If you are looking for the Residential Water Turbine guide, then look no further than this article. It includes how to generate electricity from water at home. Perhaps you are interested in how to make a water turbine generator at home, then reading this article may help you.
If what you’re looking for is reliable, clean, high-volume power, then purchasing one of the best residential water turbine may be the answer. Harnessing the energy of moving water is hardly a new concept. From ancient civilizations using water wheels to the enormous Hoover Dam, humans have been exploiting this source of energy for millennia.
With today’s modern technology, you can now easily become a part of history (and the future) with your own backyard hydroelectric generator.
If you’re lucky enough to have a stream or river running through your property, the options available to you are numerous. However, if you don’t have a body of moving water on your property, fret not! There are opportunities to harness energy from moving water wherever it may be. It may even be in the pipes that run through your home.
how to generate electricity from water at home
residential water turbine
Best Overall: Scott Hydroelectric Turbine Generator
- Watts: 1500W
- Type: Cross flow turbine hydro-electric generator
- The High Points: Excellent build quality, low maintenance and good power production at properties with relatively low head
- The Not-So: These units are quite pricey and are generally for people who are looking to go completely off-grid
Scott Hydroelectric Generators are really some of the best hydro-electric generators around. They are incredible for the average homeowner’s needs and means.
These units are quite pricey when you compare them to other generators of similar specs. However, they are built very well and are easy to use for the enthusiast who is just starting out.
The generators also have the option of including batteries, charge controllers, inverters and more. This is great for those without the know-how of what to obtain and how to obtain it.
This unit is inclusive of everything you’d need to begin pumping out raw power. That makes this generator a real winner in the convenience department and a no-fuss bargain.
What Do Reviewers Say?
Reviewers offer nothing but praise for these generators. They are impressed by the ease of installation.
The generators are largely maintenance free, which is a key highlight. Also, the ability for the generators to work with low head was revered by reviewers.
Scott Hydroelectric offers service and advice on a continual basis for their clients. Reviewers have spoken volumes about how helpful this has been for their installations. That’s because this sort of setup can be difficult for the inexperienced novice.
Features & Considerations
These units are rated at 1500W but are capable of producing 200W under the right conditions. That’s is enough power for the average home.
The generator makes use of a cross head turbine. That’s excellent for locations with low amounts of water flow. Scott’s generators are well-suited for a variety of areas and terrains compared to other generators in their class.
The hydroelectric generators only have two rotating components. They run quietly, which makes them less bothersome when located near a home.
The generator comes as a ready-made, complete unit. That removes a lot of the technical work that the average homeowner would need to do to install.
However, recommended specs for this generator to run at full efficiency is a head height of 25 feet or a pressure rating of 9 PSI. That may rule out some homeowners who unfortunately aren’t able to produce these pressures on their property.
The units are produced and distributed in the USA. So you can easily contact the company for advice and help if you have any questions about installation.
Runner-Up: SAVEMORE4U Water Turbine Generator
- Watts: 10W
- Type: In-pipe micro hydro-generator
- The High Points: Super low-cost and easy to install
- The Not-So: Only a very small amount of energy can be produced using this product
The SAVEMORE4U Water Turbine Micro Generator is designed to be used in the pipeline of the average household’s plumbing system, or on any property where pipes of the right size exist. This device is deceptively simple: the generator’s turbine spins whenever water flows through a pipe, producing electricity.
Although it’s not likely you’re going satisfy your household’s power needs with just this little generator, the concept is very interesting and the energy recovery from such accessible sources is a handy idea. The cost of this product is quite low and it is quite easy to install, which makes it viable for almost anyone whose looking to be more eco-friendly.
What Do Reviewers Say?
Reviewers were generally happy with the nifty little unit. However, some have complaints about how small the diameter of the inlet pipe that feeds into the generator is as it makes getting enough flow difficult at times.
Some reviewers also spoke about the need to acquire a blocking diode in order to use the power from the generator. Since the unit does not come with a blocking diode, this may be an extra headache to source and install for those who are not technically inclined.
Features & Considerations
The tiny generator can produce very small amounts of energy whenever water is flowing through the pipe it’s attached to. A simple and effective application would be connecting several of these generators to high-flow pipes, such as those leading to showers or irrigation systems.
This would allow the generators to contribute to the charging of a battery unit which powers the home, while the main sources may be from wind or solar arrays.
Pipes that offer the most power can be found in and around the home, like shower pipes, irrigation lines and water lines entering water boilers or heaters. Another application that has been suggested is that of lights attached to garden hoses for well-lit nighttime garden watering.
Ultimately, this fantastic little device is a great concept that is likely to become a lot more popular in the energy reclamation systems that are finding their footing in the renewable energy sector.Click to See Price
Best for Camping: Waterlily USB Portable Power
- Watts: 15W
- Type: Portable camping/hiking unit
- The High Points: Durable, portable unit that is capable of charging devices reliably
- The Not-So: Requires a decent flow of water to charge devices properly
The Waterlily is a compact, portable hydroelectric turbine that is mainly for outdoors-people. All it requires is a moving body of water, like a river or stream. Once it’s running, you can plug in the device you’d like to charge.
The company claims that the unit is able to generate up to 360 Watt hours of power in a day, which is a number you shouldn’t scoff at. This makes the Waterlily better than or equivalent to a 100W solar panel. If you’re a keen outdoors enthusiast who needs a reliable charge, this unit may be the solution to your power needs.
The design is sturdy and durable and doesn’t seem like it would break after bumping into a few rocks while in a strong current. An interesting application for this unit is towing it behind boats moving at low speeds to produce electricity. The versatility of the Waterlily makes it a must-have for any trip into the great outdoors.
What Do Reviewers Say?
Reviewers were very happy with the Waterlily’s excellent quality and durable design. They also praised the Waterlily for its ability to replace heavy batteries needed on trips into the outdoors. This is good evidence for the amount of energy the unit is capable of producing.
Some reviewers did, however, comment that the blades of the turbine require quite a strong force of water in order to produce energy. This may make it difficult to use in slow moving streams or rivers. Some reviewers also mentioned that the bulk and weight of the unit was a bit cumbersome when considering hauling the unit in a backpack.
Features & Considerations
The main selling point of this device is its portability and ease of use. The most difficult part of it all may be finding a river or stream with an adequate flow to turn the turbine’s blades. However, if you hike in areas where these are easy to find, that shouldn’t be an issue.
The unit does have the option to come with a drybag for rainy weather or fast-moving water that may splash equipment. This is a great extra benefit for those who like extreme outdoor activities or are worried about damaging the device while traveling.
The waterlily comes in two variations: the USB version and 12V option. Ultimately, it is quite versatile in what devices you are able to charge. While it may not be able to charge a laptop, it can certainly handle phones or small electronics.
An important feature to note is that the Waterlily can also be used out of the water as a wind turbine if no water is present and weather permits it. Additionally, the turbines can be hand cranked in order to produce energy if neither moving water nor wind is available.Click to See Price
Best All-In-One Kit: WindZilla PMA Pelton Water Wheel Adapter
- Watts: 350W
- Type: Pelton wheel hydro-electric generator
- The High Points: A great, reasonably priced combo package for those who need mid-range power production
- The Not-So: The generator will still need some technical know-how and may not be able to satisfy the average home’s power needs on its own
WindZilla generator units are reliable, well-made generators that are suitable for supplying power to the average home user. What’s nice about this particular unit is that it comes with a slick 8-inch Pelton wheel and adaptor, so it’s just about ready to go straight out of the box.
The Pelton wheel design is great for certain setups, and the convenience of not having the turbine already connected can’t be overstated.
A Pelton wheel design is great for producing power as it is the most efficient design of hydroelectric generators. In fact, 90% efficiency is actually considered quite low for a Pelton wheel system.
These systems are designed for locations that can provide high head (high pressure) streams of water which may make them inapplicable for some properties. However, they require very little water.
What Do Reviewers Say?
Reviewers are impressed with the efficiency of the generator and its ability to produce good amounts of power at a low RPM. Some reviewers did mention that the bearings in the generator had too much friction and at times failed. This may cause issues in the long term, but the parts can be replaced if they do burn out.
The Pelton wheel attachment has been reviewed as excellent and has received praise for its efficiency under low pressures. The fact that the system comes with an adaptor and the Pelton wheel already attached was seen by reviewers as convenient. In fact, it removes the sometimes cumbersome process of finding and attaching a suitable turbine.
Features & Considerations
This WindZilla unit is able to be used both for hydro-electric energy production or with a wind turbine. Although this unit comes with an attached Pelton wheel, it does allow for the generator to be used to harness wind power efficiently should it be required.
The generator is able to produce 12V at an impressive 540RPM, and 24V at 1080RPM, making it great for use in relatively small-scale projects.
Another nice and often overlooked feature is the mounting foot that comes attached to the unit. The mounting foot makes it easy to simply bolt the unit into place and fire it up.
Even though this unit comes with many of the necessary parts, you’ll need to consider that the setup is sometimes more difficult than a Pelton wheel system.
The WindZilla system requires the creation of pressurized water through gravity or some other means. This may not be an issue for some consumers who have the right set of circumstances, but it may be inapplicable to others.
Best for Large Properties: Jiangsu Naier Hydroelectric Generator
- Watts: 2,000W
- Type: Multi-use hydroelectric generator
- The High Points: Has the potential to power entire households if the correct setup is used and conditions are present
- The Not-So: Requires some serious DIY skills and a bit of technical knowhow in order to get this generator producing power
This powerful generator unit is the main piece of equipment you will need in order to begin producing serious energy for your home. In order to make full use of the capabilities of this product, you will need to have access to a decent flow of water on your property.
Once this flow of water is directed and used to push the turbines connected to the generator, a great deal of energy can be produced.
The generator unit can be fitted with a variety of different turbines that can be used to harness the power of the water system you happen to have. The type of setup required to get the most out of the unit will depend on the conditions of your property.
However, the unit is versatile and can be adapted to a wide range of systems. The fact that these generators are gearless, direct drive systems allows them to have fantastic lifespans, which the company claims may be over 20 years.
What Do Reviewers Say?
Reviewers seem to be generally pleased with this unit’s versatility and reliability. Jiangsu Naier has earned a reputation for making high-quality generators that have great lifespans and require little maintenance. Although these generators are usually used for wind power generation, users have found these units to adapt excellently into hydroelectric applications.
Most reviewers found success using a Pelton wheel design, but the generator’s low RPM capabilities allow it to adapt well into other designs too. Overall, the general consensus between reviewers was that the high points of these units are reliability and versatility.
Features & Considerations
The Jiangsu Naier Hydro Generator is a 3-phase permanent magnet generator that requires the attachment of a system that harnesses the energy of the moving water you will be using. This can be something as simple as a waterwheel or may be a more complicated and efficient system.
Some users may need the help of a professional to install this unit effectively, but if you think you’re up to the challenge, the prospect of going fully off the grid becomes all the more realistic when using a generator such as this.
These units shine in their ability to operate under hot conditions due to their aluminum frame that dissipates heat very efficiently. The generator is also about 30% lighter than most other units its size, which makes it easier to handle and a breeze to work with when setting up. Although the unit is rated at 2,000W, it is able to max out at 2,500W.
For Those on a Budget: WZINTOP Portable Micro-Hydro Generator
- Watts: 3.5W
- Type: In-pipe micro hydro-generator
- The High Points: Low cost and discreet unit that reclaims the energy of moving water in your home
- The Not-So: Not capable of producing as much energy when compared to other in-pipe micro hydro-generators
The handiness that comes with a micro generator such as this cannot be overstated. This simple generator can be attached to any pipe system where moving water would be found and small amounts of electricity can passively be produced whenever water passes through the system.
This allows homeowners to gather energy from very small waterways on properties that would otherwise be useless.
The compact nature of the unit allows it to create energy from any source of water as long as that water can be funneled through a pipe at a decent enough pressure, making its application almost limitless.
This product is in the same class as the SAVEMORE4U Water Turbine Generator, although the WZINTOP is outperformed in the number of watts it is able to produce. However, it is cheaper and more durable than other similar models.
Domestic Wind Turbines – The Basics
Households can now make use of wind power technology by installing micro turbines, also known as or small-wind or ‘microwind’ turbines. When the wind is strong enough it turns the blades of the turbine, generating electricity. The U.K. climate is ideal for wind harnessing technologies as 40% of the wind in Europe is experienced here, and in the right area you should be able to see substantial savings on your electricity bills.
There are two types of microwind turbine:
- Building mounted: These systems are installed on your roof, and have a fairly small capacity, averaging 1-2kW
- Pole mounted: These installations are freestanding and have a larger capacity of around 5kW-6kW
The Energy Saving Trust has calculated that in an ideal location a roof mounted micro-turbine system could reduce your electricity bills by around £350 a year. Your system could also be eligible to receive payments for the electricity you generate through the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme. Here’s how the scheme works:
- You are paid a ‘Generation Tariff’ for each unit of electricity you generate, regardless of whether you use it or not, at a tariff rate that is fixed when you make an application for the scheme. The scheme then pays you starting from when you apply to the scheme, for 20 years. A pole mounted installation in an ideal location could receive £2,700 a year at current tariff values.
- You are also paid an ‘Export Tariff’ for any generated electricity that you don’t use. The same pole mounted installation could receive £160 a year in export payments at current tariff values.
- The electricity that you generate is free for you to use. If you use more electricity than your system is generating at any point you will be taking it automatically from the grid as you do now, which you will pay for. Overall, however, you will still save money on your electricity bill.
- You can get a loan to cover the cost of installing your system by instead signing up to the Green Deal scheme. The loan is recovered via your energy bill, using the money you have saved on your energy bill by using the system. This means that the installation should not cost you any additional money.
How Domestic Wind Turbines Work
- When the wind turns a wind turbine’s blades this movement drives the rotating shaft the blades are attached to. This shaft sits inside a generator. Inside the generator the shaft is surrounded by a magnetic field, so that when the shaft rotates it generates an electric current. In smaller turbines the blades can be attached directly to a generator with a magnetic field.
- The electricity the turbine produces is DC electricity. This DC electricity passes through a device called an inverter, which connects the turbine and your home’s electrical system. It converts the DC electricity to AC electricity which can be used in your home.
- The electricity the wind turbine generates can be fed directly into your home or stored in batteries. The turbines can be connected to the national grid so that you can export any surplus electricity and receive FIT payments for your electricity, or you can keep your turbine off the grid and store your surplus using batteries, though this arrangement won’t qualify for FIT payments.
- If your turbine is connected to the grid, any surplus electricity is automatically exported to the grid, and if you use electricity from the grid this is also supplied to your system automatically.
The providers of the FIT scheme do not currently measure how many units of electricity you export, but for microwind turbine systems it is assumed to be 75% of the electricity you generate. The capacity of a microwind turbine system to generate electricity varies according to the individual system, and can be described in kilowatts (kW). This value can range from approximately 0 to 15. The average capacity of a house mounted system is 1-2kW and the average capacity of a pole mounted system is 5-6kW.
Whilst this measure is valuable, it does not fully describe the capacity of a turbine as the wind speeds at which this capacity is reached differ from turbine to turbine. This means that the Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard is also used. Contained within this standard is the BWEA Reference Annual Energy. This is the energy in kWh that the turbine will produce annually at a consistent wind speed of 5m/s at a set turbine height. A second value, the BWEA Reference Sound Levels give the noise level of the turbine from 25 and 60m away rounded up to the nearest decibel (dB).
Installing Microwind Turbines
When considering a microwind turbine installation it is essential that you accurately measure the wind speed of your specific location. The average annual wind speed required to make wind turbines worth the investment is a minimum of 5 metres per second (11 mph), which is not usually achieved in urban or suburban areas. This is because the wind speed in urbanised areas is usually reduced by by closely arranged buildings and trees. Nearby hills can also affect wind speed, as does whether you live in a valley or not.
It is strongly recommended that before you commission a microwind installation that you accurately measure your local wind speed by buying and fitting an anemometer (wind measuring instrument). You should leave this device to carry out measurements for at least three months but ideally you should leave it for a year to get a comprehensive overview of the wind levels your property is exposed to.
how to make a water turbine generator at home
Domestic Wind Turbine Installation Checklist
There are a few important things to consider:
- Building mounted or pole mounted: Building mounted systems have a lower capacity than pole mounted systems, meaning that they will generate less electricity and are cheaper to install
- Whether you want to connect to the grid: Currently you will need to connect to the grid toreceive FIT payments. Contact your local DNO (District Network Operator) to arrange connecting your turbine to the grid
- Whether your local area is prone to power cuts: When the power in an area fails all inverters connected to the grid are switched off, meaning that your system will stop working. You can install batteries with your turbine to provide a back-up electricity store – ask your installer for more information
- Roof integrity: If you are intending to install a building mounted turbine it’s wise to consult your installer on whether your house is durable enough to support the turbine – they can be heavy and vibrate when in use
- Planning permission: There are currently permitted development rights granted for domestic wind turbine systems in England, which should mean that you won’t need planning permission for your installation. However, the criteria for this are complex and there are varying needs for planning permission across the rest of the U.K. It is therefore wise to check the planning permissions for your installation with your local authority well in advance. You will have to supply a number of documents as well as paying an application fee of £150. It is a good idea to meet with a local planning officer before submitting your application so you know exactly what is required, as is consulting with any third parties such as neighbours who may be affected by your installation. Some installers will provide information and support with filling out planning applications
- Environmental permissions: If your planned turbine is over 15m tall or you are planning to install two turbines you may be required to commission a bat or bird survey of the area
- Your energy supplier: The larger energy companies have a legal obligation to be registered FIT suppliers but for smaller companies this is optional. Check with your energy supplier to see what they provide regarding FIT
- Are you carrying out other building projects? You might be able to reduce the size of your installation bill by carrying out the work at the same time as any other building or landscaping work you are planning
The time your system will take to install will vary with your specific circumstances, particularly if you decide to carry out the installation at the same time as other building work.
Domestic Wind Turbine Installers
If you intend to apply to the FIT payments scheme you will need to ensure that your installation is carried out by an MCS accredited installer using parts that meet MCS standards. When your installer signs off your installation as being MCS compliant they will give you an MCS certificate that you will need when applying for the scheme. If you are financing your installation through the Green Deal you will need to instead use an authorised Green Deal installer.
Domestic Wind Turbine Costs
A standard 1kW building mounted turbine installation costs around £2000, with a 2.5kW turbine costing around £15,000 and a 6kW around £23,000 including installation costs.
Typically larger systems cost more to install but can generate more electricity, delivering you bigger energy savings and larger tariff payments. An average system working in a 5 m/s wind speed location can save you around £350 on your electricity bill and pay you £160 in Export Tariff payments and £2,700 in Generation Tariff payments every year. You will be paid these tariffs from the date you register for FIT payments for 20 years.
The system will run for at least 20 years, and as the tariff value is set at the start of payments and index linked it is likely that the system will pay for itself in 7 years or less. After this point you will be receiving savings on your electricity bills and payments for around 13 years. For more information on the FIT scheme you can visit our Feed-In Tariff (FIT) page.
If you cannot afford to pay for the installation yourself the Green Deal scheme provides long term finance to cover all or part of your costs. These costs are recovered through your electricity bills using the savings you have made by using the turbine. Because the payment value should not exceed your saving this should mean that the installation doesn’t cost you additional money over what you would usually spend on your electricity bill. The scheme does include 7% interest in the payments however, so you will make more of a saving overall if you can afford to pay for the installation upfront. To find out more about the Green Deal, visit our Green Deal page.
In terms of maintenance, your installer will be able to give you specific guidance on any maintenance checks that need to be carried out. Usually it is recommended that you get your system professionally checked yearly at a cost of £100-£200. The turbine system comes with a lifetime warranty but the inverter may need replacing during that time at a cost of £1,000-£2,000 for larger systems. Any batteries used with the system will usually have to be replaced every 6-10 years.Find an MCS accredited local installer
The Benefits of Domestic Wind Turbines
An average household installing a well-sited domestic wind turbine system could benefit by over £3,200 a year. This includes the money you could save on your electricity bill as well as the Generation Tariff and Export Tariff payments you could receive from the FIT scheme. Our Feed-In Tariff scheme page contains more information on this new initiative. Domestic wind turbines deliver additional benefits:
- Reduce your carbon footprint: A 6kW pole-mounted wind turbine system can save around 5.2 tonnes of CO2 a year.
- Pays for itself quickly: Larger systems have a payback time of around 7 years at current tariff rates, meaning that your system’s payback time could be similar or less.