Rainbow Power 300W Hydro Generator

Australian company Rainbow Power offer a great 300 Watt hydro power generator system for small scale Pico-hydro projects. This unit can be used to charge a 12 or 24 Volt battery bank.

Rainbow Power Company Micro Hydro Power Generator

The HYD-200 is a low maintenance long service life micro hydro generator available in 12V and 24V models. The unit has just one moving part (the turbine impeller – a pelton wheel) which runs on two standard and easy to replace bearings.

A head of at least 7 metres (and up to 150 metres) is required with a flow of up to 4 litres per second. (check out our hydro power calculator to work out how much electrical power can be extracted from water for different flow and head values.)

The hydro generator (a three-phase 415V induction motor) puts out voltages in excess of 350 Volts AC. This is then rectified and regulated to bring it down to 12.5-16.5 volts DC (in the case of the 12 volt unit) by the controller which also acts as the battery charger.

High voltages can be transmitted over long distances with very small losses so the battery bank and controller / regulator / battery charger can be placed in an easily accessible location and connected to the hydro generator by a run of very inexpensive regular 1.5 sq.mm 3-phase cable.

Flow regulating nozzles for hydro power generator

Every hydro site is different, so the HYD-200 comes complete with a set of jet nozzles (pictured above) to optimise power generation on a site by site basis to match different flow rates and heads. The lower the head, the smaller the nozzle selected to maximise water pressure. There is also a speed dial on the controller which can be adjusted to ensure the turbine turns at an optimal speed – not so fast that water shoots straight through the wheel, but not so slow it bounces back off it.

Hydro power installation in Fiji generating 5 Amps

Hydro Power Generator Prices and Information

The HYD-200 is available for AUS$3300 (around £1300) in Australia, but UK and other international purchasers must also factor in costs of shipping and customs duty etc. Rainbow Power Company ship their products worldwide and offer discounts on bulk purchases.

At an average power output of 150 Watts payback time for this system would be around 17 years not including the costs of purchasing and maintaining the battery bank. This means that this power limited system is best suited to off-grid and remote locations.

In terms of price per installed Watt the costs of installing the 300 Watt HYD-200 are similar to those of a 300 Watt solar system however a hydro power system will usually run for 24 hours per day every day rather than just a few hours per day and the hydro power system will therefore generate many times more electricity.

Basic HYD-200 Hydro Generator details are available here on the Rainbow Power Company website. The HYD-200 hydro generator manual (PDF) can also be viewed online and is packed with useful information whether you plan to purchase the HYD-200 or install any other micro hydro generator.