So Lets Change

Clearly the world needs a new blueprint for development and change. Alternative energy is definitely part of this new blueprint. At least, there is now some groundwork in this field that proves its viability . This, alone, is an accomplishment. This magazine will help in a technological and philosophical exchange of ideas. Home Power is a forum for small scale alternative energy. Right now there is no other publication that seriously addresses the requirements and interests of people involved in personal power production. We need a higher profile if we hope to be one of the keepers of the light.

It is unclear why home-sized water power, in particular, is so little known. It is true that other forms of comparable energy sources receive far more attention. The supreme reliability of photovoltaics and the romance of wind power are well established. Somehow the use of residential sized hydro-power has been largely overlooked. Part of this is likely due to the sound of the output figures. Although a water power system may produce 100 watts of power 24 hour per day, it sounds like so much less than a PV (or wind) system that has a peak output of 1,000 or 2,000 watts. Yet the water system could easily produce more total power output over a given time span. And be much cheaper.

I read recently in a magazine (New Shelter) a comparison of three types of alternative energy systems. It was stated that "experts agree" that a hydro site capable of less than 500 watts continuous output is simply not worth bothering with. It is safe to say that a wind or PV system with this level of output would be at least a five figure investment. My own household operates on a maximum of 100 watts of continuous power input and runs quite successfully on less when water flow drops. Please understand that all forms of alternative energy technology are site specific. At any given location there may be compelling factors that favor one form. This site specific nature still doesn't explain the low proliferation of water power.

This discussion does not imply competition between the various forms of alternative energy. The situation is one of cooperation rather than competition. Many times more than one type of power generation can be used to produce a hybrid system that is both more reliable in output and more cost effective than a single source. The point being made is simply that the very useful source of water power should not be overlooked.

So far no large business has attempted to develop the personal sized hydro market. The advantage to the small manufacturer like myself, of course, is that we can still remain in business. The small hydro market has such a low profile that raising it by any means would probably be helpful to all involved. At present, none of the few small manufacturers has the business machinery to aggressively promote their product or to greatly increase production if it was required. The industry is in its infancy.

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