What is microhydropower?

What is microhydropower?
Microhydropower can be one of the most simple and consistent forms or renewable energy on your property.

If you have water flowing through your property, you might consider building a small hydropower system to generate electricity. Microhydropower systems usually generate up to 100 kilowatts of electricity. Most of the hydropower systems used by homeowners and small business owners, including farmers and ranchers, would qualify as microhydropower systems. But a 10-kilowatt microhydropower system generally can provide enough power for a large home, a small resort, or a hobby farm.

A microhydropower system needs a turbine, pump, or waterwheel to transform the energy of flowing water into rotational energy, which is converted into electricity.

How a Microhydropower System Works

Microhydropower System Components:

Run-of-the-river microhydropower systems consist of these basic components:
  • Water conveyance -- channel, pipeline, or pressurized pipeline (penstock) that delivers the water
  • Turbine, pump, or waterwheel -- transforms the energy of flowing water into rotational energy
  • Alternator or generator -- transforms the rotational energy into electricity
  • Regulator -- controls the generator
  • Wiring -- delivers the electricity.
Microhydropower system

Commercially available turbines and generators are usually sold as a package. Do-it-yourself systems require careful matching of a generator with the turbine horsepower and speed.

Many systems also use an inverter to convert the low-voltage direct current (DC) electricity produced by the system into 120 or 240 volts of alternating current (AC) electricity. (Alternatively, you can buy household appliances that run on DC electricity.)

Whether a microhydropower system will be grid-connected or stand-alone will determine many of its balance of system components.

For example, some stand-alone systems use batteries to store the electricity generated by the system. However, because hydropower resources tend to be more seasonal in nature than wind or solar resources, batteries may not always be practical for microhydropower systems. If you do use batteries, they should be located as close to the turbine as possible because it is difficult to transmit low-voltage power over long distances.


Friday 17th March 2023
Friday 17th March 2023
Thursday 09th March 2023
Thursday 09th March 2023

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