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Microhydro

 
                                        
Posts: 4
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we are looking at putting in a battery-less microhydro system and wondering if anyone out there can give us some advice.  What we want to do is put in net-metered solar panels first, then quietly piggyback the hydro onto the solar into the net meter without having to go through all the various government hoops/applications/permits for hydro, thus saving THOUSANDS of dollars.    We already have the water right, so that is not an issue.   Has anyone done this?   
 
Posts: 21
Location: Citra Florida
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Just match the hydro to a microinverter and it'll be plug and play.
It is wind that is more difficult because of the voltage spikes gusts can cause, water is pretty constant.
 
Posts: 76
Location: Missoula,MT
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I would recomend using an SMA windyboy inverter, this allows you to really dial in the outputs of hydro.  It will also help in controlling the increased outputs as water flow changes from storm runoff and seasonal shifts.
http://www.sma-america.com/en_US/products/wind-power-inverters/windy-boy-3000-us.html

Grid tied Hydro is awesome because it works 24/7, unlike the solar and wind, however it can be a little tricky.  Do you already have the turbine?  If so knowing the turbines output specs will help.

Where are you located?

I have discussed hydro with Paul on a few occasions, and he sent me an email about this thread.  I work for an alternative energy company in Montana, and I would be happy to answer any of the tech questions you have.  If I dont have the answers, I work with guys that will.  The system I reccomend is excitely what we have done to fine tune a hydro system that has been working for almost thirty years.  The wind based inverter allows a lot more fine tuning and effeciency.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 8279
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Caleb, or anyone else reading this, I'd be interested in what might be done with my unique situation. I have an amazing Hydro resource available seasonally with the flow output measured at 15 garbage cans per second as a rough estimate. It falls about 120 feet with a horizontal run of maybe 100 feet. I'm not in a spot where it's practical to hook up to the grid so instead I'm looking for ways to use all this power on site.

  I've considered greenhouses since the dullest part of the year coincides with my greatest waterflow. The flow dries up completely in the summer when we get little rain. I don't really want to get into metal smelting but would  consider building a big pottery kiln and charging a fee to fire for others.

    Do you have any other ideas as to how a person could profitably consume all of this electricity in the winter and then scale things down as the run off water disappears by May or June.
 
                                        
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thanks for the comments all, and I will let you know what we end up doing.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1784
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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The idea of going battery-less again...

Have you been doing something yet?

And Dale too, what's about the green house project?

Caleb, do you have advices about the type and size of a turbine?
 
Posts: 48
Location: Oregon - Willamette Valley
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Just a word of warning... (I do not work for a utility, but I do know a fair amount about utilities and net-metering agreements)

While I completely understand your desire to "quietly piggyback the hydro onto the solar into the net meter without having to go through all the various government hoops/applications/permits for hydro, thus saving THOUSANDS of dollars". Before you decide to try that approach, take a very close look at the language of the net metering agreement you've signed with the utility. I suspect you will find the potential consequences of trying to do something "quietly" will far outweigh the additional permit costs. Also consider this, in almost all cases if the utility decides there is criminal intent with regard to the power grid (i.e. defrauding, stealing, etc) it will become a felony.

With that in mind, you might consider a slightly different approach. Why not create yourself a seperate distribution system powered directly from the micro-hydro, not tied to the utility. Use it to power your non-critical loads. This gets you the same net effect, without the concern of "the dept of making you sad" coming down on you.
 
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