combining hydro and solar

I have a small hydro system with a morning star TS-45 charge controller. I would like to add solar panels to my system. How do I combine the two power sources ??

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  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar
    elksprings wrote: »
    I have a small hydro system with a morning star TS-45 charge controller. I would like to add solar panels to my system. How do I combine the two power sources ??

    Welcome to the forum.

    You'll need a separate charge controller for the panels. The batteries won't care how many charge sources they have, but you can't feed one controller from two sources.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar

    What is the no load voltage of your hydro? Just wondering, mine is almost 60 volts no load and I run it through a MPPT controller with great success. The MPPT unit usually loads down the cross-flow turbine to about 30 volts, then down-converts the voltage to 12, and ups the amps. The higher voltage is great at reducing line loss from the turbine to the battery shed. It also finds and locks on, at the max power output RPM.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar

    Don't mean to get off topic.... But how does the function of a MPPT in a hydro setup work.. Do you still need a diversion load?
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar
    Don't mean to get off topic.... But how does the function of a MPPT in a hydro setup work.. Do you still need a diversion load?

    With my tiny settup, Max 60 volts open circuit/no load and an average 165 watts, no I don't need a diversion load, the controller handles it exactly as it would solar. Most micro hydro systems, if the load is removed, will experience such RPM runaway that they not only produce voltages beyond the handling capacity of the controller, but could cause mechanical damage to the turbine/generator itself, thus must be kept under constant load. Such is not the case with my cross-flo turbine, so it's no problem using the MPPT, and in fact the MPPT does it's normal sweeps causing the turbine to sweep through a range of PPM, then locks onto the speed that results in the highest output. In effect, electronically matching the turbine/alternator for the highest wattage output. I'll take this a bit further, into what could be uncharted territory - - - that may surprise some people. Initially, I never expected to ever surpass perhaps 75 watts at most from hydro, so the Morningstar Sunsaver MPPT appeared the perfect choice, and it worked perfectly beside the MX-60 controlling the solar. But in time, with tweaking and improvements in the pipeline etc, the output, when the water level was high, after heavy rains, increased head and thus output to sometimes in excess of 200 watts, the max of the Sunsaver, causing it to go into what could be a sort of safety mode. For whatever reason, overpowering, or some other defect, the Sunsaver finally croaked, so now I'm waiting for the TS MPPT-60 to arrive. In the meantime, I've just jumpered a wire from the hydro to parallel the solar input to the MX-60 and believe it or not, the match between my hydro and solar is close enough that the MX functions normally, not knowing the difference between the hydro settup I have, and the solar input. In daylight it does it's normal sweeps and functions as if only the solar existed, and at night it sweeps the hydro and continues to operate normally, just doesn't go to sleep for the night.
    In the early days of my hydro, when it's output, including no load voltage were much lower, the MX-60 would get all confused in the daylight, not reliably able to lock to the MPP of PV, thus the second controller. But now, with the higher hydro voltage more closely matching that of the solar input, the MX has no problem at all. Amazing. But yes, when the new controller arrives, the hydro and solar will each have their own controller again. Good to have backup, + I do worry about lightening storms and that long run of wire to the hydro. If I'm around, or wake up when there's lightening, I pull switches and hope for the best. :p
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar

    I noticed on my TS 60 MPPT that you can program it as a wind controller, and can then enter a handful of static MPPT set points instead of using the dynamic sweep of the solar MPPT function. This may be better suited to hydro use too.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar
    stephendv wrote: »
    I noticed on my TS 60 MPPT that you can program it as a wind controller, and can then enter a handful of static MPPT set points instead of using the dynamic sweep of the solar MPPT function. This may be better suited to hydro use too.

    AWESOME! Thank you for that info! Once the best MPP is found, there is indeed no need to continue repeated sweeps with my hydro system. I appreciate your post.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar

    So what happens when your batteries are full/ float occurs... does the turbine just stop? I thought that was the reason for the diversion load was because they couldnt just quit spinning? (hard on the unit)
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,369 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar

    I plan to use a 4" electric butterfly valve, that closes slow enough to not get a water hammer. This will also preserve my water pond when the sun is useful.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar
    So what happens when your batteries are full/ float occurs... does the turbine just stop? I thought that was the reason for the diversion load was because they couldnt just quit spinning? (hard on the unit)

    When the batteries are full/float, the load comes off the turbine and it freewheels at a higher RPM. Most Hydro settups would over-rev and possibly self destruct if allowed to freewheel with no load, but due to a number of things, including that I only have about 15 feet of head to work with, mine does not, will not over-rev. Under MPP load, my turbine revs about 400 RPM, while freewheeling with no load, it runs about 800 RPM, so in my case it's no problem controlling it as if it were solar. The brushless PM alternator is belt driven off the turbine and turns at twice the speed of the turbine. So under no load, 1600 RPM on the alternator is no problem at all. A very simple and reliable system. Yes, I know I'm lucky and I appreciate it every day.
    With most hydro systems, because they will over-rev if not kept under constant load, a diversion load is required to keep it under control when the batteries are full.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar
    mike90045 wrote: »
    I plan to use a 4" electric butterfly valve, that closes slow enough to not get a water hammer. This will also preserve my water pond when the sun is useful.

    I like that idea. I have to take a small hike to manually close the gate which also allows the pipeline to completely drain so it won't freeze if I shut it off for any reason in Winter. Last two winters there was enough water in the lake to let it run 24/7 till Spring. Summer is dryer, so shut it down during daylight to conserve water.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar

    Update on my hydro that some may find of interest. Just replaced my defective Sunsaver MPPT which had been regularly pushed to and beyone it's limits, with the TriStar MPPT-60 that handles my micro hydro, and am very pleased with it, at least so far. Output from the turbine remains as before, at 176/177 watts. The after all losses wattage however has gone up from 165 with the Sunsaver, to over 171 watts with the TS-MPPT-60. So obviously it's better matched, or just higher efficiency. Something else I've noticed, while the MX-60 usually takes about 30 seconds to complete a sweep, the Sunsaver had trimmed that time to about one second, but get this - - the TS-MPPT does it far faster still. So fast it's hard to judge, but possibly somewhere between 1/6 and 1/4 of a second. Man that thing doesn't fool around! I know there are controllers out there with continuous search, but I have no problem at all with a search completed in the blink of an eye! Things have come a long way indeed.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar

    Thanks, I see how your setup now works and the reason behind what your doing! :D
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: combining hydro and solar
    Thanks, I see how your setup now works and the reason behind what your doing! :D

    Awesome! Thanks for your comment. :D
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