‘Solar Wall’ Warms Up Wentzel Apiaries

‘Solar Wall’ Warms Up Wentzel Apiaries

Other Technologies
Shawn Wentzel is a third-generation beekeeper and owner with his wife Allison of Wentzel Apiaries in Twin Bridges, Montana. In addition to keeping bees and processing honey, they grow 350 acres of sainfoin hay and raise cattle. Bees are attracted to the sainfoin and use it to produce high-quality honey; and after the sainfoin flowers, it’s harvested and fed to the cows. Several years ago Shawn and Allison reached out to Wayne Baker, owner of Baker Light Industries, a renewable energy business in Alder, Montana. At the time they were burning $8,000 worth of propane each year and looking for a way to reduce fuel costs. Wayne suggested a high-efficiency wood boiler. Today, the wood boiler saves the Wentzels $7,000 per year in fuel costs while providing the heat that…
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Solar Complements Ground-Source Heat Pump for Helena Family

Solar Complements Ground-Source Heat Pump for Helena Family

Other Technologies, Rooftop Solar
When Katherine and Shahid Haque-Hausrath bought their home in South-Central Helena, one of their first tasks was to replace the antiquated, unsafe heating system. After considering their options they decided to install a ground-source heat pump. Ground-source heat pumps take advantage of the fact that the earth, just a few feet down, maintains a much more constant temperature year-round than the air. By using the ground as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer, ground-source heat pumps can heat and cool a home quite efficiently. The Haque-Hausraths liked the idea of reducing their heating bills as well as their environmental footprint, and the decision also made sense financially: after tax credits, the ground-source heat pump cost only a little more than a new conventional heating system.…
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Horse-Drawn Wagons Bring Solar to Remote Montana Ranch

Horse-Drawn Wagons Bring Solar to Remote Montana Ranch

Other Technologies, Rooftop Solar
Solar arrived this fall at a remote guest ranch in southwest Montana…and it came by horse-drawn wagon.  The ranch is surrounded by wilderness, and all people and equipment must travel 13 miles by horse and wagon to access it. Motorized vehicles are prohibited by law. The off-grid ranch, which houses up to 30 people at peak season, was until recently powered by a diesel generator running 24 hours a day.  Of course, that meant bringing in thousands of gallons of diesel by horse-drawn wagon, at great expense.  This year, the ranch contracted with Independent Power Systems (IPS) of Bozeman to install a battery bank that will cut generator run time in half, reducing diesel consumption significantly. According to Barton Churchill of IPS, “This was a very unique off grid power system for…
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Solar is Natural Fit for Remote Prairie Reserve

Solar is Natural Fit for Remote Prairie Reserve

Other Technologies, Rooftop Solar
Grouse Camp is a remote, off-grid collection of yurts in northeastern Montana that belongs to the American Prairie Reserve (APR), a nonprofit organization that is working to build the largest wildlife reserve in the lower 48 states.  School groups come to Grouse Camp to learn about the prairie and its wildlife, and volunteers use it as a base to remove fences and build trails on the reserve.  Public campgrounds are nearby. An hour south of Malta, Grouse Camp is far from the nearest power lines.  Before last summer, a gasoline-powered generator provided power to the largest of the six yurts, which includes a kitchen, radio communication system, and gathering space.  The power was essential, but the generator’s noise and the need to buy and haul in gasoline were hassles for…
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Bozeman Couple Saves on Propane with Solar Water Heating

Bozeman Couple Saves on Propane with Solar Water Heating

Other Technologies
Karen and Jan Foust of Bozeman have always had an interest in solar energy. Their water heater runs off propane, and the thought of using free energy from the sun to reduce their propane use always appealed to them. Last year, the Fousts got in touch with Todd Hoitsma, owner of Liquid Solar Systems of Bozeman. After considering their needs, Todd recommended a 35,000 BTU solar hot water collector coupled with a 60 gallon solar storage tank. This system would provide about 10,000 gallons of hot water per year, which would be expected to meet about 70% of the Fousts’ annual hot water needs. The total cost of the system was $5,900, but Todd explained that the state Alternative Energy Tax Credit as well as a federal tax credit would…
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