Using water from a stream to create electricity by channeling it through a turbine: either connected to the grid, off the grid, or a combination of the two.
Micro Hydro Pros – Advantages
Efficient energy source: It only takes a small amount of flow (as little as two gallons per minute) or a drop as low as two feet to generate electricity with micro hydro.
Reliable electricity source : Hydro produces a continuous supply of electrical energy in comparison to other small-scale renewable technologies. The peak energy season is during the winter months when large quantities of electricity are required.
No reservoir required : Micro-hydro is considered to function as a ‘run-of-river’ system, meaning that the water passing through the generator is directed back into the stream with relatively little impact on the surrounding ecology.
Power for developing countries: Because of the low-cost versatility and longevity of micro-hydro, developing countries can manufacture and implement the technology to help supply much needed electricity to small communities and villages.
Integrate with the local power grid : You also have the ability to supplement your level of micro power with intake from the power grid.
Micro Hydro Cons – Disadvantages
No state or federal tax credits.
Suitable site characteristics required: In order to take full advantage of the electrical potential of small streams, a suitable site is needed. Factors to consider are: distance from the power source to the location where energy is required, stream size (including flow rate, output and drop), and a balance of system components — inverter, batteries, controller, transmission line and pipelines.
Energy expansion not possible: The size and flow of small streams may restrict future site expansion as the power demand increases.
Low-power in the summer months : In many locations stream size will fluctuate seasonally. During the summer months there will likely be less flow and therefore less power output. Advanced planning and research will be needed to ensure adequate energy requirements are met.
Environmental impact : The ecological impact of small-scale hydro is minimal; however the low-level environmental effects must be taken into consideration before construction begins. Stream water will be diverted away from a portion of the stream, and proper caution must be exercised to ensure there will be no damaging impact on the local ecology or civil infrastructure.