How to assess your Pico Hydro potential

PowerSpout can be an ideal DIY project, if you have access to running water in a stream/burn etc.  In order to assess the viability, you need first to determine the head and flow rate, from which the eventual power may be ascertained.  Try the PowerSpout Calculator, which is a great initial resource for planning your scheme.  

It's an absolute requirement that all electrical work is done by a competent person and we strongly recommend that you are, or can become, familiar with all the techniques and materials required in the building of a pico-hydropower scheme.  

Please contact us for case studies, prices and other important information.  In addition to being the main Scottish sales agent for the PowerSpout turbine range, we can provide all the other key elements you’ll need such as convenient pre-fabricated intake structures; pipeline and fittings; inverter(s) and all ancillary equipment at competitive prices.  

Approximate head measurements can be determined by using OS maps or Google Earth, which give the height at a given point.  Be aware that both techniques are subject to errors could affect the eventual power output up or down, so it’s important that you’re satisfied with the accuracy of your measurements. 

Flow measurement can be as simple as placing a bucket to catch the flow of water and timing how quickly it fills, or as complicated as hiring in sophisticated monitoring equipment.  The best technique depends on how accurate you need your measurements to be. For example, if you’re planning an off-grid system powered by a ‘flashy’ burn, and will depend on your battery bank for power, it’s important that a high degree of accuracy is obtained so you can plan accordingly.  Conversely, if you’re taking a small proportion of a larger river and already have grid power, accurate measurements won’t be so vital. Alternatively have a look at the Flow Measurement Section in our PICO Hydropower DIY Design Guide