Over a year ago, I was contacted by a Meter & Monitoring Services company who were keen to add a hydro installation to the range of sites they were already monitoring. At the time, I couldn't see that the data they collected, or the way they collected it, would add to what I was doing before. But one year on I'm rather impressed by their system.
Their set up involved installing a second energy meter in series with my existing kWh meter; the new meter collects and stores generation data and once per 24 hrs transfers it over a mobile phone link to my 'account' held on a central server; by logging into this 'account' I can view all the data and down-load both the raw data and the graphs which the data make possible.
This is the record of generation since 1st Oct 2015 to today 31st Jan 2017 as logged by the system:
...the vertical scale shows kWh generated per day; a point of note in this record is how little generation there has been in Dec / Jan 2016/17 compared with 2015 /16; the present daily yield is just 8 kWh per day whilst last year at this time it was 18 kWh, - testament to how dry this year has been.
The advantages of this system compared with what I was, and am still, doing are that it is automated, more accurate and more secure. My old system takes data from the inverter (which is less accurate than this 'industry standard' energy meter); requires me to take it manually each month (whereas this needs no human input); and requires me to keep it on my computer (whilst this system uses 'cloud storage').
All in all, I think it's quite a useful addition to the way I monitor my Powerspout... especially since for me it's free, - though that might change. But take note - it does require mobile phone reception.