We present a systematic study of the growth of hexagonal ZnO nanotube arrays using a solution chemical method by varying the growth temperature (<100 °C), time and solution concentration. A piezoelectric nanogenerator using the as-grown ZnO nanotube arrays has been demonstrated for the first time. The nanogenerator gives an output voltage up to 35 mV. The detailed profile of the observed electric output is understood based on the calculated piezoelectric potential in the nanotube with consideration of the Schottky contact formed between the metal tip and the nanotube; and the mechanism agrees with that proposed for nanowire based nanogenerator. Our study shows that ZnO nanotubes can also be used for harvesting mechanical energy.