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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Spring Micro Hydro
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# Posted: 23 Feb 2022 15:23

Hello Everyone. I have bought a property that I plan on building a cabin to live in while I renovate my current house so I can sell it as well as live in while I build my new house. I will be completely off grid in the cabin and the new house but being that I live at 55N, I only have about 6 hours of daylight in the middle of winter so some hydro to offset that would be nice. I have done solar setups before and I am comfortable with all of that but I have the potential to have a small micro hydro system with some springs that are on the property.

The property is on a river valley that has 200' of elevation change. about 60' down the bank I have a sand seam with three springs that are producing about 0.5 lps (5 gpm) of water each. I am thinking of tying these three springs together to get a total of 15gpm. If I can get 15gpm at 125' of head I should be able to get 250w at 80v 24/7 which would be pretty nice.

By tying them together at the top of the elevation, I will probably lose about 20' of head. Does anyone know if I'm better off tying them all together a little lower and running one penstock to the hydro generator? Or should I run three penstocks down to the generator to maximize the head pressure?

Penstock side note, I will probably use 3" HDPE pipe. Even though it's overkill, there is some coming up at the auction I can get for pennies on the dollar. Unless anyone has a reason why I shouldn't use it?

I have attached a picture to show everyone what I'm dealing with.

Picture Legend
Blue Stars: 5GPM springs
Purple Stars: Evedence of springs that could be opened up
Cyan Line: Current road
Dotted Cyan: Future road
Red: Penstocks if I combined them as it went down the hill
Green: Penstocks if I combined them up top to one point.

If anyone has any experience or advice, I'm all ears.

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