Coolest Buildings in the USA That Use Solar Power

Although solar power may seem rare, it's actually incorporated into more buildings than most people realize. Countless buildings around the USA use solar power. Here are the coolest examples of structures that take advantage of solar panels’ efficiency and style, as well as beneficial incentive programs.

The White House

It's impossible to overlook what might just be the coolest example of USA solar power use on this list: The White House! The White House had its 32 solar panels installed during Jimmy Carter's administration in 1979. Although they were removed by Ronald Reagan, they were reinstalled by Barack Obama in 2010, and are still a fixture of the building. It's obvious that the government backs solar power, considering the opportunity for rebates on solar power with tax credits

The Science Pyramid at the Denver Botanic Gardens

This jagged, somewhat strange looking structure that is powered by solar panels was inspired by the tectonic shifts that formed the Rocky Mountains. The solar panels are incorporated into its unique, hexagonal tiles, giving it a futuristic look.

Stanford University Central Energy Facility

Stanford's gorgeous Central Energy Facility incorporated style and precision into the installation of their solar panels. In fact, many people probably don't even realize that what appears to be a shade trellis covering the building is actually a set of solar panels that power the entire building.

The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground

The Kathleen Grimm School, located in New York City's Staten Island, is the city's first net-zero campus. It incorporates energy efficient systems and solar panels in a unique style, and, through this, managed to get the listing as New York City's most environmentally friendly school.

J. Craig Venter Institute

Many scientists are pushing the need for increased use of renewable energy, so it only makes sense that a biological lab would make it onto this list. This laboratory earned a prestigious AIA green building award for the solar array on its rooftop, which overproduces power for the grid.

Solar power has proven itself time and again to be energy efficient, but these buildings are proving that it can also be unique, stylish, and increase the value of a property.

Three Reasons to Switch to Solar Power

You've probably heard that solar energy can save you money and is a greener form of power. But is it worth it to switch? Here are three of the most impressive benefits of solar power.

1. Substantial Cost Savings

Can solar power completely eliminate your electric bill? That depends on how many panels you opt to install. Each solar panel provides additional kilowatt savings, so the more panels, the less you'll have to rely on electricity. The average American stands to save more than $20,000 over 20 years. In certain states, including New Jersey and California, the local energy company pays those who qualify for tax credit for the energy their solar panels generate.

2. Tax Credits

Although solar energy is an investment, the cost is offset by a federal tax credit of 30 percent for homeowners who install solar panels, with no cap on the total credit. Some states and municipalities also have their own incentive programs, so you could stand to save even more money.

3. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If you're concerned about the Earth, solar energy is one of the most effective ways to do your part. The average home is responsible for 7.43 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions; homes that use solar panels reduce that to just 1.41 metric tons within the first year.

With benefits like these, there's no better time to consider the switch to solar.

Swim All Year with Solar Water Heaters

Adding solar panels to your pool is a great way to extend your family's swimming season without the large energy bills associated with electric and gas heaters. Here are three key benefits of heating your backyard pool using a solar water heater.

1. Rebates and Tax Credits

In addition to the low operating cost of solar water heaters, homeowners who install this technology are eligible for certain tax benefits. Specifically, the federal tax credit provides a 30% rebate for solar water heaters purchased through 2019, 26% through 2020, and 22% for 2021. Depending on your location, state and local incentives may also be available.

2. Return on Investment

For homeowners in most of the United States, a pool can only be used in the summer. Solar water heaters can effectively extend the swimming season—sometimes for the entire year—for an average cost of just 10 percent of your initial investment in the pool.

3. Durable Equipment

Solar water heaters often last up to 20 years, compared to just five to seven years for a traditional gas heater. And while gas heaters need to be serviced every year, very little maintenance is needed for pool solar panels.

Increase your family fun, develop a water-based exercise routine, and have the cool house in the neighborhood with a pool that's comfortably warm throughout the year.