Power Equation

Hydroelectric potential is governed by the equation below, where the three variables are head, flow, and turbine efficiency.   While head can be approximated as the difference in elevation between the intake and generation site, friction losses must be accounted for in detailed engineering.  Flow can be estimated based on estimates made in the field or from hydrological modeling.  Final engineering requires that flow rates be determined based on long term monitoring of flow and whether the project is for year round or only wet season use.  Turbine efficiency varies as a function of the turbine style used, which itself varies according to differences in head and flow and can range from 55 to as much as 85 per cent.

P = Q x H x C x e

Where P is Power is in Watts and in English units Q is flow rate in gpm, H is head in feet, e is turbine efficiency, typically between 0.5 and 0.85, and C is a units conversion coefficient of 0.18.

Use the form below to enter these values and calculate the hydroelectric power potential in watts.