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


Spring hours starting April - October! 8am - 4:30pm MST






Stop in for a cold, PV-powered beer!

The Butte Brewing Company is located at 465 East Galena Street, Butte, MT (uptown Butte). It is the dream-child of Tony Olsen, who started this project in 2012. The solar array consists of eighty 250W REC Peak Energy Series (REC250PE) solar modules; the silicon ingots are made in Butte, MT and the modules themselves are manufactured in Singapore. The grid-tied inverters are Fronius IG Plus 10.0, ten kilowatt inverters suitable for commercial or larger residential systems.

Tony became infatuated with the idea of a brewery back in 2005; he and a buddy (from the Montana National Guard) visited another brewery in Helena, and he was smitten with the big tanks, equipment and great beer, so he decided that a brewery in a ‘green’ building was his goal. Tony Olsen likes being self-reliant as much as possible, so it was only natural to put a photovoltaic system on his new building—which also includes super-insulated concrete forms and an in-floor radiant heating system. His brewery building also has office space above as well as a large 2500 sq. ft. conference room that is available for rent. The actual building project got underway in 2012, and Tony’s been brewing beer since last fall. The taproom will open officially by June 1st, 2015.

Tony Olsen was able to get Northwestern Energy and REAP grants, and of course the federal tax credit for this project. He says he did get smacked with a significant state tax hit upon completion, but other than that, he’s been extremely happy with his project—and is still thrilled when he sees his electrical meter spinning backwards.

Two years ago the building was still under construction, but as soon as the roof 
was finished, Oasis Montana installed the solar array.

Butte Brewing Company’s goal is to have 20 brews on tap; right now they are brewing the following: honey cream ale, sweet stout, pale ale (with Nelson Sauvin hops), porter, IPA, red ale and hefeweizen. They’ll be officially pouring on or before June 1st!




The solar tax credit is scheduled to end at the end of 2016 for residential and commercial properties…. This is a 30% federal investment tax credit for solar energy systems. It’s a tax policy that has played a vital role in creating good, American jobs, lowering energy bills for consumers, increasing U.S. global competitiveness, energy security, and reducing pollution from fossil-fuel based energy sources. The company or person that installs, develops or pays for the power project uses the credit (a homeowner applies it to his/her income taxes). This Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been one of the most important federal programs to support the development of solar power in the U.S.; it has driven an amazing job growth sector, with over 20% growth per annum — the fastest employment growth of any industry in our country! The solar industry now employs more than either the steel or coal industries in the U.S.

So if you are considering the purchase of a solar power system, get your equipment together before the end of next year. It would be helpful to also ask your legislators to extend the ITC further, and continue the growth of the solar industries; as time goes on, component efficiencies have increased and costs for consumers continue to go down. Unfortunately, there is no clear consensus among legislators that the expiration date should be extended.

We at Oasis Montana feel that our fledgling solar industry will survive the expiration of the tax credit, if that comes about — but we also feel it is unfair to continue to massively subsidize other energy sectors at the same time! A gradual reduction of the solar tax credit would be a good idea — but only AFTER we cut the more than $4B/year in fossil fuel tax incentives. One would think after 100 years of production the fossil fuel industry would be mature enough and could exist without the tax incentives...especially considering they are the most profitable corporations in the world.

To see what incentives you may qualify for, visit www.dsireusa.org; incentives vary from state to state, and some utilities may offer grants in your particular area.




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 56 modules, and often there are significant additional charges for less (or more) than even pallet quantities. Some suppliers charge re-boxing fees too. Single/ Pallet

LG280 Neon 280W, 9.07A, 31.4V (64.57” X 39.37”)                 $439   $407 (27 per pallet) Made in South Korea

PHONOSOLAR, PS260M, .93A, 240VAC (64.6” x 39.1”)           $529   $489 (18 per pallet) Made in China, monocrystalline AC module with Enphase Microinverters

TRINA TSM-PD14/305, 305W, 8.25A, 33.3V (77” x 39.05”)       $349   $323 (24 per pallet) Made in China; multicrystalline

SILFAB SLA-270, 270W, 31.2V, 8.56A (38.97” x 64.96”)          $359   $334 (35 per pallet) ARRA Compliant

SOLARWORLD SW280, 280W, 7.25A, 28.4V (39.4” x 65.94”)  $420   $389 (30 per pallet)  Made in the USA or Germany; monocrystalline

CANADIAN SOLAR, 255W, 30.1V, 8.4A (64.5” x 38.7”)            $329   $315 (24 per pallet) Made in China; polycrystalline

PHONOSOLAR PS260M 260W, 30.8V, 8.46A (64.6” x 39”)       $369   $339 (24 per pallet) Made in China; monocrystalline

PHONOSOLAR PS290P, 290W, 8.03A, 36.1V (65” x 39.1”)       $409   $399 (22 per pallet) Made in Taiwan & eastern Europe; polycrystalline

SUNIVA 270W, 31.2V, 8.6A (38.66” x 65.07”)                            $389   $352 (25 per pallet) Buy American Compliant—cells made in the U.S., assembled in China

KYOCERA 245GX, 245W, 8.23A, 29.8V (64.5” x 39”)                $379   $359 (20 per pallet)

KYOCERA 140GX, 140W, 7.91A, 17.7V (59.1” x 26.3”)             $319   $299 (20 per pallet) Made in Japan or Mexico. Kyocera has a re-boxing fee for odd-numbered module shipments.(Some Kyocera modules may have a 2-3 month lead time)

KYOCERA KS20, 20W, 16.9V, 1.20 A (20.47” X 13.85”)            $169   $158 (40+ per pallet)

KYOCERA KS10, 10W, 16.9V, 0.60A (11.96” X 13.85”)             $113   $110 (40+ per pallet)

KYOCERA KS5, 5W, 16.9V, 0.29A (8.07” X 13.85”)                   $84     $74 (40+ per pallet)

Other modules generally available too—prices subject to change with little notice. Call for your module pricing and availability. Container pricing available for better dollar-per-watt cost. There have been some price increases this year, so costs may change without notice.

WHO WE ARE and ORDERING INFORMATION: Chris Daum, owner and manager of Oasis Montana, has been in the renewable energy field since 1989, and our system designer, Larry Keogh, will help plan a power or pumping system for your needs. 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 (in western MT and Idaho). We provide detailed wiring diagrams with the systems we sell. TO PLACE AN ORDER: E-mail or call us for your freight costs; 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 summer hours (April through October) are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Mountain Time, Mon. – Thurs, 8 to 4 on Fridays. 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, freight costs and general inquiries. We’d be very happy to help you with your power project — send an e-mail or give us a call!





Arctic grayling struggle on the Big Hole River in Montana: “Montana grayling have been lost from the vast majority of the rivers and streams where they once swam, and they desperately need the protections of the Endangered Species Act to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife's most recent decision to deny the grayling protection is dirty politics that doesn't follow the science. Twenty years is too long to wait for protection.” The Service first determined the grayling warranted endangered status in 1994 and reaffirmed that conclusion in 2010, but reversed course in August 2014 withholding protection from the rare and beautiful relative of trout and salmon. In denying the grayling protection, the agency argued that voluntary efforts by private landowners and the state of Montana, guided by a conservation agreement in place since 2006, have alleviated threats to the fish's survival. Although many individual projects to improve habitat have been completed under the agreement, the grayling continues to face numerous threats, including excessive water withdrawals for irrigation, non-native trout and ongoing habitat degradation. A member of the salmon family, the Arctic grayling is a beautiful fish with a prominent dorsal fin. The species thrives in cold freshwater streams and rivers across Canada and Alaska. Historically, fluvial populations of Arctic grayling existed in only two places in the lower 48 states: Michigan and the upper Missouri River of Montana. Populations in Michigan went extinct by the 1930s, and populations in Montana were restricted to the Big Hole River and a few lakes by the end of the 1970s. Studies demonstrate that Montana grayling are genetically distinct from populations in Canada and Alaska, and have been experiencing severe declines in response to the near drying-up of the Big Hole River on an annual basis caused by increased irrigation use and greater extremes of drought. The following is a story of how ranchers, a solar pumping system, our local FWP and other agencies are trying to protect the last of this unique fish’s Montana habitat. Click here for more information: http://www.pvsolarpumps.com/pumpaeration.htm




Whether you need water moved for your creek, your pool, your off-grid home, for irrigation, pond aeration or for your livestock, we can help provide your water pumping solution. Visit us now online at www.PVsolarpumps.com  — fill out the questionnaire and we’ll propose a system for your project. And while we offer several different kinds of pumps, you can view a neat video from one of our suppliers at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HTn0hINh98

WHEN THE POWER GOES OUT….how can I keep my water pump operating in an emergency situation? We’ve been hearing this question on a regular basis. As utility infrastructure ages, and severe weather becomes the new norm, people are concerned about having water available if the power fails. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always easy or cheap. If your power is pretty dependable and your outages short, your best bet may be a fuel generator; you can have your electrician wire the individual pump circuit or get the properly sized generator to power your entire home, and install a transfer switch. If you are interested in a solar-powered system, it will be considerably more expensive but will feed back power. Most people’s well pumps are AC, which means you need an inverter system that’ll handle the starting surge of that motor, as well as operate the pump for as long as you need water. While many people in the world are very happy to have 5 to 7 gallons per day, the average American uses 50 to 75 gallons per day — and some use much more. Even if your water usage is modest, you will still need to be able to power that pump. For a 3/4HP system:

1 - Outback Flexpower Dual GVFX3648 Inverter system, which includes two inverters, FM80 charge controllers, system monitor and integration equipment, surge protect- tor, battery and PV breakers

16 - Surrette S-480 6V Deep Cycle batteries

24 - Q-Cell 255W 60 cell Solar Modules

2 - 12X Top of Pole Mounting Racks for solar modules

1 - Battery Box vent fan

PLUS the balance of system components including battery cables, hardware, disconnects, combiner enclosures, panel output cables, grounding fittings, surge protectors (but not including installation, shipping or battery box)

Well, folks, we are looking right around $30,000 for just the equipment for a system to be able to run your 3/4 HP water pump. Now in addition to being able to power this pump, when not being used in an emergency situation, this system will feed power back to your utility. Your electricity provider needs to have a net metering plan in place before you can even consider having a system like this (the GVFX inverters are designed to feed power back once the batteries are full in the morning). So you will be able to reduce (or, if you are efficient, negate) your utility bill with this grid-tie system.

Here at the Oasis Montana home/office, we have a system very similar to this, only we are utilizing an Outback Radian inverter and 27 Sanyo solar modules — and yes folks, it did cost upwards of $30K. But, you would still be able to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit, plus whatever state incentives are available where you live.



We are looking at different 'soft start' technologies that can use a smaller (and hence cheaper) inverter set-up to be able to run a water pump in the absence of AC power. Call or e-mail us for more options.



Hey DIYers — do you know how to handle a solar module? While solar modules are usually made from tempered or hardened glass, and can generally tolerate the same conditions as your car windshield, it’s possible that rough handling can cause ‘micro-fractures’ which can cause degradation of the solar cells many years before its time (solar cell substrates are delicate). If you think about hauling a (basically) framed piece of glass onto a mount structure or a roof, there is evidence to indicate that resting it on your shoulder when you climb a ladder, or leaning heavily on it when you are attaching it to the mounting racks can indeed have a long-term effect on its longevity and performance. So whether you are a solar professional or a do-it-yourselfer installing your own solar modules for your home or business, get another person on the other end of the frame, and handle it with care. Make sure your mounting structures are rated for and give adequate support in high winds or under extreme snow loads — which can also cause micro-fractures. Ultimately, too, not all solar modules are created equal. Some of the cheap deals can have thinner glass & frames, or be of poorer construction which can contribute to a shorter electrical lifespan.

If a solar panel has been dropped or stepped on, it may appear to be fine and still operate at full output. But it has likely suffered from micro-fractures which will ultimately result in reduced output. We rate the useful lifespan of a solar module at 30 to 40 years (and most we sell have a 20 to 25 year output warranty). Still, they should be installed carefully to get the most bang for your bucks—and good longevity. Here’s a video about micro-fractures, and how NOT to clean your solar modules:

http://www.purepowerengineering.com/how-not-to-clean-pv-modules/ (beware: eye-candy alert!)



Something new is blowing in the wind….our popular 200W CHINOOK Wind Turbines were discontinued a while back, but a redesigned model is in the works, and we are hoping it will be available by the beginning of next year (2016). The new beast will be a 500W model, and will be available as a 12, 24 or 48V battery charging unit—or for a grid-tie system with no batteries. The Chinook folks are in corroboration with Midnite Solar, so the new wind genny will undoubtedly come with its own controller (if as a battery charging model) or a grid-tie inverter will be specified if you don’t want to mess with batteries.

Another wind turbine from Midnite is in the works, the ARMY WIND generator; it’s a one kilowatt model (1000 watts top end); it’ll be tough as nails and will also be available for 12, 24, 48V battery charging or as a grid-tie unit. We really don’t have much information for these at this point; they are in the testing phase. As soon as these become available we will be offering them. Stay tuned for more information!




New Consolidated Appliance Website

If you are interested in efficient or gas appliances, we’ve listened to you and have developed a new site with oodles of information:

http://www.eco-fridge.com/allappliances/Index.html We offer several Energy Star rated refrigerators with European styling, gas fridges and stoves for your remote cabin and even DC models to efficiently run off your battery bank. Visit our site today!

Note: Appliances are not stocked locally and ship from our suppliers back east.




Crystal Ball Gazing

We get calls asking about trends in our industry. Based on our “insider” knowledge and sources, we would like to share some of the trends we see as having an impact plus some of the, at present, “pie in the sky” notions you may have heard of or are wondering about.

Energy Storage (batteries):

All batteries are a form of storing energy and the primary focus of late has been on enhancing “energy density”. FLA (Flooded lead acid), AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) and Gel cell batteries are the most commonly used batteries for storing energy generated by alternative energies and represent the best investment today. A major focus of the renewable energy industry now is energy storage; here are a few of the leading contenders for alternative energy storage devices.

LiOn (Lithium Ion) batteries are becoming more main stream with the advent of Electric Vehicles. Though progress has been made in creating a safer (less prone to melt down) battery, there remains room for improvement. These have proven very reliable and are an effective means of storing energy for use in our phone and tablet devices, but their charging perimeters for power systems are very specific and there are still bugs to be worked out for integration into RE power systems.

Li-air (Lithium Air) much of the current research is focused on four different chemical designs. The aprotic design is see the most focus at present. The other three design technologies; aqueous, mixed aqueous/aprotic and solid state all face distinct advantages and significant technical challenges.

There has been a lot of money invested in coming up with an innovative energy storage device and we suspect there will be more in the near future. Our “Crystal Ball” gazing reveals that the next evolution will come from tinkerers working from a garage somewhere. They typically will have as a goal some personal desire to improve an aspect of their own lives and a new application of existing technology will likely create the next major boost in development.

KAir (Potassium Air) in Oct 2014 Ohio State University announced the introduction of a potassium air battery that achieves 98% energy efficiency. We’ll have to wait and see if this product comes to market.

NiFe (Nickel-iron) nickel-iron batteries are also known as “Edison Battery” and have an extended life extending well beyond the rated 20 year life. The slow charge rate coupled with slow discharge rate make them an undesirable solution for all but a limited number of applications for renewable energies.





Unlike AC fans, these well-made Solaro Aire™ units won’t use a penny of your electricity. During summer months, your attic can get up to 160°F, making your home miserably hot. Solaro Aire™ fans extract the heat from your attic, keeping temperatures and air conditioning bills down. These fans run ‘array direct’; when the sun shines, they are running, and during the hottest part of the day is when they are moving the most air. These are a terrific replacement for noisy turbine-type vents.

SA-20WT-LPEThe SA-20WT-LPE, left, has a 20W solar module and moves up to 950 CFM., with an polymer fan blade and brushless motor; its cost before shipping is $820. The model, right, SA-20WB-LPE is a low profile style fan, great for composite and shingle roofs ($743 before shipping). At lower left is the SA-20WR-LPE, which offers a model where the solar module can be mounted remotely (if the sun access in the desired fan location is in the shade). This model is $799 before shipping; you can also get a larger solar module if needed, in case you have shading issues where the fan is placed. Higher profile fans are available where additional     clearances (SA-20WT-LPE, above)  are needed; gable mounted fans for ventilation are also available. Factory
installed thermostats are available ($59), so the fans will only operate when the temperature  is above  (SA-20WB-LPE, above) 85°F. These fans can also be used in winter months to remove mold and mildew-causing moisture.

We can send you installation links for these fans, something your contractor or handyperson can do. And these also qualify for the 30% solar tax credit through 2020 (cost of the fan plus installation). These come with a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer; and built with aircraft aluminum specs, they are meant to last a lifetime, with weather resistant powder coated housing providing a durable finish. If you are interested in these fine fans, send us an e-mail today and we will send additional information. info@oasismontana.com


   (SA-20WR-LPE, above)




You can become an energy detective with your Killawatt™ Meter!

If you are trying to keep a lid on your electric bill, it’s most helpful to determine what your electrical loads are on certain devices. Is your refrigerator really an energy hog? How much more juice does your PC use than your laptop? This device is a simple way to determine your electrical usage. You plug it into a wall socket (or perhaps onto an extension cord, to make it easier to read) and plug your appliance or device into it. It will give you instantaneous readings on voltage, watts, amps, and frequency (hertz) numbers. It also gives you cumulative data—so you can see how much power your ‘fridge pulls in a week. If you plug your refrigerator into it, it should cycle and give a higher figure from time to time—that means your compressor is running then. These are still a great deal at $25 plus shipping!




States That Produce Renewable Energy Have Cheaper Electricity: http://www.onearth.org/earthwire/renewable-energy-prices A study released by the venture capitalist firm DBL Investors shows that states boasting robust green energy programs have the nation’s cheapest electricity. The trend lines suggest it’s only going to get better for their consumers. In 2001, electricity cost more in the 10 top renewable energy states than it did in the 10 states with the lowest proportion of green energy production. By 2013, the situation had turned upside down: States with the most green energy now offer cheap electricity, while the dirty power states are the most expensive. The 10 states with cheap green energy are Maine, Iowa, South Dakota, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma, plus Washington, DC. The 10 laggard states in the DBL study were Florida, Connecticut, Delaware, South Carolina, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Cow poop makes more than a mess in the NE: http://www.greenmountainpower.com/innovative/cow/how-it-works/ Good bio-digester info.

New Tesla Battery Will Power a Home and Maybe the Electric Grid Too: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/02/12/this-new-tesla-battery-will-power-your-home-and-maybe-the-electric-grid-too. Tesla is working on a battery that can power a home and even help large-scale utilities store energy more efficiently, according to company chief executive Elon Musk. If Tesla's stationary battery takes off, it could change the way electricity is priced and traded on a market scale. Musk said the designs for a home or business battery are already complete and will likely be unveiled to the public "in the next month or two." Production could be as little as six months away, he added. "We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary (battery) pack," Musk said. "Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the wall, wall-mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play." There's no word yet on price.

Solar PV Will Be Cheapest Form of Power Within a Decade: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/25/solar-pv-will-cheapest-form-power-within-decade/? A major new study from a leading German think tank and renewable energy specialist says the cost reduction potential of large scale solar is still misunderstood, and predicts that solar PV will be the cheapest form of power within a decade, and cost less than $0.02/kWh by 2050. The study by the Berlin-based Agora Energiewende says that the end to cost reductions from solar plants is “not in sight”, even after falling more than 70 per cent in recent years. The balance of systems costs are expected to fall by up to 2/3 in coming decades, and combined with a fall in the cost of finance, could cut the cost of solar technology in areas such as the U.S., Australia, and parts of Europe.

Clean Coal and our future: http://exp.grist.org/clean-coal Take a few moments and check out this informative article about one of our least clean fossil fuels, its cost, consequences, corporate interests and benefits.

The real future threat: peak water. http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/jul/06/water-supplies-shrinking-threat-to-food With burgeoning population and more water going to extract gas and petroleum, just how much water do we have to lose?

Will solar plunge off the tax credit cliff? http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2015/02/will-solar-plunge-off-the-tax-credit-cliff?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-February25-2015 The solar tax credit will expire at the end of 2016. Will we preserve this job-creator?

States should fuel community solar growth: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2015/03/three-steps-states-can-take-to-fuel-community-solar-growth?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-March17-2015

Making light on remote reservations: http://www.upworthy.com/shes-going-door-to-door-with-light-and-older-navajos-have-never-seen-anything-like-it?c=upw1

A very cool 'small hydro' idea increases efficiency and makes power: http://www.businessenergy.net/DE/Blogs/2191.aspx

There is solar, and there is solar: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2015/01/there-is-solar-and-there-is-solar?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-January28-2015

A day in the life of a wind farm operator: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2015/01/photoessay-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-wind-farm-operator?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-January28-2015

15 ancient house designs you can build for cheap: http://offgridquest.com/973

Turning fecal sludge to black gold: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2015/02/how-the-chinese-are-turning-fecal-sludge-into-black-gold?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-February4-2015


Solar powered water wheel cleans 25 tons of trash a day..... http://billmoyers.com/2014/07/22/solar-powered-water-wheel-can-clean-50000-pounds-of-baltimore%E2%80%99s-trash-per-day/




Quotable quotes:

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” —Chinese proverb

- - - -

"When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm. Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring." — Madeleine M. Kunin

- - - -

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!" ——Sitting Bull

- - - -

“"One of the great dreams of man must be to find some place between the extremes of nature and civilization where it is possible to live without regret." --Barry Lope

- - - -

“What a strange thing! to be alive beneath cherry blossoms.” -- Kobayashi Issa

- - - -

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James

- - - -

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.” ― Natalie Babbett

- - - -

“Wood burns faster when you have to cut and chop it yourself.” —Harrison Ford

- - - -

“Lawyers believe a person is innocent until proven broke.” —Robin Hall

You have received this newsletter as you have indicated a previous interest in renewable energy and/or efficient appliances. If you have received this in error, we apologize; ours is a small, hand-maintained list. To be removed simply hit 'reply' with REMOVE in the subject line.



Thank you for your interest in Oasis Montana.  For more information go to http://www.oasismontana.com/, send us an email at info@oasismontana.com, or call us at 406-777-4321or 4309.  And feel free to share this newsletter with your friends; knowledge is POWER!


Solar Array Flag
Independent power is as American as apple pie!

There’s never been a better time to go solar!

This is the last year for the 30% federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for a solar power system. Then it will drop 4% and be at 26% for 2020; this includes installations on both residential and business properties – and may even include your RV, if you can call that a second home. The federal tax credit for all installations will end by the end of 2022.mounted solar array

You can also find out what state incentives are available for you at www.dsireusa.org. In some states, their incentives, combined with the ITC, can negate up to 80% of the system’s total cost. And all costs are deserving of the credit with the ITC, including permitting, installation and shipping (and perhaps even a new roof if it is needed).

If you use some tax software, it should ask you if you’ve installed a solar power system in the past year, but if not, and you do your own taxes, be sure to fill out IRS form 5695 – and keep all of your receipts related to your system purchase. IF you need a link to that residential tax form, here it is: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf

Reducing or negating your utility bills, and gaining energy independence (an American value!) through solar power has never been a better deal!

The Importance of WATER...

You can live without a lot of things in the world, but water isn’t one of them; clean potable water is running low or just becoming unavailable in many parts of the world, including the U.S. We’ve been engaged in solar water pumping for two decades, and there’s been many changing technologies to address water needs for residential use, and commercial endeavors such as irrigation, livestock, fish farms and wildlife management. One of the latest is to run a 240VAC pump array direct – that is, it will run when the sun is shining, and requires a solar array but no batteries. These will run a variety of pumps, 120/240V, three-phase, and change a 1 or 2 speed motor pump to a soft start. You can view information about this new technology at http://www.pvsolarpumps.com/PDFs/PicoCell Spec Sheet_Oasis Montana.pdf

Now there are even more options; if you have the need for higher amperage and horsepower, the Picocell will now handle up to 3 HP and 12 amps. These solar-powered pumps will allow your home or business to qualify for a variety of tax credits, grants, and incentive programs. If you are looking for something to power your large AC pump, We Have It!  Check out our new Picocell controllers.  Give us a call for more information, 406-777-4321.

And if you’ve been thinking of an off-grid water pumping project, you are likely to enjoy this short video from one of our pump suppliers, Lorentz.

If you are a Montanan: Northwestern Energy is proposing some bad news for its net-metered customers; more information at http://montanarenewables.org/programs/general-electric-rate-case/

And if you really want to help support renewable energy in MT, please consider joining the Montana Renewable Energy Association (http://montanarenewables.org/about-us/join-mrea/). They’ll keep you informed as to legislative issues, promote our annual energy fair and offer an informative web site to help promote the advantages of renewables (www.montanarenewables.org). Please consider joining today! Your membership will make a difference.

Why energy efficiency is SO important.


The cheapest power is that which we do not use.   https://nwenergy.org/ for more information!

Is this proper grounding?
Power line down at river crossing

Power line down at river crossing, often local power production is more dependable

Sometimes utility power is at the mercy of the elements,
as shown by these downed power lines in a flooding Montana river.

We caught these picture canoeing the Bitterroot River last June.


Is small wind right for you? Here’s your opportunity to find out!
For a limited time only, we are offering the Chinook wind turbine for half-price, at $495 plus shipping. You won’t find a better deal for a quality, American-made wind generator! With a top end of 250W output, this can be a valuable addition to your battery charging set-up if you regularly have winds of 10-12 mph or greater. These mount on 1.5” schedule 40 steel pipe and come with their own dump load controller. They are available as a 12, 24 or 48V charging unit, and were originally designed and built in Montana (so you know they are tough).

We’ve had one of these here at Oasis Montana for about five years now, and it still works great. Every spring and summer, we have winds in excess of 80 mph but it keeps quietly making power for our 48V battery bank. These are also suitable for marine use, to help keep your navigation equipment charged and working (as the wind on the water generally seems to be blowing most of the time). We have installation manuals and other information we can send you on these; call if you are interested, 406-777-4309, e-mail us at Oasis or visit our web page at http://www.air403windgenerators.com/chinook-wind-generator.html.


System Spotlight

We assisted Bryan & Shannon Tarter of southeastern Montana in their system upgrade, adding more solar modules
and going from a 12V system to replacing with a new 48V inverter for their remote home. Nice going!


If you have a space-challenged kitchen (or a small cabin needing a fridge), we have an efficient, beautiful AC refrigerator option for you.
MODEL FF923PL (uses only 865 watt-hours per day, or .865KWH).

.attractive ff923 refrigerator with door open


Attractive FF923pl Stainless refrigerator


Height of Cabinet

66.63" (169 cm)

Height to Hinge Cap

67.13" (171 cm)


21.25" (54 cm)

Width with Door Open

22.0" (56 cm)


23.25" (59 cm)

Depth with door at 90°

43.0" (109 cm)


8.9 cu.ft. (252 L)

Defrost Type



Stainless Steel



US Electrical Safety


Canadian Electrical Safety


Energy Usage/Year





115 V AC/60 Hz


110.0 lbs. (50 kg)

Shipping Weight

115.0 lbs. (52 kg)

Parts & Labor Warranty

1 Year

Compressor Warranty

5 Years

Price (before shipping)


We have other efficient refrigeration options available; visit www.eco-fridge.com for AC & DC offerings, and www.LPappliances.com, for refrigerators, freezers and gas ranges that operate off of NG or LP gas with NO electrical requirements.

Solar electric power from the sunInverters, solar modules, tariffs & trade deals

The import tariffs put on many incoming products hasn’t terribly hurt the renewable energy sector. True, employment in the solar power field has dropped a couple of percentage points in the past 18 months, and some utility-size projects were put on hold, but in general renewable energy jobs are still a very a bright spot in the U.S. economy. Renewable technologies are a global industry; many solar modules considered ‘made in the USA’ still have cells made in other countries; likewise inverters and inverter parts are often made abroad. If you are looking to buy American, Mission Solar, Panasonic and SolarWorld are cranking out high-quality modules in our fair country, and we also have access to Longi, Seraphim, Canadian Solar, Trina, Jinko, LG, Silfab, CSun, Yingli and more. We can also get ahold of some of the smaller, 12V nominal modules that are sometimes difficult to find. Let us know what you need for your power project, and we shall find what you seek!



Batteries for back-up power: what are your critical loads?

6v batteries wired in series for 48 voltsThe least costly way to get into solar power (if you are hooked up to a utility) is to have a batteryless, grid-tied power system; when the sun shines, the solar modules on your roof or mounting rack make power that goes into an inverter, which converts the electricity into grid-palatable AC power and makes your meter spin slower – or makes your meter spin backwards, if you are making more power than you use. It’s a simple and direct method of reducing or negating your utility bill. However, without batteries, if the power goes out, these systems shut down (to keep the power lines from being live to protect any line workers). It can be frustrating to have a solar power system but not be able to use it if the power goes down!

There are now ways to add battery back-up to these kinds of power systems. The number of batteries needed will depend on the loads you want to power. It may be very costly to, say, power your entire home or business but if you have any important loads (like a refrigerator, or keeping necessary computers on line) – that’s how we design the size of the battery back-up needed. If your power outages are brief and rare, then you won’t need the number of batteries that someone might need if the power tends to go out for days at a time! Like any other system design, the electrical load information is most important.

We have a lot of basic battery information at www.oasismontana.com/batteries.html; most of the information is about FLA (flooded lead-acid) batteries, but we offer a lot of other options for battery back-up. Call us if you are interested in back-up power in the event of a utility outage!


Renewable Energy News Bites


Anyone who knows me, knows I am a chicken fancier and raise batches of chickens from time to time. Some of my friends even refer to me as the ‘chicken whisperer’.

Organic Chickens at Oasis Montana

 I’ve been keeping chickens for nearly forty years, and was raised around them as a kid, and I’ve learned some tricks about helping them to survive winter in good health. One of them is to keep clean water in front of them at all times. I have one of those heated dog waterers; it holds about a gallon; I put fresh water out every morning then top it off later in the day, and that provides enough water for my 14 chickens. The waterer itself uses about 40 watts, and when it gets above freezing it shuts off as it is thermostatically controlled. So it is not a large electrical load on my solar power system (still, that’s almost a kilowatt-hour a day when it’s cold). There are companies that sell heated chicken waterers, but they tend to use substantially more power.

I have a small chicken house that is only 6 x 8 on the floor area, but with the nests and built-in roosts, it’s pretty easy to keep clean, and its smaller size enables the chickens to stay warmer in winter than they would in a larger shed. I use a good grass hay for bedding, and rake it out when it getsOrganic eggs grown at Oasis Montana Inc. soiled (and have enough from ‘the girls’ to side dress all of my fruit trees with the manure and hay at least once a year). I have to clean their house more in winter, as the days are shorter and they spend more time indoors. But I do have a 10W LED light and timer that comes on in the chicken house about 3 a.m. – and that increases the photoperiod enough that my hens lay very well through the darkest time of the year. I used to think that hens needed some ‘time off’ in the winter – but I no longer believe that is true; when a hen chick is hatched, she contains all the embryonic eggs she will ever lay, so it’s up to us to provide the nutrition and environment to maximize their egg-laying capabilities.

There are breeds that are certainly more suitable for colder climates (and I won’t go into that in great detail, as there’s lots of information about that available), but the breeds I favor are for hardiness and egg-laying ability. The Plymouth Rocks and Ameraucanas are high on my list (and I love the colored eggs), although I presently have some crossbreeds that are prolific layers of large eggs. I feed my chickens organic grains; it’s considerably more costly but – when you consider what goes into chicken feed (mostly corn and soy) – I’d rather not have any transgenic pesticides in their feed. I eat (and sell) their eggs and sometimes I eat my chickens too, so I want all to be of the highest quality and free of chemicals.

We have designed systems for barns and sheds to provide lighting; like all systems it all depends on how much power you need and the loads you desire to run. We don’t get a lot of sun in the winter, here on the western side of the continental divide, and I don’t have a separate system just for the chicken house; we run an electrical line out there from my inverter system that powers my home/office. And the results are gorgeous, tasty eggs and healthy chickens.

Quotable quotes

"One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.”
-Charles M. Blow

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer if they’re happy.” 
–Anton Chekhov

 “Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” 
–Sinclair Lewis

 “Optimize the way we use the world’s resources.  Do more with less.  Don’t wait for the politicians.  See what needs to be done and do it.” 
–R. Buckminster Fuller                                              

 “Ah, the Summer Solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvas of awareness.  At the Winter Solstice, the wind is cold, the trees are bare, and all lies in stillness beneath the blanket of snow.” 
–Gary Zukav

“Humans have complicated every simple gift of the gods.” 

“Bad days happen to everyone, but when one happens to you, just keep doing your best and never let a bad day make you feel bad about yourself.”
-Big Bird

“People of North America, may the example of all those nations that have preceded you, and especially that of your motherland, instruct you. Beware of the affluence of gold that brings with it the corruption of morals and the scorn of laws; beware of an unbalanced distribution of wealth that will give rise to a small number of opulent citizens and a horde of citizens in poverty, a situation that will engender the insolence of some and the deprivation of others.” 

“I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.”
- George Washington



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