Solar charge controller and wind generator in parallel?

A place to discuss all things involving power and technology (including cameras). Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self, sound systems and more.
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:18 pm
Burning Since: 2005

Solar charge controller and wind generator in parallel?

Postby wilfink » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:53 pm

I'm setting up a solar array for our camp this year for the first time. In typical fashion, I've waited until the last minute to get all the pieces together.

I have 120W of panels, which should be just barely enough to keep a net positive charge on the battery array, assuming I can average 50% efficiency at least 8 hours/day.

I can fairly cheaply add a wind generator, which has the advantage of providing charging capacity at night and during whiteouts when the panels would otherwise be at reduced output. We'd go from having "just barely enough" power to a surplus.

My question is: can I connect the output of the wind generator in parallel with the output of my MPPT solar charge controller, without frying either power source or destroying the batteries? Will the power coming out of one interfere with the charging logic of the other?

User avatar
Posts: 3463
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:27 pm
Burning Since: 2010
Camp Name: Retrofrolic!
Location: Ventura, CA, USA

Re: Solar charge controller and wind generator in parallel?

Postby Trishntek » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:34 pm

You will need a rectifier for the AC current of the wind turbine, which is basically an alternator much like the automotive unit. The rectified DC current must run through its own charge controller. This controller can then be connected to the same junction as the charge controller of the solar array. Each controller usually have variable parameters.

My 24V system charges primarily from the solar panels. During the day, during peak hours, the solar array generates 6-7Amps even though it is rated to produce an optimal 10A. The wind turbine generates a consistent 24V with amperage varying by wind speed. When it produces enough to overcome the solar controller's amperage, it is either a big gust of wind or darkness is setting on the panels.

My solar array charge controller is set to stop charging when the batteries are at 27Volts. The wind charge controller is set to "float" the batteries at 27Volts but not stop charging until they hit 29Volts. Since the wind turbine is much more variable than the solar, it plays secondary to the solar on most sunny days. The way mine is set up, they are connected to the batteries the same. They produce power through two similar, yet unique pathways which work together, but do not charge the batteries at the exact same time. It is either/or on how they operate.

But with both, at least in my experience, the solar will top off your batteries on a sunny day. Your wind will maintain a functional charge indefinitely if the air is moving at least 7 mph (100 watts) and preferable a breezy 28mph (300 watts). By morning, my batteries may be about 60% and still producing >24V.

I must admit that I do have a back up generator and a 24Volt battery charger. For our theme camp of 40 with tons of music and lighting, it is just plane good sense. That genset can recharge the array's batteries in less than three hours.
RETROFROLIC, the place of Pink, Pain and Pleasure!
Some call me Tnt,,,, works for me!

Return to “Power & Electronics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest