In this renewable energy newsletter issue:
The CHINOOK Wind Turbine is back in production.
The 200W CHINOOK wind turbine is back in production and will be
available by April; it's rated at ~200W and is available for 12V,
24V and now also for 48V battery charging systems. Made in
Arlington, WA, and built tough as nails, this may be an ideal
addition to your power system if you regularly have average wind
speeds of 10 mph or greater. MSRP is $1063 but we are offering these
at an introductory cost of $849 plus shipping. This wind genny
mounts on a 1.5" Schedule 40 steel pipe, and has a three year
Rated wind velocity
Cut-in wind speed
|1 meter (39")
12.5 m/s (28 mph)
6.5kg (14 lbs)
12, 24 or 48V
(not field selectable)
1.5" Sch. 40 (48.3mm)
3 years (limited)
> Only two moving parts and sealed for life bearings
> Suitable for domestic or marine applications
> Quiet operation
> Excellent performance at low wind speeds Innovative
> blades Ideal for supplementing a PV system Lightweight but
> Microcontroller based control system Designed in windy
> in the USA "Plug & Play charge" controller with built-in
Like all wind turbines, it should be mounted at least 30 ft.
taller than anything else within 500 ft. If winds are good on the
surface, they're even better aloft. Don't be sticking it on a 10 ft.
pole above your garage! There's too much turbulance close to the
means "new year's goodness to you". It's the Chinese year of the
rooster, and here's a picture of one of my roosters, Frick the
fricken chicken; a handsome fellow!
And happy new year's to you.
The Oasis Montana solar power system history - by owner Chris Daum
We get a lot of inquiries for backup power when the utility
fails. Many people live where winter or wind storms are prevalent
that can knock out power, or simply where they feel their utility
power is unreliable. Like other power systems we design, we need to
know what loads you want to power, and for how long, for our design
parameters. Here at Oasis Montana, we've had winter storms and
spring winds that have knocked out our power from time to time, so
our first PV system was enough to back up a couple of important
Some folks want only the basic in terms of a long-term power
outage...like lights and a refrigerator. Oasis Montana's first
photovoltaic system, installed in the year 2000, ran our efficient
refrigerator, a couple of compact fluorescent lights, computer and
printer/fax; the rest of the home/office ran on utility power. The
main components were ~500W of solar modules, charge controller,
2500W 24V inverter (an old Trace Power Series model), ~1000aH of
batteries (a substantial battery bank!), plus the fusing,
disconnects, mount structure (we hung the solar modules off a south
facing soffit), 200W wind turbine, and the balance of system goods
-- surge protectors, battery interconnects, grounding parts, AC
sub-panel, etcetera. The entire system cost, back then, was around
$11,500, before installation and shipping costs (we installed this
ourselves). Sometimes in the winter, in low light conditions, we
would need to charge the batteries from the utility power (or, if we
were off-grid, we would've had to run a generator -- we're on the
western side of the continental divide, and we don't get a lot of
sunny days in the winter). Our batteries would provide power for
about 4-5 days of back-up on our fridge and office equipment loads.
The back-up power was only used a couple of times, but it was nice
to be able to count on refrigeration, lights and 'business as usual'
regardless of if utility power was working or not. This original
Oasis system made approximately 2.2KW or ~2200+ watt-hours a day in
here's our first solar array, installed in 2000, before we built the
Our original cabin was about 600 sq.ft. We didn't have an indoor
toilet for 23 years!
Our first PV system worked flawlessly, with no particular care
except for battery maintenance and hosing off the solar modules, for
10+ years. I imagine it reduced our utility bill also, since those
loads were always powered by the sun. But we wanted to be able to
power our 240VAC water pump in the event of a power outage; since it
was 1.5 HP, we needed a much bigger inverter to handle the starting
surge. In 2004 we built a three-story office addition. I started
hiring employees and I figured the place needed an upgrade
(including indoor plumbing). And the roof was a very nice angle for
solar power...when the time came. As it was, we wired an outlet in
every room that would run off of our existing small PV system, so we
had power as needed.
Just look at all that bare roof space on the office addition.
So back in 2011, we started saving our dollars and planned a major
As a side note, oftimes in this industry we caution folks not to
purchase every new component as soon as it's available; the latest
controller, inverter, water pump, wind generator, etcetera, may
sound very alluring, but it can be a very good idea to let someone
else BETA test it the first year and work out any bugs, rather than
deal with that possibility yourself. But I do not always follow my
own advice. For the new system upgrade, we purchased an Outback
Power 8KW Radian inverter and two Midnite Solar Classic charge
controllers, and both had only been in production for a short period
of time. The rest of the components included twenty-eight Sanyo 205W
solar modules, sixteen Surrette/Rolls 530AH 6V batteries, combiner
enclosures, roof mounts, system monitors, and the rest of the goods.
Back in 2011 this equipment cost in the realm of $37,500 (this was
before the price of the solar modules dropped by ~50% or so). If I
had waited two years, I would've saved nearly $10K on the solar
modules! At any rate, the system was installed in 2012 and it pretty
much negates my power bill 10 to 11 months out of the year. And if
the power goes out, I still have a working water pump, along with
the rest of my household loads. And that new Outback Power Inverter
and new Classic controllers? They worked out just fine and are still
Last year, my well went dry and I had to drill another 100 ft.
deeper (now 289 feet deep), so I needed a new pump for the new well.
It's a Goulds 3 HP 240VAC variable speed ('soft start') pump and it
runs fine off of this inverter - and can give me up to 30
gallons-per-minute as needed for my drip irrigation system, garden
and household use. While we do sell DC pumps that run directly off
of a solar array, we can also power AC models like mine
(particularly if it's used mostly in summer, when we have long sunny
days). Visit www.PVsolarpumps.com for more information.
The new Oasis power system manufactures in the realm of ~20 to
25+KWH per day in summer -- enough to negate my running the big
water pump, meet my other household loads, and still feed power back
to our local utility. When I'm not running my water pump (I irrigate
a lot in summer, maybe 2 - 3 days a week), my daily usage is pretty
minimal, perhaps 4 to 6 KWH per day, max (the average American
household uses ~30 to ~35KWH per day). We heat with wood and cook
with gas, and have a switch on our electric water heater to keep it
off most of the time. A big system's equipment like this, today,
would likely cost in the realm of $26,500 (less actually, due to the
30% federal tax credit and whatever state incentives there may be).
Things have gotten more cost-effective and the return-on-investment
times have decreased!
My initial big system cost probably wouldn't get me 'payback' for
something like 17 - 20 years; but now with the cost decrease on the
solar modules (and the tax credits), it's a whole new ballgame; and,
utility rates keep rising, decreasing the payback time. Lastly, the
power never goes out at our place! It's difficult to put a dollar
value on that...it's sort of like having your own generating
Here's an article from a battery manufacturer about various points
of view related to having back-up power:
The least costly way to have a solar power system for your home or
business is still a straight grid-tie without batteries, but if you
want back-up power, you will either need batteries or a generator.
What's the big upside to renewable energy in the United States?
Renewable Energy News Bites
The sheer economics will keep wind and solar power moving ahead:
Automakers Ask Trump to Roll Back Fuel Efficiency Rules:
renewables have surpassed coal in electrical generation:
Stanford studies indicate that high C02 levels makes plants suffer:
Check out the video and pictures of the Crescent Dunes molten salt
Solar power saves villagers from snake bite deaths:
Why isn't there more tidal power?
Unmanned Mayflower solar trimaran (research vessel) aims to cross
Wind Across Rural and Rust Belt America Powers Big Brands:
Too bad, coal. Solar is where the jobs are!
The Johnny Cash Tribute Band: Coal train blues (pretty good!)
Asian countries are "out-investing" the U.S. -- but this report
outlines how U.S. can regain the clean energy foothold:
Burning wood for biomass is not such a great idea:
U.S. wind power capacity exceeds hydro for the first time:
A disturbing time lapse video (less than 90 seconds) that big oil
doesn't want you to see:
Here's an extremely cool wind map of the U.S.:
http://hint.fm/wind/ and on this one
http://earth.nullschool.net/ you can use your cursor to spin the
earth and look at its winds. Beautiful!
Printable solar cells might be in the future:
Clearly someone's not minding the store. Imagine having such
a solar array, and not taking care of it to maximize power
production! A clear case of array gone awry!
Battery Back-up for Grid-tied PV
Oasis Montana has sold quote a few straight grid-tie systems --
with no batteries. While they are excellent for reducing your
electrical bill (or making your meter spin the other way if you are
making more power than you are using), if the utility power shuts
down, so does this system. It’s a safety feature that keeps the
lines from being live, to protect any linemen who may be working on
a utility repair.
The good news is that now you can add components to your grid-tied
system to have battery back-up for your essential loads. People ‘in
the know’ in the industry have come up with solutions to keep the
power flowing when the sun is shining. Grid-tied solar photovoltaic
systems need to sense the frequency and voltage from the grid to
work; now, when the power goes out, you can feed that power
generating from the grid-tie inverter into a battery based inverter
and battery bank. Let’s say you have ten 250W solar modules and a
3KW grid-tied inverter (and the rest of the goods for your system).
You can add the following components to get battery backup in the
event of a power outage.
Midnite Solar Power Panel MNEMS4024
This power center includes a 4KW inverter, Magnum Router, AC Bypass,
and Battery Temp Sensor
12 - S550 Surrette 6V Batteries (~850aH storage)
+ Battery Cables and Misc Electrical
Total cost (before freight, battery box, misc. widgets &
This addition to your system will provide enough power for an
efficient refrigerator and freezer, a few LED lights, microwave and
TV/stereo, and up to three days of backup in low sun conditions.
Like figuring the requirements for any backup system, the more
efficient you are the less it will cost, and the more power you need
or more batteries desired, that will increase the costs. Questions?
Give us a call at 406-777-4321 and let us know how we can keep your
lights from going out!
"Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom."
--Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
"As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind -
every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder." --John
"Ours is a world of rapidly increasing sameness. And as we lose more
and more species to extinction, as more and more forms of otherness
pass into the night, it has seemed crucial to me that we extend our
empathy to these other forms. The embodiment of that empathy is our
protection." ---Lydia Millet
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing
for others?'" — MLK
“Wasser ist zum Baden; Bier ist zu Trinken.” (Water is for bathing;
beer is for drinking).”
"Without trust, we cannot face the difficult challenges in our
world." – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and
technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and
technology." -- Carl Sagan
"We are at a crossroads. We can continue on the path we have been
on, in this nation that privileges profit over people and land; or
we can unite as citizens with a common cause -- the health and
wealth of the Earth that sustains us. If we cannot commit to this
kind of fundamental shift in our relationship to people and place,
then democracy becomes another myth perpetuated by those in power
who care only about themselves." ---Terry Tempest Williams, High
"If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive today and all the
impersonators would be dead." -- Johnny Carson
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a
way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." --Nelson
"There ought to be one day -- just one -- when there is open season
on Congressmen." --Will Rogers
"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President;
I'm beginning to believe it." --Clarence Darrow
"The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It
may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food,
territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens
to destroy us all.” -- Physicist Stephen Hawking.
"Indeed, I have often observed that statements which are the exact
opposites of the truth are often more effective than reasoned
arguments which respect the facts." -- Julius Ceasar
Sign in a hardware store: "The bitterness of poor quality and
service remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."
"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet
it in a garden." --Ruth Stout
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