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

GREETINGS FROM OUR SOLAR POWERED OFFICE: Hello folks (this is Chris Daum, owner, here): Another year has come and gone, and I am happy to report that I have had installed the system of my dreams...FINALLY….more details below!

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; we now offer composting toilets at www.eco-potty.com and our main page is www.oasismontana.com. Visit our web pages and stay a while! Or send us an e-mail and get on our e-list for the latest technology information and pricing specials.

In mid-December the Oasis Montana staff completed the major system upgrade at Chris Daum’s home/office; the eight 60W solar modules and 2500W 24V inverter were replaced by twenty-eight Sanyo 205W solar modules, an 8KW 48V Radian inverter (new from Outback Power), and two Midnight Solar Classic Charge Controllers. The system can effectively run the entire place, including the 1.5HP 240VAC water pump, and when the sun is shining, still have power to feed back to the utility. In the event of a power outage the system works fine in an independent fashion, since the inverter is able to feed power back as well as act as a stand-alone inverter for remote power systems. “If I wanted to add a generator to this set-up, I could do that too”, states Ms. Daum, “but right now, in times of low light, the utility grid is my back-up as needed, instead of a generator that might be used in a remote system.”

There’s really not a module missing at the top (right) of the main array; there’s a plumbing vent there as well as the morning shade of the stove stack, so a module was left out to conform to code and common sense (you don’t want shading on your solar modules at any time, if it can be avoided). The array configuration is seven sets of four modules series-wired for the proper input voltage for the Classic charge controllers.

“Initially I was going to keep my old inverter and battery set-up and just use the Sanyo’s in a straight grid-tie (batteryless) configuration with an SMA or Fronius inverter. Then this new inverter came on the horizon in late summer. The more we heard about it, the more inclined we were to give it a try; you can still feed power back when you are making more than you are using, and it has the surge capacity to run my 1.5 HP, 240VAC water pump."

The existing batteries, sixteen Rolls/Surrette S530s, were rewired for 48V; since they are only 2 years old, they are likely to last another 8 to 10 years with proper care. “I like the idea of having backup power; we are at the end of a utility line, and have frequent power outages, so it’s very convenient to have seamless continuity of power if there are any storms or line problems. And it’s really hard to put a dollar value on that kind of reliability!”       

Above left, the big stainless box is the Radian inverter; the two black components are the Classic controllers, and the other grey boxes are the combiner enclosure and AC sub-panel.

SOLAR MODULE PRICINGcall 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.  Some suppliers charge re-boxing fees too.  

    Single Pallet
Sharp ND-224UC1, 224W, 7.66A, 29.3V (39.1” X 64.6”) $565  $528
Sharp  NU-Q235F4, 235W, 7.84A, 30.0V (39.1” X 64.6”)  $634 $592
Sharp NU-Q240F2, 240W, 30.1V, 7.98A (39.1” X 64.6”)                 $702   $656
  Sharp Modules are made in the USA    
Sanyo 195 Bi-facial , 195W, 3.5A, 55.8V (51.9” X 34.6”)                   $960   $900
  HIT 205W, 5.05A, 40.7V (62.2” X 31.4)                           $599  
  HIT 220W, 5.17A, 42.7V (62.2”X31.4”)                  $657  $614
  HIT 225W, 5.21A, 43.4V (62.2”X31.4”)         $781          $732
  Sanyo solar modules meet qualifications for Buy American Program.    
Samsung LPC244, 244W, 7.97A, 30.7V (64.2” X 38.7”) $518 $484
Schott Poly 230, 230W, 30V, 7.66A (66.3” X 39.1”) $414 $399
  Made in Albequerque, NM.  Other size modules also available, call for more info.       
Trina Solar TSM185DA01  185W, 4.9A, 36.80V (62.24” X 39.05”)  $487 $454
  TSM225PA05  225W, 7.5A, 29.80V (64.96” X 39.05”)  $504 $470
  TSM230PA05  230W, 7.66A, 30.00V (64.96” X 39.05”)  $542 $506
  TSM235PA05  235W, 7.75A, 30.30V (64.96” X 39.05”)  $572 $534
  TSM240PA05  240W, 7.84A, 30.60V (64.96” X 39.05”) $587 $548
Suntech 180/24, 180W, 4.98A, 35.6V (62.20” X 31.81”) $300 $286
 (more sizes available, call for information)
CS6P-240M, 240W, 30.2V, 7.95A (64.5” X 38.7”)   $389
Lumos LS235 Poly, 235W, 34.1V, 6.9A (65” X 39.1”)   $489
  The LS Series is made in the USA; Lumos offers less expensive, high quality Chinese-made modules too)     
Solarworld 235W, 6.22A, 26.6V (39.4” X 65.94”) $649 $629
KYOCERA KD240GX-LPB, 240W, 29.8C, 8.06A (65.4” x 39”) $505 $490
  KD215GX-LPU  215W, 8.09A, 26.6V (59.1” X 39.0”) $455 $440 $455 $440
  KD135GX  135W, 7.63A, 17.7V (59.1 X 26.3”) $385 $369
  (Some Kyocera modules may have a 2-3 month lead time)    
  KS20, 20W, 16.9V, 1.20 A (20.47” X 13.85”) $161 $158
  KS10, 10W, 16.9V, 0.60A (11.96” X 13.85”) $113 $110
  KS5, 5W, 16.9V, 0.29A (8.07” X 13.85”) $84 $74
  Modules manufactured in Kyocera’s San Diego facility qualify for Buy American Program.     
Conergy 180M  180W, 5.0A, 36V (62.2” X 31.8”) $332 $310
  Triple Black235PH  235W, 8.06A, 29.20V (65.0” X 39.1”)   $424 $396
  235PH  235W, 8.06A, 29.2V (65.0” X 39.1”)  $377 $352
  240PH  240W, 8.13A, 29.5V (65.0” X 39.1”) $391 $365
  PowerPlus225  225W, 7.74A, 29.23V (65.0” X 38.8”)  
(PowerPlus 225s are ARRA compliant!) 
$434 $405
HELIOS 6T 250, 250W, 30.3V, 8.22A (66.1” X 39”) $482 $450
  Made in Milwaukee, WI, USA!  Other Helios modules available, call for more info.  Due to the possibility of the Chinese import war, call for current pricing information—prices subject to change without notice.    
EcoSolargy Alpha 185
185W, 36.2V, 5.14A (62.2" x 31.8") $300 $285


Outback Energy Cell Battery System: As the demand for renewable energy increases, the needs of system integrators and installers are rapidly evolving as well. OutBack Power is responding by engineering its acclaimed line of BOS (balance-of-system components) into preassembled systems to give installers the best of both worlds: OutBack quality in a more easily specified and installed package.
The OutBack Integrated Battery Rack system is a comprehensive battery enclosure solution with cell interconnects, cabling, and series string overcurrent protection and disconnects included, making it easy to order and install. All electrical connections are made at the factory and ship fully assembled with the exception of the batteries, which can be quickly added and connected on the jobsite.

Pair this up with a set of Outback’s new Energycell RE batteries for a simple and robust back-up system. The EnergyCell RE valve-regulated lead acid battery is designed for high power density and renewable energy cycling applications, with Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) technology for efficient gas recombination of up to 99% and freedom from electrolyte maintenance. The EnergyCell RE also features low profile terminals with threaded copper alloy inserts providing reduced maintenance and increased safety. Best of all is this new battery system outperforms and costs less $/Ah than other comparable systems. Call for more information, 877-627-4778.
Solar water pumping
season is fast approach-
ing. If you have thirsty
cattle, a remote cabin,
are protecting riparian
areas, drip irrigating your garden, or want to keep your pond topped off, call our system designers. We have water pumping systems all over the world! Please answer all the questions on our web page at www.PVsolarpumps.com so we may determine the best components for YOUR solar pumping project.

WHO WE ARE and ORDERING INFORMATION: Chris Daum, owner and manager of Oasis Montana, has been in the renewable energy field for 23 years.  Our staff offers experience, personalized service, tech support, quality components and good pricing. We are happy to work with your installer, electrician, or contractor, and locally we can install your power system (or even fly to your site for installation). We provide detailed wiring diagrams with the systems we sell. TO PLACE AN ORDER: E-mail or call us for your freight; if you have any questions about your system or product, please contact us. E-mail is easiest and fastest (but we know that you aren’t all on line). We accept Visa/Mastercard (personal and business checks are fine). For our international customers, we accept bank transfers— e-mail or call us for our banking information. Our hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Mountain Time, Mon. – Fri. If we‘re on another line when you call, please leave us a message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can, but you may have to leave a message if we’re with a customer or on one of the other lines. 406-777-4321 or 4309 or e-mail us at info@oasismontana.com — for tech support on renewable energy systems, e-mail larry@oasismontana.com. We’d be very happy to help you with your power project — send an e-mail or give us a call!

The Importance of Battery Monitoring: With any solar power system, understanding how the system is performing is essential for protecting the owner’s investment.  If the system is battery-based, being able to monitor the batteries’ level of discharge is important since batteries are generally the weak link as well as very costly. Many off-grid owners develop a skill called ‘load management’, which means you are conscious of when you turn off appliances and multiple loads together, especially during times when the sun is not shining much or the gas-powered generator is not running.

Most off grid systems use a digital meter to automatically set a predetermined low voltage setting that can turn on a gas-powered generator to make sure that your batteries never go below a certain percentage of discharge.  The level of discharge will vary from owner to owner, determined by how often (or little) they want to run their generator or by how much sun is available in the area. Often discharging the batteries 50% is common for owners, but many will recharge after the batteries have discharged only 20%.  The 20% level is often used when the battery bank is grid-tied, which allows for recharging from the grid and is cheaper than burning propane, diesel or gasoline in order to run the generator for charging.  If a system owner is using a Magnum Energy inverter then they need to invest in an auto gen start (AGS) that works with the remote digital meter.  The remote meter has the AGS settings in the meter and the auto start uses these settings to start the generator automatically when a certain low voltage set point has been reached.  Outback has the AGS set points built into their MATE system monitor as well, which activates a relay switch to turn on the generator.  In addition, the MATE has many more charging set points to work with, making it both more complex and advanced then the Magnum’s AGS.  Fortunately, the new MATE 3 that Outback Power has developed is more user-friendly than the original MATE models by using more icons and having easy-to-use buttons dedicated to a variety of functions.

Often with small modified sine wave (or square wave) inverters that still have a built-in AC charger, the inverter does not have a meter; instead it has knobs on the inverter used to adjust the charger's set points.  Unless the owner uses the stand alone AGS that Magnum offers (which monitors battery voltage on its own without relying on a digital meter) the owner will have to manually start the generator.  So the owner still needs a meter of some sort in order to know what is the batteries' state of charge.  In this case, the most common meter is made by Bogart Engineering, and is called a TriMetric meter.  Many people use the TriMetric meter as a back up in order to make sure the main system’s meter is accurate.  There are a few options with TriMetric meters; the original is called a TM-2020 and is used with 12-24 volt systems.  Since 48 volt systems are more common today, Bogart has come out with the TM-2025A which can be used on systems from 12 to 48 volts.  For the system owner who needs more capabilities than the Trimetric offers there is the PentaMetric meter.  This meter can monitor one or two systems at the same time using a common negative. When only one system is used it can show battery current plus two charging sources/loads.  It is also possible to interface the PentaMetric with a computer for remote monitoring.
No battery system should be expected to function properly without some form of monitoring system.  Often with grid tie systems, the monitoring equipment is an added expense and people decide to omit to save a few bucks.  Luckily, grid-tie systems are so turn-key the owner is able to get by without knowing the system's output.  The downside to this is if they do have a problem they usually do not know about; and thus end up paying for utility power while the PV system that they have purchased fails to do its job properly.  With an off grid system, battery monitoring is essential for maintaining the system’s health and without it, the owner will likely be disappointed in the short lifespan of his or her battery bank.  Having some form of monitoring device for your system is key to understanding your system's capabilities (or limitations) and helps the owner interact with their system, leading to greater battery longevity and better performance.  Not having a battery monitor to give you your system's information is very much like driving a car without a working gas gauge!  It is worth the investment in a decent battery monitor to protect the integrity of the heart of your system--the batteries. If you have any questions about a battery monitor, call us at 877-627-4778.


Tri-Metric Meter and Diagram

Tri- metric battery monitoring meter

COMING APRIL FIRST:  Peerless Premier Cordless DC Ranges: 
Beginning April of 2012, the Department of Energy has banned the production of standing gas pilot ranges in the USA.  These new ranges from Peerless will have a DC electronic ignition system that will operate off of a battery pack consisting of eight double A batteries, and those will last at least 3 to 4 years (and, according to their tests, perhaps as long as 7 or 8 years).  They will give an audible signal when the batteries start to get low, but will continue to operate for some time after that.  There will be a small overlap period for the changeover in production, and the standing gas pilot ranges will continue to be offered until they are out of stock.  If your preference is a standing gas pilot range, you should order yours now.  But, these DC ranges do offer some benefits compared to standard gas pilot ignition ranges, including enhanced safety, convenience, energy savings, and the ability to work in the absence of AC power or during power outages. 

There will be a total of six Premier Cordless Ranges that will be introduced and supported accordingly, comprised of the best-selling range sizes in the current Premier range line up.


Model # BFK5S9WP, 30" Width

While we do not have confirmed prices on these upcoming models, the 30” range, left, the BFKS9WP, is likely to cost $680 before freight.  A 36” wide fifth burner model with this style will also be available, the BLK5S9WP, and its cost will be $720 plus freight.  Top burners are 9100BTU; middle burner can either be a cast aluminum griddle or another burner, and there’s also a cover if you do not need the burner.  Oven burner is 17000 BTU. Backguard is 10” tempered glass and chrome heat reflector trays are included.  All these stoves’ cooktops are porcelain finished for longevity and ease of cleaning.



Model # BCK100OP, 24" Width

These simpler stove models have a 4” porcelain backguard; the 36” models have a side storage space.  The

20” wide BAK100OP will be

$485; the 24” BCK100OP (pictured at left) will be $520; BFK100OP is the 30” model, $545, and the 36” model BLK100WP will be $620 plus freight.


These DC ignition stoves are available in the open burner style only.  These units come set up for natural gas, but all models include information for easy LP conversion.  Note:  there is no interior light in the ovens on these stoves.  All of these gas ranges adhere to the federal mandates driving the industry-wide changes impacting standing gas pilot ranges. 



You can view our entire appliance line at www.LPappliances.com

To track or not to track. . .

Since the advent of the solar module, people have been trying to find out ways to make their arrays more efficient so they could harvest as much sun energy as possible. Some of these innovations have included reflecting mirrors, magnifying lenses, concentrators and cooling systems. Perhaps the most effective of these has been the solar tracker. Since a solar module will provide the most power when the sun’s rays are striking the cells perpendicularly, it would make sense that if you optimize the amount of time they are in that orientation the greater your power production. A solar tracker does just that, it “aims” the solar array at the sun and continues to track it throughout the day. Some trackers produced today use electric motors to change the orientation while others such as the Zomeworks Tracker use a passive system that relies on the weight-shift of refrigerant gas within its rail tubes to pivot the rack. It has been found that these trackers can increase your system’s capacity by upwards of 35% in summer, which in turn leads to a smaller array size and thus a reduced system cost. In winter, the gains are much smaller.

Recently though, the latter benefit may be shifting. With solar module prices plummeting down below $2.00 per watt and the costs of metal on the rise, we have been finding that in many cases it is making more sense economically to steer away from the trackers and lean more towards simply increasing the system capacity. In other words instead of using a tracker to increase your output by 35% it now costs less to leave the array fixed and just to increase the installed capacity by 35%. It will not only pencil out less expensive, but it will also give you peace of mind that there are no motors or moving parts that may require maintenance or replacing. Another thing to keep in mind when planning a grid tied PV system is that many rebate programs are set up to give you back a certain dollar- per-watt of installed capacity. If you were to install a tracker with a smaller array -- your rebate would be smaller as a result.

That being said, there are times when trackers do still make sense in the design of a system — one being if you simply need an array with less square footage of modules. Other advantages come into play typically when dealing with solar water pumping; for example: if you have a low producing well and want to pump as much water as possible from it in one day without pumping it dry. In this case a tracker will help the pump operate at its maximum potential for the better part of the day, rather than a fixed system which will start slowly, peak at mid day and then taper off.

Hopefully, new innovations with trackers will again shift them back into the spotlight, because let’s face it, they are pretty cool!

If you think you have a situation where you think a tracker would suit you, give us a call to see what model works best for your project; you can also view info at www.oasismontana.com/zomeworks.html.


THE IMPORTANCE OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY (or, the cheapest power is that which we do not use!)

We just keep throwing it away. Energy that is—we keep throwing it away like litter along the highway.  A little air leak here, a power strip that we never turn off, the draft that never gets sealed, idling our vehicle longer than we need for warm up, bumping the thermostat up another 10 degrees to knock the chill off—any number of ways that we just keep loading the atmosphere with our wasted heat and power.

Fortunately, one of the prime things that we encourage our customers to accomplish is energy conservation. For those considering the switch to a renewable energy source it can make the difference between affordable or not. When we own our own power plants, we become much more mindful of where our energy dollars go. Since component costs are relatively high, we have a tendency to conserve power wherever we can! Another module at $400, a larger inverter, two more batteries...it quickly makes economical sense to conserve power. 

It’s funny, when I was talking to a client this week about their home, they were laughing when they told me that most people never knew that they were off the grid! There really isn’t any difference regarding the source of electricity--power is power and the source just doesn’t matter to the refrigerator, microwave or light bulb: as long as it is available and the right voltage/frequency, the appliance will run. Energy conservation is easy, simple and cheap. Getting started is probably the most difficult step in the entire process. There are so many ways that a person can go—getting started on one of the paths will allow the next path to be followed when the time comes.

Let’s start simple. If you see a piece of paper—pick it up. This is a simple start for a litter problem and you can be just as simple with your energy conservation. If you see an unneeded light on—turn it off! Use of Compact Fluorescent or LED Lights is another great way to reduce the energy that you are using in your home or business. If you aren’t sure just what that old beast of a refrigerator is pulling for an electrical load, we at Oasis Montana have a great little inexpensive monitoring tool called a “Kill-a-Watt” meter that will let you know what any appliance in your home or business is using for energy. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to walk in to an appliance store and know what you are presently spending in energy use when you look at those fancy yellow stickers with the “Energy Star” ratings?

Some people are already well on their way to understanding where their energy dollar is being thrown away or spent. Those folks have started on the path to conservation and simply need an idea on where to go next. Here are some idea’s: insulation is always a great move; “R” rating means the insulation’s resistance to heat flow. When you go from an R-5 to an R-49 in your ceiling you not only hang on to the heat longer, your heating requirements are lessened. Another thought that can help quite a bit is to seal the air distribution ductwork on your forced air furnace. By some estimates we loose over 30% of our heated or cooled air through leaks in our ductwork. Duct tape isn’t going to work, you need to use that sticky-comes-in-a-can stuff that you paint on with a brush. Once you have sealed your ductwork be sure to insulate it with a jacket of R-5 to R-8 insulation. As long as you are going to be heating or cooling the air, you may as well have the heat or cold that you are paying for! Otherwise you are throwing it away.

Some folks consider the idea of window replacement as a great investment move--and it might or might not be. There are some perfectly adequate windows in buildings and homes now that would have a better First Dollar spent somewhere else. Sealing a building to limit the natural air turnover rate to four times an hour may be a better investment. When you are getting serious about energy conservation it may be a good idea to ask for an energy audit from your utility. These are generally free to customers and can provide a good direction to start. For a nominal fee—generally around $250~$400, you can have a local energy audit company come to your home and they will provide you with recommendations on which energy conservation strategies would be best for you to employ. These audits will typically use a blower door test with an infra-red camera to spot points in your building that are leaking air (heat). These tests may include the use of a Duct Blaster to gauge the air tightness of your ductwork also. If you are seeking an energy audit company, be sure to ask if they are RESNET certified (http://www.resnet.us/). This will assure that they employ the latest techniques and practices in making sure that your home or building has the correct amount of ventilation, your natural gas or propane appliances are correctly adjusted, and help you to ascertain next best steps for you to take.

There are plenty of energy conservation ideas out there and we at Oasis Montana are more than willing to share some thoughts and concepts. We would love to sell you a power generating system that will meet your present consumption but that might not be the best for you. We may be able to reduce the amount of energy that you are using and wind up with a lot smaller system that will still keep you powered in the winter, cool in the summer. Ultimately it is your call; do you want to keep throwing it away ($ka-ching$) or is it time to start putting some of those dollars in your own pocket?

-Larry Keogh


Find out what solar incentives are available in your state at http://www.dsireusa.org

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 worth 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. NEW PRICE of $25.

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”
Still $29 plus shipping.


Renewable Energy and Alternative News Bites:

--Denmark aims to be fossil fuel free by 2050, with half of their electricity derived from wind power by 2020 and relying on biomass and biogas for the rest.  http://www.winddaily.com/reports/Wind_power_to_account_for_half_of_Danish_energy_use_in_2020_999.html 

--Cameroon Farmers turn dung into power:  http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/cameroon-farmers-turn-dung-into-power/  A government program in Cameroon is helping rural livestock farmers convert animal manure not only into fertilizer for crops, but bio-gas for lighting, heating and cooking -- as well as a source of added income. One farmer says she is using money from sales of excess fuel to pay for medical care, education and animal stock.

--NREL's Electronic Atlas Maps U.S. Renewable Energy Resources: http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2012/1681.html.  A new geospatial application developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory allows users to easily and accurately map potential renewable energy resources in the United States. RE Atlas is designed to facilitate energy policy development, investment, and education by making high quality data accessible and easy to understand. The tool creates dynamic maps of renewable resources, including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind. RE Atlas can display resources individually or in a composite fashion. The interactive tool is free to use and available online at http://maps.nrel.gov/re_atlas 

--Negative Carbon Gasoline to be Road Tested by CoolPlanet Biofuels: http://www.energyboom.com/biofuels/negative-carbon-gasoline-be-road-tested-coolplanet-biofuels  CoolPlanet Biofuels has received approval from the California Air Resources Board to road test its negative carbon gasoline in California. The company's unique negative carbon biofuels are produced by converting low-grade biomass -- such as grass and woodchips -- into high grade fuel. The negative carbon byproduct that comes from the process of conversion can be used to sequester carbon and act as a soil conditioner. The first fleet test will involve blending this negative carbon blend with California's standard E-10 gasoline to help meet California's 2020 goal of 10% emissions reduction. CoolPlanet has the capability to produce over one million gallons of 2020 low carbon gasoline this year, and projects ramping to a billion gallons by 2015 and significantly higher volumes by 2018.

--Military Leaders Want US to Reduce Oil Consumption 30% in Next Ten Years: http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/23107
Some of the highest ranking retired military leaders have released a report "Ensuring America's Freedom of Movement: A National Security Imperative to Reduce U.S. Oil Dependence" calling for "immediate, swift and aggressive action" for the US to reduce oil consumption 30% over the next 10 years. The report is by the CNA research organization's Military Advisory Board. The analysis measured the effect of four different theoretical blockages in the flow of oil, each lasting 30 days, in the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, Bab el-Mandeb, and the Panama Canal. Under a worst-case scenario, 30-day closure of the Strait of Hormuz, the analysis finds that the U.S. would lose nearly $75 billion in GDP. But cutting current levels of U.S. oil dependence by 30%, the impact would be nearly zero. America must also diversify the fuels it relies on to insulate it from the inevitable disruptions in the world's oil supply.

--Largest Solar Powered Boat in World Record Circumnavigation Attempt: http://www.gizmag.com/tranor-planetsolar-circumnavigation-attempt/17039/ .  This big boat can hold up to 40 persons and can cruise at 14 knots, but it will only have crew of six for its around-the-world journey. - -Weatherized homes saving money for U.S. Families: http://energy.gov/articles/weatherized-homes-saving-money-families-across-us.  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program has supported the weatherization of over 750 thousand homes, including more than 600 thousand homes through the Recovery Act, over the past three years. On average, the program reduces energy consumption for low-income families by up to 35 percent, saving them more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone. These energy efficiency upgrades include adding insulation, sealing ducts, and installing efficient windows, heating & cooling systems—as well as providing jobs and supporting economic growth.



We grew quite a few HOT peppers last year, some good short-season varieties; we also still have plenty of colorful corn seed to share. If you are interested, send us a few stamps or a self-addressed envelope and we are happy to share our organic home-grown seeds.

Quotable Quotes:
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.  -Ann Bradstreet

Now 'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted; suffer them now and they'll o'ergrow the garden.  -William Shakespeare

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
-Charles Dickens

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.  -Mark Twain (1866)

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.  -Ronald Reagan

The use of solar energy has not opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.  -Ralph Nader

What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?  -Henry David Thoreau

We are firm believers in nuclear power. It has proven to be a reliable source of energy in the past and will continue to be reliable in the future.  However, we really only need one power plant to supply us. It needs to have good distribution over most of the populated areas and easily available to anyone. It should be a proven design with no maintenance required and last a very long time without any upgrades or modifications. There should be no waste to deal with and be inaccessible to terrorists for their use. Such a power plant already exists. It is 93,000,000 miles away but, oh, so easy to hook up to…  -Unknown

Sunshine is spread out thin and so is electricity. Perhaps they are the same, sunshine is a form of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy. Do we use them? Oh, no! We burn up wood and coal, as renters burn up the front fence for fuel. We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property."           -Thomas Edison, 1910

We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.  -Albert Einstein

Man does not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.  -Chief Seattle

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day another. The difference between them can be as great as a month.  -Henry Van Dyke

I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?  -Edward Giobbi

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