Wind Power in Arizona
We get asked all the time about wind-generation. Many people love the idea of harvesting energy from the wind that we see around us. We do have experience in building wind-generation systems. Producing power from the wind requires strong, sustained air-flow. Ideally, you want steady winds of 10+ mph for most days of the year. Most locations in the Phoenix metro area do not get enough wind to utilize wind-generators, so we don’t recommend it for our grid-tied customers. Although we do get some strong winds during the summer monsoon storms, there are only a handful of storms a year. Also, monsoon winds tend to be very gusty rather than smooth. If the wind blows too hard, you have to shut down your turbine to protect it.
If you are trying be energy independent, it might still make sense to be able to produce some power at night or on cloudy days. Due to the intermittent nature of wind power in many areas, it makes the most sense for solar systems that already have large batteries. Another consideration is that if your batteries are full and the wind is still blowing strong, there is a risk of damaging your system with too much power. Diversionary loads must be planned ahead of time and built into the system. Heating water by shunting the power through a resistor is a common diversionary load. These considerations increase the cost and complexity of building a wind power system beyond what people think about when they see a windmill.
There are many outlying areas of Arizona and small area micro-climates that do get lots of wind, and wind-generation could make a lot of sense if you live in one of those areas.