Economic recession and the credit crisis are savaging the wind and solar energy sectors. Installation of both wind and solar power are plummeting by a projected 30-50% this year. Biomass and geothermal are also affected, but less so than the high flying wind and solar industries. Layoffs are rife due to falling sales. Bank financing has dried up, leaving wind and solar developers starved for capital. Where once 18 banks made loans to finance the installation of wind turbines and solar arrays, today only four do so. The Obama administration’s stimulus package will help a little but it will take time to kick in so both industries are retrenching further. Even T. Boone Pickens has delayed his wind farm plan. One silver lining is that the availability of panels and turbines has improved; another is that the price of solar panels has 25% in six months, and is expected to fall another 10% by midsummer. However, homeowners installing solar arrays won’t pocket all those savings, because panels are only about 60% of total installation costs. Both industries are confident that in time they will revive, but nobody is predicting that a recovery will happen soon.
Architecture in recent years has been trying to combat the negative effects of construction on the atmosphere by leaning towards using more sustainable building and construction materials. Building high performance houses are one way that architects have been creating new buildings to reduce the energy used which is