Hydro electricity can be one of the cheapest methods of providing off-grid renewable electricity, but it is also very site specific. The best sites are on steep hills, with fast flowing water. One advantage is that on a good site you may not need batteries or an inverter (to step from DC to AC voltage), as the turbine will produce 240 volts AC and can just be turned on when needed.
The capital cost of hydro power schemes is quite high, but if you have a suitable site it can be a good investment. On grid-connected sites, ‘feed-in tariffs’ give a good price for electricity generated - a reasonable size scheme can recoup costs in 5 years or so. On off-grid sites a hydro scheme should be mich better in the long term than running a diesel generator for electricity.
To learn more about this technology, take a look at our Questions and Answers section.
|Can I convert an old watermill to generate electricity?|
|Can off-grid renewable energy systems get feed-in tariff payments?|
|Do I need permission to install a micro hydro system?|
|How can I find a hydro power turbine installer?|
|How do I measure the flow rate?|
|How do I set up a community renewable scheme?|
|How much electricity can a micro hydro system produce?|
|How much will a micro hydro system cost?|
|How much will a micro hydro system earn?|
|I have a good flow of water but not much vertical drop, can I still install micro hydro?|
|What is a hydraulic ram pump?|