Hi all! 

A small group of us are hoping to set up a community hydroelectric project in the next few years and are looking for anyone else nearby who is interested! We’re based just west of Dumfries in Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland. There seem to be a lot of complexities to planning a project like this, so any expertise would be welcomed!

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One Response to “Looking for help with a community hydroelectricity scheme”

  1. Nick Rosen

    There are many similar efforts going on near you – do search the landbuddy map in case you can find any there. Check the microhydro group chat, and also post in our forum. Here is a (technical) discussion from another similar project in Scotland.

    I’ve been watching from the wings on various hydro groups over the last decade or so, and am a good deal closer to installing a system now, than I was back at the beginning!
    I’ll outline the system I’m planning, and as ever there are compromises, often based on price. So if suggesting alternatives, such as highly regarded kiwi units, I’ll get there one day, but not today!
    We are an off grid house, in west Stirling, Scotland, using a FLA battery (930amphrs), with all Victron equipment. We have 5kw of solar with plans to install more although hydro is best investment for winter power in wet and cloudy Scotland!
    We have an existing weir, about 230m from house that feeds private water supply. The first 115m of ground from weir towards house, has a 9m drop and this is best location for hydro.
    Hydro water would only be using what comes over the weir walls, and not affect water supply.
    I’m planning a 115m run of 96mm (ID) PE pipe.
    Using flow calcs, I reckon I’ll have about 0.9 bar and 10-11lps at the turbine. This should give me about 400w, although allowing for expected loses etc, I’d be happy with 300w going into batteries.
    My questions initially are around the charge controller and hydro unit.
    Due to costs, I’m looking at an affordable hydro unit from motenergy in The States. There are various units depending on voltage, but probably looking at their 24-48vac unit. Hydro will be 130m to batteries, so would prefer a higher voltage to reduce losses.
    I’ve acquired a cheap Tristar 45, and also have a Victron 250/100 MPPT available ( it currently has an 2.2kw array attached in winter, but is of very little use due to shading, so using this for hydro during winter would make sense, for now).
    I’m trying to understand what dictates the working voltage of the hydro. If it’s a 24-48vac unit, is this designed to connect directly ( via rectifier) to batteries and then the Tristar acts as a diversion load? (I have read Hugh Pigots article and this seems the case). Although, this route does not seem to have any charging stages. So assume, this is where the second Tristar comes in, as I’ve read else where.
    Other option is to use the Victron as the charge controller and have a dump load prior to it, using relays to switch depending on demand. Although, the Victron is considerably more expensive and don’t want to risk its built in smoke escaping!!
    I’ve been watching Kris Harbour on YouTube with a very similar setup, and his attempt to get some magic 52v (ish) via various charge controllers, eventually settling on a midnite classic ( a little expensive for me just yet).
    I’m sure there is a fairly simple solution to all this, so would appreciate people’s suggestions.

    To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/microhydropower/008101d8fde6%2472cb6f70%2458624e50%24%40gmail.com.