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
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I believe I have found the missing link between animal and civilized man. It is us. --Konrad Lorenz
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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
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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
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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
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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


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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! 




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 ˝ 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.


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.


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

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)



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.



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.


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

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.



  • “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.”

  • “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