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How do hydropower systems work?

Hydropower is a renewable energy source that generates power with a dam or diversion structure, if there’s a need to alter the natural flow of a body of water. As all streams and rivers flow downhill, this movement of water can be used to generate electricity. The downward trajectory of water spins a turbine, which turns a shaft that’s linked to an electric generator.  

The steeper the elevation, the more water runs through the turbine, resulting in the creation of an increased amount of electricity. As hydropower systems need a large volume of water with a sizeable drop in elevation, to work effectively, they can’t be placed on every body of water. 

What are the benefits of hydropower systems?

As long as there’s flowing water, a hydropower system will be able to generate electricity for you on a consistent basis. This is unlike other sources of renewable energy, which need a specific climate to be most effective. For example, solar PV systems work best when the sun is at its brightest, while wind turbines rely on windy conditions. However, water can always be made to flow.   

In some instances, a hydropower system might generate more electricity than you need to power your appliances and light your home. Therefore, the leftovers could be used to provide your home with heating and hot water.  

For isolated properties, hydropower systems are a reliable alternative to mains supply. While the installation of a hydro system is likely to be expensive, it can prove to be more cost-effective than getting a connection to the grid, if you don’t already have one.  

Also, as hydropower is a source of green, renewable energy, it doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants, allowing you to lower your carbon footprint. 

Is a hydropower system right for me?

Even if there is a downward flow of water nearby, most homes won’t have access to a suitable resource. If you think you have a reasonable site close to your home, then the next phase requires you to contact a certified installer, who will assess your situation.  

To assess whether its suitable for a hydropower system, your nearby water source will be judged on how much water is flowing per second, as well as the difference in height over a short distance. It’s also important to consider what the water flow is like in the summer months, as it will still be held to a minimum requirement, so a sufficient amount of electricity can be generated all year round.  

How much does it cost to install a hydropower system?

The cost to install a hydropower system can be vastly different, depending on the location and equipment required. Fortunately, once installed, hydropower systems are extremely reliable, with some systems being able to last up to 50 years. This means alongside the cheap running costs; the maintenance costs will also be relatively low.  

The savings you make with a hydropower system will depend on the amount of electricity generated. This is impacted by the number of hours the turbine runs per year, which is dictated by how often the level of the water is high enough to supply the system.  

 

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Homeowners are still able to get a FREE boiler grant or insulation grant via the ECO scheme, which is still available to households that qualify. Warma UK are currently working throughout the UK helping privately owned and rented homes to improve home energy efficiency and save money on rising energy bills.

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