E3A Micro-hydro: Equipment and Installer Selection and Costs

Editor’s note
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CoverDeveloped by Montana State University Extension and the University of Wyoming
Adapted with permission

This guide is one in the Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives (E3A): Micro-hydropower for the Home, Farm or Ranch series. Selecting the right equipment for your location is crucial to the success of a hydropower system. Although waterwheels are still available today, most micro-hydropower systems use turbines. Turbines turn when moving water comes in contact with turbine blades, which in turn spin a shaft connected to a generator. Two main types of turbines are used for micro-hydro systems: impulse and reaction. Each turbine has a different design that makes it better suited for high- or low-head applications. This guide describes these two turbine designs and discusses costs and incentives for a micro-hydro system.


  • Financial incentives
  • High-head systems
  • Impulse turbines
  • Low-head systems
  • Micro-hydro system costs
  • Reaction turbines


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