What are some of the pros and cons of having your own hydroelectric system? I wrote a little about my own system in a previous article, "Here Are Some Ways to Make Your Own Power," but if you're specifically looking into hydroelectric, you're going to want to take a deeper dive into the topic.
Keep this in mind: this is "small-scale" power generation – so you don't have to do a "dam" thing! Leave it to beaver!
Seriously, anyone with even a modicum of electrical know-how, basic skills with construction and carpentry, and the desire to do it can make their own hydroelectric system work. The actual mechanics of it are going to vary for you, depending on your budget and the factors we're about to discuss. Let's do it!
Water, water, not everywhere, to refute Coleridge's poem. We're going through a nationwide drought, so:
1. Make sure you have a reliable, dependable water source.
You don't want to invest a lot of money in a system only to find your source dry up on you. The water source needs to be permanent, and you also need to be able to have either a natural "drop-off" point or you'll have to build one. We'll go into that shortly.
The next one is a "biggie," as we haven't had a catastrophic event yet that throws the yoke off of our necks.
2. Is it legal/permitted?
Here in Montana, the U.S. Department of the Interior, along with HHS (Health and Human Services) and the Treasury Department, are getting ready to force anyone in the western half of Montana – with the IRS as their enforcing "authority" – to turn over all of their water rights to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The Senate signed a "Treaty" with the Indian Tribes in 2015 that expands the 19th-century document (upholding the tribal rights of fishing and water use).
Now, their updated treaty gives them all of the water – hands over all of the rights to it.