Hydro Turbine Generator (2023)

Ultimate Buying Guide:Hydro Turbine Generator/hydroelectric generator

Micro power development can be cost-intensive to build and maintain. There are some fixed maintenance costs. These costs vary according to site location and material requirements.

Hydro power or water power is generated by using electricity generators to extract energy from moving water. Historically people used the power of rivers for agriculture and wheat grinding. Today, rivers and streams are re-directed through hydro generators to produce energy, although there are pros and cons as far as local ecosystems are concerned. The articles on this page explore the use of water to generate electricity.

Hydropower is an energy source that uses the conversion of gravitational potential (owned by masses of water at high altitude) into kinetic energy in excess of a certain altitude, in which kinetic energy is transformed, thanks to an alternator coupled to a turbine, into electricity.

Hydroelectric power is derived from the course of rivers and lakes through the creation of dams and penstocks. There are various types of dams: in leap power plants great heights of fall are used and they are available in mountainous regions. In flowing water plants great river water masses which overcome small drops are used, but for this reason, the river must be steady and must have considerable flow.

The water turbines are available for low, medium and high heads.

Microhydropower Ultimate Guide

Hydro Turbine Generator (1)

Courtesy” Energy.Gov

The cost of energy has been on an upward trend in recent years.

You are now seeking alternative sources of energy.

The ones that won’t cost you a kidney.

And maybe won’t pollute the environment.

Of course, there are many renewable energy solutions that you can choose from.

Your choice will be guided by various factors.

But, wait: There is a river or a stream flowing nearby!

Do you know that you can utilize this natural resource to generate an adequate amount of energy?

This is what micro hydropower or a water turbine or hydro generator is all about.

It entails generating electric energy from water.

Would you like to learn more about micro hydropowergenerator and hydro generator?

Stay put.

This guide is going to cover everything you need to know about micro hydropower.

Table of content

1. What is a Micro Hydroelectricity

2. Microhydropower Components

3. Types of Micro hydroelectricity System

4. How Microhydropower System Works

5. Advantages and Disadvantages of a Micro Hydroelectric System

6. Micro Hydropower Maintenance

7. Is my Home Suitable for Micro Hydropower?

8. Choosing the Best Microhydropower Manufacturer and hydro generator Supplier

Is my home Suitable for Microhydropower System?

1: What is a Microhydropower?

Before we take one extra step, let’s start off with a definition.

What is a micro hydropower?

Hydro Turbine Generator (2)
Courtesy: Coherent Chronicle

A micro hydropower or a normal water turbine is basically a type of hydroelectric power that generates 5W to 100W of electricity using the natural flow of water.

Does it mean that there are other types of hydroelectric power?


The one that generates below 5W of electricity is known as Pico hydro.

However, in this guide, our main focus is the micro hydro power.

A micro hydropower system can be used to power a single household or even a small community.

Many people in different countries around the world have embraced this source of electricity.

There are many reasons why micro hydropower kitsare enjoying a massive popularity.

The first one is they are cost-effective.

You don’t need to purchase fuel.

Secondly, they are rarely affected by weather conditions.

You can even use a micro hydropower generatorduring winter when your solar power system is producing little energy.

Do you want to learn more?

Well, continue reading the other chapters.

2.Types of Micro Hydroelectric Systems

Hydro Turbine Generator (3)
Courtesy Energy.Gov

Micro hydroelectric systems are not all the same.

They come in different shapes and designs.

(Video) Hydroelectric Turbines Explained (Kaplan, Pelton, Francis, Reaction, Impulse)

In this chapter, we are going to discuss different types of microhydro power kits.

By the end of the discussion, you will be in a perfect position to choose the system that will suit your needs.

2.1. On-grid without batteries micro hydro electric systems

They are among the simplest types of micro-hydropower systems or water turbines.

They send the surplus energy back to the main grid.

As they do, so, you will be credited for the equivalent amount of energy bill.

Lack of battery means one thing: No backup in case of a power outage.

2.2. On-grid micro hydropower generatorwith batteries

This type of microhydropower plantis also connected to the main grid.

Is your area prone to power outages?

This is the ideal solution for you.

The batteries will provide backup power.

Of course, the size of the battery will determine the amount of energy to be backed up.

2.3. Off-grid without batteries micro hydropower system / water turbine

This type of micro hydropower plantis best suited for AC-generating system.

Its power output is determined by the peak generating the capacity of the system.

2.4 Off-grid micro hydropower system or water turbine with batteries

This is the most popular type of micro hydroelectric system that you can install.

It has a charging source which directs energy to the storage battery.

Differences Based on Turbine Design

We can also differentiate micro hydropower systemsbased on the design of their turbines.

Under this section, we have:

2.5 Reverse Archimedes Screw

In this type, water goes directly into the top of the micro hydropower electric system.

It makes the turbine to rotate and generate power.

You may consider this option if you are using dirty water.

2.6 Garlov Helical Turbine

As the name suggests, it has helical blades that create mechanical power.

The power generated by the blades is independent from the one that is generated by the flow of water.

2.7 Kaplan Turbine

This turbine design is based on a propeller system.

There is something special that you should know about this design.

It is capable of turning even with little water.

2.8 Water Wheel

There is a rich history behind this design of turbine.

It is among the oldest designs that have ever been in existence.

Despite being old, it is respected because of its high levels of efficiency.

2.9 Gravitation Water Votex

Are you looking for a simple micro hydropower?

You will fall in love with the design of this turbine.

It is positioned at a low position to receive water from a high ground.

It has a vortex through which water is directed out of the system.

Sizes of Hydroelectric Power Plants

We can differentiate hydroelectric power plants based on their sizes.

So, which size is ideal for residential hydropower kits?

Which one is ideal for commercial hydropower systemfor sale?

Here are the differences based on the sizes of the turbines:

(I)Large Hydropower

These hydropower facilities are capable of producing at least 30 megawatts.

(II)Small Hydropower

Small hydropower plants generate power of up a maximum of 10 MW

(Video) Hydroelectric Power Plant || Hydro Power Plant || Pumped Storage Power Plant

(III)Micro Hydropower / hydroelectric generator

A micro hydropower system has the capacity of producing up to 100 kilowatts.

It is the most preferred residential hydropower systems.

So, which type of micro hydropower system do you think will suit your needs to the fullest?

If you need any of the above types, simply contact micro-hydro turbine generator suppliers.

3.Microhydropower System Components

Hydro Turbine Generator (4)
Courtesy Mechanics for Change

Is micro hydropower system one single unit?


A typical micro-hydroelectric system consists of various components.

They are:

-Water Conveyance: This is a channel whose core purpose is to deliver water

-Turbine/ waterwheel: Converts energy from the flowing water into rotational energy.

-Alternator/generator Transforms the rotational energy from the turbines into electrical energy.

-Regulator: The purpose of this component is to control the generator.

-Wiring system: It delivers the electrical energy so that is used by the appliances.

4: How a Microhydropower System Works

Hydro Turbine Generator (5)
Courtesy Gifer

How does a micro hydropower work?

How is it able to generate electrical energy?

If you are looking for answers to these questions, this is the chapter you.

The working mechanism of a micro hydropower generator system:

Moving water contains a significant amount of energy.

As we had mentioned earlier, the energy on it depends on the rate of flow and the vertical distance.

A micro hydropower system has turbines which convert the energy in the moving water into mechanical energy.

These turbines come in different designs and shapes

This energy, in turn, rotates the shaft which will spin the generator to produce electricity.

5.Advantages and Disadvantages of a Microhydropower?

There are many alternatives to the Micro hydropower system.

You can use solar energy, wind energy among many others.

But, why should you choose micro hydropower over any other system?

Here are the reasons:

(i)Microhydropower systems are energy efficient

Do you want an electric system that will give you value for your money?

Choose a homemicro hydro power generator.

It uses very minimal resources to generate maximum electricity.

The electricity generated can be delivered miles away.

(ii)Hydroelectric systems are reliable

Weather elements can be detrimental to the supply of electrical energy.

Solar energy is among the worst affected energy source.

If you are looking for the most reliable source of electricity, think micro hydro power systems.

They are simply weather-proof.

(iii)Cost efficient

What is the cost of a micro hydropower system?

How much does it cost to install a hydro power plant?

To install one, be ready to spend between $1000 to $20,000.

There is something to smile about this source of energy.

When doing a micro hydro power plant cost analysis, find out two things:

-Micro hydro turbine cost

-Hydro power plant cost per mw.

It attracts a low maintenance fee.


We all aim at conserving the environment,right?

One way of doing this is by using environment-friendly energy sources.

Microhydropower does not have any negative impact on the environment.

The water will continue flowing without any interference.

On your side, you will be using only a small portion of the stream.

(Video) Unique mini hydropower design with two units

Well, these are just some of the benefits that I thought I should highlight.

There are several others which you will discover as you continue using your micro-hydroelectric system.

Disadvantages of hydroelectric power

(I)Suitable site characteristics needed

You cannot install a micro-hydroelectric system anywhere you want.

The site must meet certain strict characteristics.

Some required features are just too hard to attain.

(II)Difficult to scale up

The size of the stream determines the amount of energy that you need.

You cannot increase the rate of flow in order to tap more energy from your micro hydropower plant.

(III)Low power production during summer

Obviously, you know what happens during summer.

The volume of water on most streams go down.

Lower water volume automatically leads to low energy production.

6 .Micro Hydropower Maintenance

You want your micro hydropower system to serve you smoothly without any hitches.

At the same time, you don’t want to spend lots of money on repair and maintenance costs.

What should you do?

Don’t worry.

In this chapter, we are going to highlight key micro hydropower maintenance practices that you should use.

-Check if your micro hydropower system has all the components. Ensure that all of them are intact.

-Check whether the turbine is running. You can test this by rotating it using your hands.

7.Is My Home Suitable for Microhydropower System?

Hydro Turbine Generator (6)
Courtesy Hydropower facts and information

Microhydropower is a unique source of energy.

It is not like other sources such as solar power and wind energy.

You cannot just wake up one day and decide to install a micro hydropower system.

There are many questions that you need to answer.

On top of the list is:

“Is my home suitable for micro hydropower generation?

Close proximity top watercourse does not guarantee that you can install a micro hydropower.

Some water sources can still fail to deliver as per your expectations.

There are two main factors that you need to consider.

These are:

-Water Head

-Water Flow

It is also important to calculate the potential energy that is available at a site.

To find out this, simply multiply the heads and the low rate.

Let’s discuss these two key factors that determine the suitability of your site:

(i)Water Head and Microhydropower production

First things first, what is the water head in a micro hydropower production?

Simply put, the water head is the vertical difference in water levels between intake and discharge points.

It is measured in meters.

The greater the water head, the more the water pressure which automatically leads to more output energy.

From this description, you can deduce something.

Hydro sites located on steep hills are more productive than those on flat surfaces.

Sharp angles provide a perfect ground for more hydroelectric production.

What if it has a low water head measurement, what should I do?

Although water head measurement is a naturally occurring factor, there are some artificial ways of increasing it.

You can raise the sluices or clear the silt.

In doing so, you will be able to increase the water level.

However, you can only do this after consulting the local authorities and environmental bodies.

Water Head will also determine the micro-hydroelectric system that you will install.

(Video) Hydro-Electricity Generator | पानी से सीधा बनाये बिजली | 100% Working

But, how?

Well, the measurement of the turbine will depend on the measurement of the water head.

(II) Water Flow Rate of Microhydropower Production

In this context, the term water flow rate implies the volume of water that is flowing in a given watercourse.

The higher the water flow rate, the more the energy output.

It is important to note that the water flow rate does not remain the same throughout the year.

It keeps changing depending on the weather pattern.

During the rainy season, the water flow rate will automatically be high.

However, you should expect the opposite during dry days.

The variation makes it difficult to confidently determine the flow rate of micro hydropower site.

But, you don’t need to strain yourself with the complex calculations.

You can always seek the help of a hydrologist.

They will help you to find a near accurate water flow rate.

Knowing a water flow rate will also help you to choose the right size of the turbine for your micro hydropower system.

You will also have a rough idea of the amount of electricity that the micro-hydroelectric system will generate.

Other Factors

Of course, there are other factors that can determine the suitability of your site.

One of them is the environmental impact of the installation.

What are the environmentalists and local authority saying about the site.

As much as everything may seem to be okay, do not neglect their permission.

You may end up with heavy losses.

Seek their permission first!

8.Choosing the Best Micro Hydro Power Manufacturer or Water Turbine Supplier

Which is the best micro hydropower manufacturer?

Am going to give you valuable tips for choosing the best hydropower systems manufacturer.

(I)Make a list of the potential water turbine generator manufacturers

Use the internet to get all the micro hydropower systems manufacturers.

(II)Check the level of professionalism

How is the water turbine generator manufacturer treating you?

Are the attendants courteous towards you?

If not, get another manufacturer.

(III)Is the manufacturer licensed and insured?

(IV)Ask for references about their previous customers.


What else do you want to know about micro hydropower or water turbine generator electric systems?

From this guide, it has come out clearly that these are renewable sources of energy.

A single micro hydropower electric unit can power several appliances in your house.

Are you a business-oriented person?

This electrical system can come in handy in helping you to run your business efficiently.

It can be used for commercial purposes.

Do you own a farm deep in the countryside?

This may the most ideal energy source that you need.

There is no doubt that more people are embracing the message of energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Have you joined this bandwagon?

Don’t be left behind.

Get a micro hydropower system and join the bandwagon.

Generate your own electricity and save on the cost!

To dispel the popular notion, you don’t need lots of water to generate micro hydropower electricity.

Most hydro power turbine units are very efficient.

They can still generate more power even with little water.


1.Is my site suitable for hydroelectricity generation?

2.Micro hydro power maintenance

3.Types of Hydropower Turbines


4.Micro hydro power pros and cons


Can a hydro generator power a house? ›

Benefits. Whether it's from a small stream or a larger river, small or micro hydroelectricity systems, also called hydropower or hydro systems, can produce enough electricity for all electrical appliances and lighting in the average home.

How much power can a water turbine generate? ›

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.

What is hydraulic turbine generator? ›

Hydraulic turbines are the prime movers that convert the energy of the falling water into a rotational mechanical energy and consequently to an electric energy through the use of the generators that are connected to the turbines. Turbines consist of a row of blades that are fixed on a rotating shaft or a plate.

How much does a hydroelectric generator cost? ›

Hydropower TechnologyMW RangeInstalled Cost ($/kW)
Conventional Hydro (impoundment)50 (average)$1,000-$5,000
Microhydro< 0.1$4,000-$6,000
Run of River (diversion.Approx. 10$1,500- $6,000
Pumped Storage>500$1,010-$4,500

How big of a hydro turbine is needed to power a house? ›

Micro hydro technology is available that lets the individual homeowner (with a stream) generate their own power. Consider this: a hydro turbine of just 500W will produce enough electricity through the year to meet the annual consumption of an energy-efficient home.

What size generator do I need to run my house during a power outage? ›

Most homeowners, however, will use a generator somewhere between 3,000 and 6,500 watts. You might also consider how prone your home is to power outages. If you live in an area extra susceptible to power loss, you should be more conservative with your estimate.

How efficient is a hydro turbine? ›

This turbine can provide remarkable efficiency of up to 95%. In the reaction type turbines the pressure of water changes regarding the flow path on the turbine rotor. The reaction is produced by this change in the speed of water and pressure changing the rotational speed of the rotor.

How efficient is a hydro generator? ›

Hydroelectric powerplants are the most efficient means of producing electric energy. The efficiency of today's hydroelectric plant is about 90 percent.

How efficient is a hydraulic turbine? ›

The peak efficiency of a properly designed large hydraulic turbines can be as high as 95%, with typically every point of improved efficiency involving considerable monetary benefits in operation.

How long does it take for hydropower to pay for itself? ›

A hydroelectric system isn't overly complicated, it isn't difficult to operate and maintain, it has longevity and it's often more cost-effective than other forms of renewable power. Some experts say a successful micro hydroelectric plant will pay for itself in 15 years.

How many homes can 1 MW of hydropower? ›

With 1 MW enough to power 750-1,000 average American homes according to Electric Power Supply Association, that's enough generating capacity to produce electricity for roughly 75 to 101 million homes.

Why is hydropower so cheap? ›

Hydropower is an affordable source of electricity that costs less than most. Since hydropower relies only on the energy from moving water, states that get the majority of their electricity from hydropower, like Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, have lower energy bills than the rest of the country.

Do water turbines generate AC or DC? ›

Hydroelectric generating stations produce AC electricity that has about 25 kV of force.

How long do water turbines last? ›

Hydroelectric facilities are among the most resilient power plants. The average lifespan of a hydroelectric facility is 100 years, but with ongoing upgrades can operate well beyond that.

How many wind turbines does it take to power 1000 homes? ›

A single 1.8 MW wind turbine running at normal capacity will produce enough electricity in a year to feed 1,000 average homes.

How many watts do I need to run my whole house? ›

How many watts does it take to power basic items in an average size house? In a typical home, essential items will average 5000 - 7500 watts of power to run.

How can I generate electricity at home for free? ›

Generating Electricity at Home
  1. Residential Solar Panels. Every ray of sunshine that lands on your roof is free electricity for the taking. ...
  2. Wind Turbines. ...
  3. Solar and Wind Hybrid Systems. ...
  4. Microhydropower Systems. ...
  5. Solar Water Heaters. ...
  6. Geothermal Heat Pumps.
Sep 26, 2018

Can a generator be too powerful? ›

Too small, you'll overload the generator, or force it to supply more power than it can handle. If this happens, the generator will either automatically turn off or overheat, which will fry not only the generator, but also your costly appliances. Too large, you'll overpay for both the unit and the cost to operate it.

How big of a generator do I need for a 3000 sq ft house? ›

Then there's whole-house power. A 3,000-square-foot house with two central air conditioners, an electric range, and a whirlpool tub might require as much as 25kW to 30kW. A newer option is a "load-management system," a generator that can power everything in your house, just not all at once.

Is hydropower cheaper than natural gas? ›

In the U.S., hydropower is produced for an average of 0.85 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh). This is about 50% the cost of nuclear, 40% the cost of fossil fuel, and 25% the cost of using natural gas.

Is hydropower more efficient than solar power? ›

Hydropower is more reliable than solar, but it isn't a good fit for most locations and requires a large amount of space. Solar power is smaller and can be added to individual buildings but may not be great in places that don't get a lot of sun or deal with obstacles that would make it harder to harness the sun's rays.

Is hydropower cheaper than solar power? ›

Hydropower is the least expensive source of renewable energy in the United States, including solar power (see References 2). Hydropower creates greater environmental impacts than solar energy, however.

How strong of a generator Do you need to power a house? ›

Some may need to use more appliances during a power outage while some may be enough with having just a few of them running. But in general, a generator that can provide between 5,000 and 7,500 watts would be enough to power a house.

How much water is required to power a house? ›

With the average person using 100 gallons of water per day for direct use, the average household of four uses 400 gallons in indirect use. Figure 2 shows that the average household can indirectly use from 600 to 1,800 gallons of water to meet their electricity needs.

Can I power my house with a portable generator? ›

Portable generators for your house are affordable. They can back up essential appliances for less than $1000. In an emergency, a portable generator for house use is easy to operate. All you have to do is add fuel, start the engine, and run extension cords.

How many watt generator do you need to run your whole house? ›

Whole House: Starting at about 12,000 watts, these generators can generally keep a home running without missing a beat. You'll be able to run lights, fans, TVs, refrigerators, computers, space heaters and pretty much anything else you plug into an outlet.

How much does it cost to run a whole house generator for 24 hours? ›

Calculating Your Costs

This means the home will have full power throughout the outage. While natural gas prices fluctuate, you will likely be looking at an average cost of between $60 and $120 a day to keep your home powered.

Can a home generator be too powerful? ›

Too small, you'll overload the generator, or force it to supply more power than it can handle. If this happens, the generator will either automatically turn off or overheat, which will fry not only the generator, but also your costly appliances. Too large, you'll overpay for both the unit and the cost to operate it.

Can a generator be too big for a house? ›

You, however, need to ensure that you choose the right generator size that meets your household needs. If you buy an undersized unit, it will strain to meet your power demands, shortening its lifespan. An oversized unit will result in unnecessary power loss and can damage your appliances.

What drains the most power in a house? ›

Which home appliances use the most electricity?
  1. Heating and cooling: 45-50% The largest electricity consumer in the average household is your heating and cooling appliance. ...
  2. Water heater: 12% ...
  3. Lighting: 9-12% ...
  4. Refrigerator: 8% ...
  5. Washer and dryer: 5% ...
  6. Electric oven: 3% ...
  7. Dishwasher: 2% ...
  8. TV and cable box: 2%
Dec 20, 2022

What is the most efficient water turbine? ›

Pelton wheel, which is an impulse type turbine invented by an American engineer L. Pelton in the 19th century and has proven to be among the most efficient hydroturbines. The water is directed with high speed through nozzles against the buckets, arranged around the drive wheel.

How many batteries are needed to power a house? ›

A 400 amp-hour 6 volt battery can provide around 2.4 kilowatt hours of power. A three-day battery bank planned to provide 90 kilowatt-hours of electricity to an average American household. The previous example battery can provide2,4 kilowatt hours, while 38 batteries would be needed.

Do you have to turn off your main breaker when using a generator? ›

For an extra measure of safety, switch your main fuses or circuit breakers to the “OFF” position. Be sure you understand them before hooking up the generator. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to properly ground the generator. Generators emit carbon monoxide.

Where should you not put a portable generator? ›

NEVER run a generator indoors or in partly enclosed areas such as garages. ONLY use outdoors and far from windows, doors, vents, crawl spaces and in an area where adequate ventilation is available and will not accumulate deadly exhaust gas.

Is there an alternative to a whole house generator? ›

In recent years, microgrid systems have become more popular. Microgrid systems use a number of small renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines. They can power your home or be connected to the grid to provide backup power. You can learn more about microgrid systems here.


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