With a small-scale hydropower system, even a relatively small stream can offer a lifetime's escape from electric utility bills.
The interior of a small turbine.
With a high enough head, a small scale hydropwer system can generate electricity from a little stream like this.
PHOTO: CHRISSY LEONARD
The turbine unit with attached feeder pipes.
The powerhouse that services the Coulter ranch houses the turbine, (left) batteries (center, in wooden box), and the power-center and DC to AC inverter (right)
A typical hydroelectric layout. 1. Site of dam or weir to divert water. 2. Stock tank or pond 3. Penstock. 4. Powerhouse with electric lines running to home. 5. Rock-lined tailrace.
The chart gives you a good idea of how much output in watts you may expect per different gpm (gallons per minute), for varing feet of head. Multiply the number of watts by 24-watt-hours to get the total number of watt-hours generated in one day. Divide this by system voltage to get your amp-hour per day output.