Why Should You Build A Hydro Electric Generator?
All you have to do is watch one episode during “Hurricane Week” on The Weather Channel to witness the astonishing power of moving water. Even a few feet of moving water has the power to knock a person off their feet, and move cars off the road and into the ditch.
Many people who are lucky enough to live on a river or stream are starting to realize that they could be harnessing this incredible power to supply their home’s energy needs.
So, what could a small hydro electric generator do for you? Is it worth it to spend the time and effort to build one?
Let’s take a look!
The Benefits of Hydro Electric Generators
If you own land that has easy access to a stream or river, then you’ll be happy to know that harnessing the power of that moving water is one of the most cost-effective ways to start using renewable energy.
Here are some of the benefits to using hydro electric generators:
- Low Cost- Hydro electric generators are relatively inexpensive to build, especially compared to the more expensive forms of renewable energy like solar. Buying a professional system, and having it installed, is going to be much more expensive.
- Reliability- The flowing water of a river or stream is far more consistent than the sun or wind. This means that you’ve got a steady flow of reliable power once you’ve got your micro hydro system up and running. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that many streams and rivers fluctuate seasonally. They slow or dry up in summer droughts, and overflow during floods. So, it’s smart to have a back up system (like wind) for when this happens.
- Abundant Power- If you’re on a steady moving river then you have the potential to produce far more power with a micro hydro system than you could get with wind or solar. As we said above, moving water contains an incredible amount of force and power. And, you could be using this power in your home. If you’re lucky enough to live close to an actual waterfall, even if it’s a small one, your potential power goes up dramatically.
- Clean Energy- The great thing about using hydro power is that it’s completely clean. You’re not even taking water from the stream; after the moving water has turned the wheels of your turbine, it’s diverted back into the stream to continue on its way. There are no environmental impacts with small micro hydro systems.
- Security- Using a hydro electric generator means that you don’t have to depend on power plants that damage the environment, or energy sources that are controlled by foreign powers. You’re using energy that’s harnessed in your own backyard. And because your river is always moving, you never have to worry about your local electrical grid going down. You’ll always have power, even when others don’t.
- Relatively Low Maintenance- Most hydro systems last a long time and are relatively low maintenance. Your biggest time investment is going to be keeping debris out of your intake. All rivers have debris like dirt, leaves, and sticks, and these can easily get caught in your system if it’s not well designed. Even if it is, cleaning the intake and turbine blades will need to be done on a regular basis to keep your system running efficiently.
Cost Savings With A Hydro Electric Generator
So, wondering how much you could save with a hydroelectric generator?
Well, that’s actually a really tough question to answer. Everything depends on two factors: how fast your stream moves (and/if the stream has a significant elevation change), and how much energy you need to produce per day.
For instance, after analyzing your site you might come to the conclusion that, at best, your micro hydro system is only going to produce about 4 kWh per day. But after carefully looking at your home’s energy needs, you realize you need at least 6 kWh to get by.
So, you’ll either have to stay connected to your local power grid to get that energy, or invest in wind or solar to make up the difference.
So, is it worth the time and effort to build your own hydro electric generator? Well, it all depends on your location and energy needs. After you’ve made the initial investment, micro hydro generators will produce power for your home indefinitely. You’ll have a constant source of clean, free energy. And for many people, that’s more than worth the time and money it takes to get started.