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    Harris Micro Hydro Generator

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    Made in the USA!

    The Harris micro-hydro generator is an efficient, durable battery charging pelton turbine.   It utilizes a cast bronze pelton wheel in a cast aluminum housing, and is designed for high head (20 to 600 feet), lower flow (4 to 250 gpm) applications. (Head is the elevation change top end of pipe to bottom.) It is especially well suited to produce usable power from springs and creeks that are too small to sustain the same level of useful power from a conventional A.C. generating system.


    • Field strength (and therefore the output) is site-adjustable by a large rheostat. The built-in ammeter shows the immediate effects of adjusting the field.
    • The Permanent Magnet alternator eliminates brushes and rotating field coils.
    • An output-optimizing circuit automatically adjusts for best output under any flow rate.
    • The P.M. alternator delivers slightly more wattage under most operating conditions.
    • The rugged turbine wheel is a one-piece Harris casting made of tough silicon bronze.
    • Little maintenance required
    • Very Reliable – The failure rate of these turbines is about zero.
    • Harris turbines utilize Ford automotive alternators, keeping the price reasonable and making spare parts available from your local auto parts store.

    How It Works

    Water is collected upstream from the turbine and channeled through a pipe down to the turbine location. As a rule the greater the head, (the difference in elevation between the collection point and the turbine is called the head) the better. At the turbine, the water passes through a nozzle where it accelerates, strikes the turbine runner, and turns the alternator. Harris turbines require very little water flow to run efficiently and produce significant power output, as long as there is sufficient dynamic head. (Other types of wheels and propellers handle water sites with less head and more flow volume.)

    The DC power generated by the micro-hydro turbine steadily charges your battery bank (12, 24, or 48 volt) for future use.  These small systems operate 24 hours a day collecting energy, a little at a time, to be delivered “on demand” from the batteries as the need dictates. The rest of the power system is the same as those used with off-grid wind power.  An inverter can be used to convert the DC electricity to household AC power, and a diversion load is used to burn off excess power when the battery bank is full.

    How Much Power Will It Produce?

    Performance depends mostly on your site. Greater water pressure at the nozzle, produced by more head, brings more power. Greater water volume (gallons per minute) onto the wheel also brings more power. The 12 volt model can produce up to 700 watts, 24 volt models can produce up to 1400 watts, and 48 volt models can produce up to 2500 watts of power, depending on site head and flow rates. Sites with higher head are most desirable because they need less water, smaller pipe, fewer nozzles, cost less to install, and fare better in low water years.  If output is more than 500 watts the PM brushless alternator should have the optional Fan Kit.

    For more information on determining output of Harris Hydro units, please see the specification sheet attached at the bottom of this page - Click here to go to bottom of page.

    Which Harris Micro-Hydro Generator Do I Need?

    Harris Hydro Turbines are custom built to your site specifications to optimize output. Pipe size, number and size of nozzles, and choice of alternator depend on measurements of your site. Turbines with one to four nozzles are available. Nozzle sizes are from 3/16″ to 1/2″. Three nozzle sizes are supplied per installed nozzle. Since there are so many combinations of water volume and head, it is best to contact us and describe your site.

    We’ll Need to Know:

    • Head – What is the elevation change (from intake to the turbine) over the length of the pipe?
    • How many gallons per minute flow, minimum and maximum? Are there any seasonal variations in flow?
    • What size, type, and length of pipe? (if it is already installed)  Be sure to note any bends/elbows.
    • Wire distance from hydro plant (lower end of creek) to the home?

    System Cost

    A complete micro hydro system with Harris turbine, charge controller, batteries and inverter will cost around $4000 – $6000 plus the pipeline and installation.

    Harris Hydro Turbines are built-to-order. Lead time is typically 4-6 weeks.

    Go to More About Harris Hydro

    Harris Micro-Hydro Complete Systems
    Description Price
    Single Nozzle, Permanent Magnet Alternator $1,850.00
    Two Nozzle, Permanent Magnet Alternator $1,950.00
    Four Nozzle, Permanent Magnet Alternator $2,200.00

    Harris Hydro Complete System Lead Time: All Harris Hydro units are assembled to order. Please allow 4-6 weeks from placement of order for your order to ship.


    Harris Hydro Accessories & Parts
    Description Price
    Fan Kit $70.00
    PM Alternator $1,150.00
    Nozzle Tubes $25.00
    Nozzles $7.50
    Bronze Pelton Runner $310.00
    Cast Aluminum Base (Unmachined) $230.00

    Weights and Dimensions:

    • Base –  12″ x 12″
    • Height –  8″
    • Weight –  25 lbs.

    More About Harris Micro-Hydro Generators

    A 4-nozzle P.M. (Permanent Magnet) Generator-Equipped Turbine

    The multiple nozzle arrangement allows considerably more water to impact the runner, resulting in greater output at any head, and usable power at a much lower head. All turbines include an output-optimizing circuit allowing maximum efficiency at any flow rate. Multi-nozzle systems include PVC penstock and individual ball valves on each nozzle.

    The pelton type runner is a lost wax cast of silicon bronze. The wheel is 70-90% efficient, depending upon nozzle size and head. The bucket shape allows high efficiency for nozzles and provides a flow range of over 100:1. The wheel has a hydraulic diameter of just over 4.0″ and each wheel is individually balanced.

    Adjustable Strength Permanent Magnet Rotor Advantages

    Historically small alternators have had either wound electromagnetic fields or fixed strength permanent magnet fields. Wound fields have a 3% to 5% loss in efficiency from electricity used to run the coil, as well as brush maintenance and coil failure problems.

    Fixed PM (permanent magnet) fields are efficient at one flux density only and cannot be changed. In many applications (i.e. small hydroelectric generators) the load requirements change and the corresponding field flux density should change.

    Previous attempts at variable strength PM rotors have been (a) iron shunting the magnets; (b) pancake-type generator with disk rotor that the air gap is varied to control field strength.  The result was:

    a)  Iron shunting has been limited to low flux density because not enough iron surface is available to magnetic induction and multiple air gaps required.

    b)  Air gap variation has had very low efficiency at large air gaps because of flux leakage into unwanted conductors resulting in high eddy current losses.

    What Makes Harris Hydro Different?

    Harris Hydro turbines use a stationary magnetic control circuit that allows the flux density in the rotor to be adjusted while the alternator is operating. This allows peak power point tracking and more convenient operation.  The rotor design has the advantage of being very efficient at all flux densities because the flux path remains within the rotor at all reduced flux levels, not allowing eddy current losses in the stator or other conductors. Further, the iron pole piece can be easily shaped to optimize the wave form output of the alternator.

    The simple rotor can be adjusted by rotating one ring of magnets with respect to the iron pole pieces and the other magnet ring i.e. a rotation of one pole piece will change flux density from full to null.

    Another advantage of this rotor design is the rotor pole piece, which interacts with the stator, can be made of low eddy current materials and can be laminated, increasing alternator efficiency.


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