Hydro - FAQ

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What use can a hydropower installation satisfy?

  • Direct drive of machinery
  • Electricity production for local use
  • Electricity feed into grid for revenue

How many people can be supplied?

Available share per household (hh) depends on local hydro potential and type of use (lighting, TV, machinery, ...). Calculate no. of required appliances. Energy = power * time. Energy [Watt hours (Wh)]; Power [Watt(W)]; time [hours(h)]

  • Required power for lighting depends on no. and type of lamps used. Fluorescence lamps require so called blind power. It may affect the system if they the only consumers.
  • Machinery needs usually several kW (often machinery's power is given in HP (metrical Horsepower) 10 HP = 7.36 kW)
    A motors starting power can be 50% higher than its regularly stated power. There are technical possibilities to address these (soft start).
  • Electrical heating requires very high power. Within an isolated grid, electrical heating / cooking / oven  is usually not practicable. Hot water can be produced centrally from the ballast load.

What's typical Wattage of appliances?

  • Water heater ~ 3-5 kW.
  • Electric cooler ~ 300 W
  • Freezer ~ 0.5 - 1kW
  • Air condition ~ 0.7 - 1 kW
  • Electrical fan ~ 200 Watt.
  • Radio / DVD ~ 10 W / 25 W
  • TV 50 -150 W (depending on type and size
  • Bulb (CFL) ~ 3 - 10 W; conventional bulbs ~ 25 - 40 W each
  • Standby power for VCR / DVD / Stabilizer / satellite dish receivers / TV - ranges around 5 - 15 W each
  • Electric drill ~ 300 W
  • Water pump  ~ 1 kW

What are typical difficulties

  • financial coverage
  • remote location
  • specific conditions
  • uncertain outcome

  • Price range: depends on size of potential site, ranges from 2000 - 5000 USD/kW
  • Material needed: Turbine, generator, controller come from a specialist  
  • Suitable geographic area: usual hilly and all year round water flow, also irrigation canals can have good hydropower potential
  • Required competencies: Experience in mhp feasibility for pre-study and planning, patience in cooperation with the local entities
  • How Long does it take: Ideally flow measurements should be taken over several years to ensure safe data. A must is the measurement of the minimal flow during dry season. From there on a mhp plant can be installed within one year. Accessibility of remote location, delivery times for turbine and generator and social setup usually take longer than estimated. 

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