Oasis Montana designs and sells residential solar electric power systems

Oasis Montana Inc.
Renewable Energy Supply and Design
Call us!  406-777-4321
Fax: 406-777-4309
M-F  8:00am-5:00pm MDT
Contact us: info@oasismontana.com
Home Page: www.oasismontana.com

Installation of our home/office PV system
(double click on pics to enlarge)

Solar electric power system runs powers our home office using Kyocera PV solar modules, wind generators by Southwest wind power snd NPP Sprite, L16 deep cycle batteries, Xantrax Trace Inverters, LP appliances, and efficient refrigerators

We installed the modules in a weekend, in January of 2000.  Two people did it--but it would've been nice to have had more muscle to help!  We hung it off the soffit on the south facing side of the office.

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The battery box was constructed out of 5/8ths and 3/4 inch plywood; the bottom was constructed out of 2 x 6s on 12 inch centers, insulated and mounted on casters.  From October to March we add fiberglass insulation on the sides and top of the batteries.  This box holds 16 of the Surrette 6V, 438ah batteries (weighing 120 lbs each).  It's passively vented through a 1.5" PVC pipe from the top of the battery enclosure, topped by an 18 ft. stack painted black to encourage venting.

Making cables:  this "brute hammer tool" is mighty handy!  I made all our own battery interconnects and inverter cables with this device; heat shrink was added to all terminal connections.

The batteries in the box:  I made the end of the box removable for placing the batteries into the box and any maintenance requirements; the box was lined with plastic and sprinkled liberally with baking soda as a safety precaution.  This installation, by the way, is in an unheated garage/shop.

I made cutouts of the various components so I could figure how they'd fit on the backboard that I planned to mount them on (a 3/4" chunk of plywood).  Here's me praying to the renewable energy gods.

Everything seems to be fitting okay....


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The last summer rainbow at the Oasis.  Must be getting time to put up the Air 403 wind generator!

The beginning of the wind genny project was to have a 6 ft. hole excavated; here's me pitching some rocks from the bottom of the hole, in preparation of erecting the timber (to which the schedule 40 pipe that holds the Air 403 gets attached to).  This was a warm October day (husband Ace said I had to put at least one "hot babe" pix in with all this dull installation stuff)....

The timber and the excavated hole:  time to get some help  to set this thing in place.....

It's good to have good neighbors!  This log was HEAVY.  Thanks to Doyle Bailey for his great help.

Looks good, and is quite straight; the evening we put this up, we had a freak storm--with wind gusts as high as 80 mph!  But the timber didn't move an inch (even though it was only 2/3rds backfilled).  A good test for future conditions!  We watered the pole in for a few days, and tamped it around the base as best we could.  We'll leave the rope to the tree in place until next year, so the base of the tower can "settle in".

The wire runs for the wind generator were #4 gauge wire--and it took some looking around to find this (locally, only aluminum wire was available in larger wire sizes--and copper has much greater conductivity than aluminum).  Finally it arrived, and we were able to mount the wind genny on our "tilt-up" tower design.  Note the wires hanging out of the pipe.

We pulled the rope and watched the wind generator go 'way up!  Well, this is only a 30 ft. tower, but it seems very tall.  A one hundred foot tower must be just awesome.....

Here's Ace Johnson, spouse and hands-on helper par excellence, attaching the fittings that hold the schedule 40 pipe (and the wind genny) in place. We looked at some regular conduit fittings, but they weren't heavy duty enough--so a welder friend of ours (Tony King) came up with heavy duty fittings that worked beautifully. 

Whew, quite a day's work.  LOOKS GOOD.

The electrical enclosure at the base of the schedule 40 pipe holds a silicone oxide varistor (surge protector); there's a buried ground rod at the base of the tower, too.  You can see the trenches for the wire runs here.  From here on out, the installation of the wind generator was done in October/November 2000, when the ground was very frozen.

We originally  had a  Trace DR1524 inverter, but decided to upgrade that to a Trace PS2524 sinewave inverter and make this a net metering system;  here we are with the new inverter, wiring the AC output side to its separate sub-panel.

Almost done with this upgrade.....

Here's a view of Oasis Montana in winter; everything works great, and passed electrical inspection (Nov., 2000) with flying colors.  I just wish we had more wind and sun.

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