Island Power x2: Page 4 of 4

Off-Grid and On-Grid
Intermediate

Inside this Article

Hydro Intake
Just below the spring, the hydro intake collects 50 to 1,200 gallons per minute, depending on the season.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Pipe
Both systems utilize butt-welded, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe.
Map of Turbine Locations
Two hydro turbines utilize over 750 vertical feet of head from a mountainside spring near East Sound on Orcas Island, in Washington State.
Harris Hydro 5-inch Pelton Turbine
The Harris Hydro 5-inch Pelton turbine is driven by four nozzles at about 50 psi, spinning a permanent-magnet generator that produces up to 1 kW during the wet season.
Polyethylene Welding Machine
A polyethylene welding machine was used to assemble the upper penstock.
OutBack Power Systems Inverters
OutBack Power Systems inverters convert DC hydro power to AC for the author’s home.
Blasting the trench for the penstock
Water pressure was used to blast the trench for the lower penstock.
Eric Youngren Connects a Flange Adaptor
The author connects the 6-inch steel pipe to the HDPE pipe with a flange adaptor.
Steel Pipe Used in the Lower Penstock
One thousand lineal feet of steel pipe was used in the bottom of the lower penstock. The steep terrain necessitated creative installation and anchoring systems.
Canyon Industries Turbine
The Canyon Industries turbine consists of a 10.5-inch Pelton turbine and a 60 kW, 480 VAC, three-phase alternator.
Eric Youngren with a 10.5-inch Pelton runner
The author with the 10.5-inch Pelton runner for the Canyon Industries turbine.
Thompson & Howe Grid-Protection Panel
The main component of system integration is a Thompson & Howe grid-protection panel that disconnects the turbine from the grid during power outages and maximizes power output by regulating flow rates, maintaining consistent head pressure.
Hydro Intake
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Pipe
Map of Turbine Locations
Harris Hydro 5-inch Pelton Turbine
Polyethylene Welding Machine
OutBack Power Systems Inverters
Blasting the trench for the penstock
Eric Youngren Connects a Flange Adaptor
Steel Pipe Used in the Lower Penstock
Canyon Industries Turbine
Eric Youngren with a 10.5-inch Pelton runner
Thompson & Howe Grid-Protection Panel

The bigger grid-tied system took much more time and effort to complete, and cost more than $100,000. In hindsight, there was a fair bit of hubris in our design decision to maximize the power potential of the creek. That system will take at least a decade to return the investment, assuming it’s pushing out as much power as possible all the time. We are power producers now, keeping the electrons flowing out to the grid, in exchange for checks from the utility. That’s a totally different perspective on microhydro from my off-grid system that churns away in the background, keeping our small bank of batteries charged and dumping surplus power to heat water most of the time.

Access

Eric Youngren is a NABCEP-certified PV installer with more than 10 years of experience designing and installing RE systems. In 2008, he founded Solar Nexus International, a value-adding distributor of pre-integrated solar systems and manufacturer of the SolarNexus off-grid power system appliance.

Components:

Canyon Hydro • www.canyonhydro.com • 60 kW hydro plant

Harris Hydro • 707-986-7771 • Home-scale hydro plant

Hydroscreen • www.hydroscreen.com • Hydro-Shear intake screen

Thomson & Howe Energy Systems Inc. • www.smallhydropower.com/thes.html • Hydro controls & grid-protection panel

Comments (1)

Tim Loree's picture

Thanks Eric, for a very good article.

Show or Hide All Comments

Advertisement

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading