Pico hydro Documents


The documents available from this page are produced through the work of professional engineers. However, these are guidelines and not legal standards. Neither the authors, nor the web-site editor can be held responsible for accident or damage caused by carrying out work according to information from this site. If in doubt, always consult a professionally qualified person.

As part of a previous project, a series of pico hydro newsletters were produced - in total 9 issues between 1997 and 2001. It is planned to scan these and put them on the web site. We have a few printed copies left which we may be able to send to organizations in developing countries. Please email us if you wish to enquire.

Case Studies : Nepal & Kenya

Nepal Case Study - Details of the design, implementation and lessons learnt from a 4kW pico hydro scheme, in 4 parts:

The Pico Power Pack (see below for Manufacturing Guidelines)

Installation and Performance

Electrical Distribution, Safety and Costs

Community and Financial issues - lessons learnt after running the scheme

The Kenyan schemes at Kathamba and Thima were recongized as examples of good practice in sustainable technology by the Ashden Awards in 2004. There is also a paper published about these schemes in the Journal of Renewable Energy.

Kenya Case Study 1 - Design and implementation of a 1.1 kW pico hydro serving 65 households.

Case Study 1a: Kathamba – getting water to the power house

Case Study 1b: Kathamba – power house and distribution system

Kenya Case Study 2 - Design and implementatoin of a 2.2 kW pico hydro serving 110 households.

Case Study 2a: Thima – getting water to the power house

Case Study 2b: Thima – power house and distribution system


Manuals and Design Guide

Propeller Turbine Design Guide - this describes how to design a pico turbine suitable for 2 - 10 m heads. This design guide is to be used alongside the calculation spreadsheets listed below. It is intended to be used by turbine design engineers and small manufacturers all over the world who want a low head turbine design suitable for rural electrification.

Low Head Design Spreadsheet (overall design spreadsheet)

Coefficients (gives lift and drag coefficients for constant thickness blades)


Water Power for a Village Business - Initial Advice and Ideas to Help You Explore Opportunities for Harnessing Power from Streams and Rivers. This booklet by Adam Harvey and Nigel Smith is in three parts:

Section 1: How to get started: 2 examples from Latin America

Section 2: More examples from around the world

Sections 3 & 4: What is pico hydro and how to measure the power available at your site.

Pico Hydro for Village Power - A Practical Design and Installation Manual for Schemes up to 5kW in Hilly and Mountainous Areas. This manual, by Phil Maher and Nigel Smith, is in seven sections so that the files are smaller for downloading. There is also a version in Spanish.

Chapters 1 - 6: Introduction and Planning

Chapters 7 & 8: Site survey and Designs

Chapter 9: Generating Electricity

Chapter 10: Flow Management

Chapters 11 & 12: Penstock and Powerhouse

Chapters 13 & 14: Loads and Distribution System

Chapters 15 - 22: Wiring, Protection, Testing, Operation etc.

Pico Power Pack - A Practical Guide to the Design and Manufacture of a Versatile Turbine-Generator Unit for Use in Mountainous Areas. The Manufacturing Guideline by Phil Maher is in four parts:

Part 1: Introduction, Equipment, Runner Design

Part 2: Photo guide to Runner Manufacture

Part 3: Frame, Nozzle and Casing Assembly

Part 4: Further explanation and Engineering Drawings


Pico Hidro - Potencia para Aldeas  (Un Versión Español del Primero Manual para Instalacionies de hasta 5kW). Pico hidro Potencia para Aldeas es en siete articulos. Traduccion par Rebecca Leaf de ADTER-BL (Nicaragua).

Capitulo 1 – 6: Introduccion y Planificacion

Capitulo 7 y 8: Levantamiento y Esquema

Capitulo 9: Generacion de Electricidad

Capitulo 10: Manejo del Caudal de Agua

Capitulo 11 y 12: La Tuberia y la Casa de Maquinas

Capitulo 13 y 14: Las Cargas y el Sistema de Distribucion

Capitulo 15 – 22: Alambrado, Proteccion, Pruebas, Operacion, etc.

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