The basics of power from water is the result of conversion of potential energy (the water body at a certain height which is known as the "Head") to kinetic energy (a flow which is known as "Discharge" down the pipe) which is transferred to the buckets in the turbine (mechanical energy). It is the prime mover for the generator (electrical energy) which produces electricity.
Essentially power from a small hydro potential site is derived from two parameters, head and discharge .
Pico hydro is hydro power with a maximum electrical output of ten kilowatts. Hydro power systems of this size benefit in terms of cost and simplicity from different approaches in the design, planning and installation than those which are applied to larger hydro power. Recent innovations pico hydro technology have made it an economic source of power even in some of the worlds poorest and most inaccessible places. It is also a versatile power source. AC electricity can be produced enabling standard electrical appliances to be used and the electricity can be distributed to a whole village. Common examples of devices which can be powered by pico hydro are light bulbs, radio’s, televisions, refrigerators and food processors. Mechanical power can be utilised with some designs. This is useful for direct drive of machinery such as workshop tools, grain mills and other agro-processing equipment. This manual explains how to select and install pico hydro systems for hilly and mountainous locations.
Rural electrification is required to improve the subsistence of individuals that are located where centralized power grids do not reach. It is a known fact that India is very rich in water resources from where we can harness enough water for irrigation and huge amount of electricity. To harness electricity many big hydropower plants and irrigation projects are in the process of development. But there are numerous villages in India far away from reach of electrical grid connection system. Such villages are located in difficult terrain and high altitude having numerous small water resources such as rivulets, ponds, small rivers and springs. In most of these villages life is difficult due to high altitude but the same high altitude can prove as a boon if even a small water source is available there. There are numerous such sources having adequate height and flow rate for feasibly developing multipurpose pico hydropower project. Pico hydro, hydro systems of 5 kW capacity or less, can address this need at relatively low cost and with virtually no environmental or social impacts.