof power electronics and battery enclosures constructed of aluminum,
a SmartRE solution can be either wall or pad mounted, making this the most
versatile grid-tie with battery backup solution on the market. This solution is designed
and manufactured by OutBack Power to ensure that a SmartRE solution works reliably
for years to come. A standard 5-year warranty, with an option to add an additional five
year warranty, provides peace of mind.

Ease of installation, UPS quality battery back-up, and solutions as large as 3kW along
with proven OutBack engineering makes the SmartRE system the Smart choice for a
premium Grid-Interactive solar power system. Now available from Outback Power, you
can view specifications on this new product at http://www.outbackpower.com/docman/1401107071220SmartRE_Spec_Sheet.pdf

Call or e-mail us for availability or additional information as needed! 406-777-4321 or info@oasismontana.com

Energy Efficient SunDanzer Upright Combination Refrigerator and Freezer

Save on energy costs with the SunDanzer DCRF134 DC Refrigerator/Freezer Combination unit. This single door upright unit is perfect for remote cabins and situations where a chest style is just not practical. Even with its small footprint, it still has food storage capacity of 4.7 cubic feet. The built-in freezer compartment is perfect for making ice and storing small frozen items.

High quality construction provides excellent reliability and a long life. The powder coated galvanized steel exterior is easy to clean.  The zero maintenance, brushless, thermostatically controlled DC compressor operates on 12 or 24 VDC.

With the added insulation and a refrigeration system optimized for off-grid applications, this newest addition to the SunDanzer family of energy efficient refrigeration appliances will provide the same outstanding economical and reliable operation as the popular chest style units.

Low energy consumption is the key that allows SunDanzer refrigerators and freezers to be the most cost effective for use with power from solar, wind, fuel cells or batteries. This technology allows refrigeration in remote locations where it was previously unavailable or prohibitively expensive.

• Reversible door and handle
• Dairy compartment and vegetable crisper
• Adjustable legs for leveling
• Scratch resistant top doubles as work surface
• Two adjustable safety glass shelves
• Internal control thermostat & temperature gauge
• 12 or 24 VDC, or 120 VAC with 12/24 VDC backup
• Environmentally friendly CFC-free refrigerant
• Remote homes & Eco-resorts
• Remote Stores & Beverage Vending
• Disaster Preparedness
• Churches & Schools
• Micro-enterprises
• Medical Clinics & Missionaries
• Markets & Farms
• Boats & Marine
  • Voltage: 10-31 VDC
  • Array Size Suggested: 300 Watts
  • Average Energy Use at 12VDC:
    70 F – 460Whrs/day, 38 AH/day
    90 F – 720 Whrs/day, 60 AH/day
    110 F – 1050 Whrs/day, 88 AH/day
  • Gross Capacity: 134 L / 4.7 cubic feet
  • Refrigeration: 115 L / 4 cubic feet
  • Freezer: 19 L / .7 cubic feet
  • Exterior Dimensions (WxDxH) 23.5 x 26 x 33 in
  • Shipping Dimensions (WxDxH) 26 x 28 x 40 in
  • Weight: 75 lbs including packaging, ships via LTL truck
  • $1149 plus freight.
Sundanzer DC refrigerator
"The SunDanzer refrigerator and freezer are wonderful! We thought it might be a tad difficult to get used to a chest-style fridge, but it turns out to actually be easier to use than our old upright -- you can see everything. The efficiency of these appliances is nothing short of amazing! I don't know why everyone who is generating their own power doesn't have these appliances; Even during the past two weeks when it was mostly raining or overcast, our PV array generated plenty of power for the miserly SunDanzers! Thanks again for helping us to get off-grid."

Lance & Kathleen
Cayman Islands

"Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." —Ambrose Bierce

Just what is the value of a solar electric power system? We get many calls from solar wannabees, asking “What is the
payback?’, “How much money will I save?”, and the ever popular “How much will my utility pay me for my power?” The answers depend on several variables, including your utility rates (and your utility’s net metering program), your average sun resource, incentives, and your degree of household efficiency (or lack of it). If you live in a sunny or windy state with expensive power costs, your rate of return or payback will be quicker than if you live in a state where it’s cloudier, or where the utility power is already very cheap. And first, of course, you should endeavor to become as efficient as possible, so your power system investment will go even further. When your utility rates are quite high, if your location is generally sunny, and there are decent financial incentives, you may find that investing in a solar electric system to be a worthwhile and cost-effective endeavor.

From a strict property value point of view, it is generally considered that you can add $20K to your home’s value for every $1000 reductions in annual energy costs from the installation of a PV system. And, solar power systems actually appreciate over time, because they increase your annual energy savings as energy costs rise. We rate the lifespan of a solar array at ~30 years (and many of those early NASA modules built in the 70s are still quite functional). Solar (photovoltaic or PV) modules are generally warranted for 20 to 25 years to make at least ~80% of their rated power, so figuring resale value should take this de-rating into account.  GENERALLY SPEAKING, the least expensive way to buy a solar electric system is to pay cash up front—but those costs may be daunting. The next option may be to add the purchase to an existing mortgage or home equity loan. Banks no longer find the investment of PV to be an esoteric technology, and are generally willing to work with your purchase plans.

Incentive programs vary from state to state and neighboring utilities may have very different (or no) incentives. In Montana, for example, some of the co-ops and major utilities like Northwestern Energy are quite progressive, and some we are still trying to bring into the 21st century. You can check http://www.dsireusa.org for information on the incentives available in your state (this site is updated weekly).

Of course, another long term ‘incentive’ is the solid knowledge of utilizing power with a device that is benign as a window, with clean energy from the sun—and no contributions to fouled salmon runs, mountaintop removal or strip mining, and no power plant emissions for land and water and future generations!

Renewable Energy and Alternative News Bites: Oil and Renewables: Slicing up the Subsidy Pie...Even though governments throughout the world are vowing to expand green energy, they continue to give far more subsidies to fossil fuels than renewable – 10 to 12 times more....

Report Ranks States Most Vulnerable to Oil Price Hikes: Natural Resources Defense Council, November 4, 2010 http://www.nrdc.org/media/2010/101104.asp.  According to the 2010 edition of the annual report, "Fighting Oil Addiction: Ranking States' Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change,” the 10 states most vulnerable to oil price increases are: #1 Mississippi, #2 Montana, #3 Louisiana, #4 Oklahoma, #5 South Carolina, #6 Texas, #7 Kentucky, #8 Utah, #9 Idaho, and #10 Arkansas.  The 10 states that are doing the most to promote clean energy technologies and reduce their dependence on oil are: #1 California, #2 Oregon, #3 Massachusetts, #4 New York , #5 Connecticut, #6 Washington, #7 Pennsylvania, #8 Minnesota , #9 New Mexico, and #10 Hawaii. Meanwhile, the 10 states doing the least to reduce their oil dependence are: #50 Alaska, # 49 Wyoming, #48 Nebraska, #47 Ohio, #46 West Virginia, #45 Oklahoma, #44 Mississippi, #43 Kansas, #42 Alabama, and #41 North Dakota.

Complaints about the supposedly high costs of renewable energy by political pundits and candidates around the state of Montana are vastly misleading and need correction. Let's set the record straight: http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/article_90fc5a02-dd1b-11df-bc6d-001cc4c03286.html

Solar Power Now Cheaper Than New Nuclear in North Carolina: According to a new report by Dr. John Blackburn, the former chancellor of Duke University, solar electricity has become cheaper than that from new nuclear power plants in North Carolina, and will be far less expensive before nukes could be built. Solar photovoltaic and hot water system costs have fallen steadily for years, and are projected to fall even more over the next 10 years due to manufacturing and installation advances. The report explains that states with open competition for electricity sales are rejecting the nuclear gamble in favor of the combined economic and environmental benefits of solar, wind, cogeneration and energy efficiency; at least 20 states are ahead of North Carolina in developing clean energy. By contrast, the report shows, states with monopoly power markets are the ones still proposing to build new nuclear plants – with each project absorbing billions of public dollars. Visit http://www.ncwarn.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/NR-7-8-10-Solar-nuke-rept.pdf for the report.

- - - - -Empire State Building retrofitted for efficiency: http://ase.org/efficiencynews/empire-state-building-american-icon-saves-energy-money for the story.

- - - - -Nuclear Energy Loses Cost Advantage: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/business/global/27iht-renuke.html?_r=1&src=busln — In a “historic crossover,” the costs of solar photovoltaic systems have declined to the point where they are lower than the rising projected costs of new nuclear plants, according to a paper “Solar and Nuclear Costs— The Historic Crossover” published this month by John O. Blackburn, a professor of economics at Duke University and Sam
Cunningham, a graduate student. This crossover occurred at 16 cents per kilowatt hour, they said. Similarly, another report, “All Risk, No Reward for Taxpayers and Ratepayers,” by Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the University of Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and Environment notes that while solar power costs have been declining, the costs of nuclear power have been rising inexorably over the past eight years.

- - - - -US continues to fall behind China in clean energy: http://2greenenergy.com/us-renewable-portfolio-standard/6598/

- - - - -Let's see how much energy the American lifestyle needs.... http://www.emagazine.com/view/?5402

- - - - -The US Military Is One of the Biggest Supporters of Renewable Energy in the U.S.:  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/09/the-usmilitarys-two-pronged-renewable-energy-initiative —Clean air mandates pushed the U.S. Department of Defense to start developing renewable energy technologies.
But the benefits of energy security and independence are what finally converted many military leaders into believers. In combat zones, the Army is exploring mobile solar and wind generators to replace fuel trucks, which are frequent targets for insurgent attacks. More than 1,000 Americans have been killed while delivering fuel in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. Congress in 2007 gave the DoD marching orders to draw 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

- - - - -Dog poop powers gas street light: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/011628.html

- - - - -Wind turbine manufacturing plant opening in Arkansas: http://nacleanenergy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3854&Itemid=999

- - - - -IEA SaysWorld Should Eradicate Fossil Fuel Subsidies: http://www.firstenercastfinancial.com/e_news.php?cont=40373 Referring to a pledge made earlier by G20 countries, the International Energy Agency says abolishing fossil fuel subsidies would boost the world's economy, environment and energy security. In its annual "World Energy Outlook," EIA estimated such subsidies at $312 billion in 2009, mostly in developing countries, compared with $57 billion in subsidies for renewable energy. Fossil fuel subsidies were on course to reach $600 billion by 2015, and renewables subsidies more than $100 billion. Eliminating fossil fuel consumption subsidies by 2020 would cut global energy demand by 5 percent, compared with no action, and reduce carbon emissions by nearly 6 percent by then. World leaders had committed in Pittsburgh in 2009 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies which encouraged wasteful consumption.

Cars and People Compete for Grain:  http://www.earth-policy.org/index.php?/book_bytes/2010/pb4ch02_ss6  The emerging competition between the owners of the world’s 910 million automobiles and the 2 billion poorest people is taking the world into uncharted territory. Suddenly the world is facing an epic moral and political issue: Should grain be used to fuel cars or feed people? The average income of the world’s automobile owners is roughly $30,000 (or more) a year; the 2 billion poorest people earn on average less than $3,000 a year. The market says, let’s fuel the cars. From an agricultural vantage point, the world’s appetite for crop-based fuels is insatiable. The grain required to fill an SUV’s 25-gallon tank with ethanol just once will feed one person for a whole year. If the entire U.S. grain harvest were to be converted to ethanol, it would satisfy at most 18 percent of U.S. automotive fuel needs. The price of grain is now tied to the price of oil….

QUOTABLE QUOTES: In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. --Albert Camus
- - - -
I believe I have found the missing link between animal and civilized man. It is us. --Konrad Lorenz
- - - -
Horse sense is the thing that horses have which keeps them from betting on people. --W. C. Fields
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Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as in the summer, when they complained about the heat. --Unknown
- - - -
If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you are schizophrenic. --Thomas Szasz
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It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. --Mark Twain
- - - -
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul. --George Bernard Shaw
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When the snow is still blowing against the window pane in January and February and the wild winds are howling without, what a pleasure it is to plan for summer that is to be! --Celia Thaxter
- - - -
Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle…a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream. --Barbara Winkler


If you get e-mail, GET ON OUR E-LIST! Save paper, trees, labor and postage (and disturb only a few electrons!). If we are really on the ball, you might get an e-mail from us a couple of times a year, and we do not sell or share our e-list with anyone. It’s just like our paper newsletter—except the links work! Just drop us a line to info@oasismontana.com (and do make sure that your e-mail program knows we’re not spam).
You are on our e-list as you have indicated a previous interest in renewable energy technologies, or efficient or gas appliances. Ours is a small, hand-maintained list.  If you have received this in error, we apologize; to be removed, simply hit reply with REMOVE in the subject line.
Please feel free to pass this along as desired.  Knowledge is power! 




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



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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