I am just about to start a small grid tie hydro system here in Golden Bay and it got me thinking.

This turbine will produce between 2 and 3.5 kW depending on seasonal flow, which equates to between 48 and 84kWHrs/day. The main driver for the installation of this system is heating and cooking loads. Currently the heating is by wood fires, which is also renewable, but requires cutting, drying, splitting and carting wood and countless hours behind the chainsaw over the years. Should the electricity from the turbine go towards heating hot water for radiaters or underfloor heating, running a couple of heatpumps, nightstores or other radiant heaters? The choices are limitless. With a grid tie system, any energy not consumed within the house will be exported, and at present Meridian are offering dollar for dollar. But how long can that last? What guarantees do you have over the lifetime of your hydro system? 25-50 years is a lot to ask of a power company. Using up the onsite generated electricity within your site is the only real sustainable use where you know you are maximising the generation potential. Offsetting your heating and cooking loads for the next 25 or more years sounds pretty good eh? Saying good bye to cutting firewood or paying the power company? Think about it. It does make cents.

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