Commercial Hydroelectricity | The Renewable Energy Hub

Commercial Hydroelectricity Projects


Renewable technologies are big business at the moment in many states of the US. From solar and wind farms to small and medium sized hydroelectric plants, the incentives are there to make our contribution to cutting down our reliance of fossil fuels a commercial success.

A large part of this surge in uptake comes from the federal and state incentives that give people the chance to install renewable energy for a lower cost. It is aimed at diverting us to a greener future but it also means that companies that invest in green technologies can see a quicker return on investment than they would do otherwise.

Benefits of Commercial Hydroelectricity Schemes

  • Whilst the scale is different, the benefits for your commercial premises are the same when it comes to hydroelectricity.
  • You get to produce greener electricity that can be fed directly into your business or fed back into the grid and benefit from net metering.
  • Hydroelectric systems are relatively low maintenance and can provide your business with a fair return on investment.

Find out more about the ecological and financial benefits of hydroelectricity.

Incentives for Commercial Hydroelectricity Schemes

There are a range of incentives including the federal tax credit which reduces the cost of buying a hydroelectric system by 30%. Whether state incentives are available depends largely on how the technology is seen in the that particular region. Some states are open to developing new hydroelectric, others need to protect their water ways for agricultural use or from drought.

You can find out about incentives in your state from the DSIRE website.

Farmland and Hydroelectricity

One area that is highly suited to the implementation of hydroelectric technology is our farmland and ranches. Irrigation channels can be used for micro-hydro that can help produce electricity to run entire farms if installed in the right place.

Frequently Asked Questions for Commercial Hydroelectricity

  • Do I need planning permission for commercial hydro? The simple answer is yes you will need planning permission and there will be FERC guidelines as well as state legislation to come to terms with.
  • How do I determine the cost of a commercial hydroelectric project? There are a number of factors that affect the cost of a project of this kind, the primary one being the type of water supply you have and what system will be most suitable. There are also other important issues such as construction, planning and installation. Find out more here.
  • How does the net metering work? You will need a meter that tracks the amount you use and the amount you produce and export to the grid. In a few cases states pay a feed in tariff, in most others the excess electricity you produce is offset against future bills.
  • What are the maintenance issues for commercial hydroelectricity? For larger systems you will need regular inspections and maintenance to ensure that your plant is working to the optimum and also make sure the surrounding area is protected. Find out more here.
  • When will I see a payback on my hydroelectric installation? This is always difficult to gauge because of the various parameters that are involved which include the location and cost of installation and how much energy you generate. As a general rule, larger producing plants tend to pay back quicker than smaller ones. Find out if hydroelectricity is worth it.

Like many renewable power sources, hydroelectricity may well be moving from the large, industrial complexes to smaller, localised micro systems. The difference between this and other technologies is that you need access to fast moving water and a suitable site for installation. But for those who have the finance and the right site, it can provide a valuable renewable resource for a long time into the future as well as offering a significant return on investment.

 Find a micro hydroelectric installer in your state.

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