Micro Hydro Power – Hydro Power Systems

In order to determine if your home has a good water source for micro hydro power, you should consider the three most important variables: water head level, amount of water flow at the turbine, and the penstock design.

The most important requirement for building a micro hydro power system for your home is making sure that you have a fast enough flow rate for the appropriate head height you are using, and that you also have a consistent flow of water, preferably year round.

Unless you have alternate sources of electricity you will have to make sure you have a consistent flow of water all year, calculating for potential changes in weather: freezing temperatures, rainy season, dry season.  Unless you have a consistent flow you will not be able to rely on your micro hydro power system year round.

The hydraulic head height will greatly determine what style of penstock and turbine design that you use in your micro hydro power system.  A small head height and high flow will require a large penstock and turbine, whereas a lower head and higher flow will use a smaller penstock and turbine.

Micro hydro power systems differ greatly from site to site, but most micro hydro power systems that are used for individual homes do not require a large reservoir of water to operate.

Calculate your hydraulic head height

Use these equations to calculate your hydraulic head.  It’s one of the most important numbers required to see if your home will be able to take advantage of hydro power.