We’ve been delighted by the enthusiastic response to the news that the hydro is now operational with many requests for visits from local residents, council groups and other community groups interested in setting up their own community owned hydro schemes.
Our only disappointment is that visitors are currently unable to see the screw turning as river flows are such that we are rarely generating. The summer time is always expected to be a low generation time for river hydro, with peak generation expected in winter. This is one reason why it is a such a good complementary technology to solar whose peak generation is summer time.
As well as having less rain fall, the river flow is affected by the fact that trees are in leaf, so take up more of the water in the soil, so less reaches the rivers.
This seasonal variation is built into our business model, which uses several years of flow data to predict overall annual generation levels. During project development we also took the decision to switch to a variable speed screw (from the fixed speed screw in the original plans) which will enable us to operate more efficiently during times of lower flow. We are currently exploring how we can give real time data about generation levels on the website so people can see when we are generating and pop down see it in action. Watch this space!