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Solar Savings For Veterans With VA Energy Efficient Mortgages

Originally published on Cost of Solar.

Memorial Day reminds Americans of the millions who have served in uniform over the years. Almost everyone knows a soldier, past or present. Education, health care, home loans, and other benefits accrue as each military employee serves out his or her term. But did you know that military service also offers every vet enhanced real estate value with home solar credit for improvements that boost energy efficiency and save a lot of money?

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You’ve heard Cost of Solar reveal the many benefits of rooftop solar systems. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has yet another one here. Veterans can qualify for a lot more than the cost of their homes from the Energy Efficient Mortgage provisions built into the government’s Energy Star program.

From the website: “An Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is a mortgage that credits a home’s energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans, thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.”

To obtain home solar credit through an EEM, the VA borrower hires a home energy rater to assess the property’s current energy efficiency. If you’re a veteran and considering buying a home, ask your lender about the VA’s energy-efficient mortgages.

Here are a few ways veterans and their families can profit from bundling home solar credit via an energy efficiency loan with their traditional mortgage.

Improve your building’s energy performance. Your energy-efficient mortgage can use a number of power-saving technologies to improve your home’s energy efficiency. These include making your heating, cooling, ventilation, and other systems work to their highest design specifications in terms of speed and efficiency.

Reduce monthly utility bills. Some homeowners who install solar panels actually cut their monthly utility bills in half! They save thousands of dollars annually and quickly pay back the renewable investment. Creative financing is now available so that homeowners can either lease a solar system (under a variety of plans) or purchase it to save money in the long run. Many utilities offer ways to sell back the extra power you generate to the grid. Although these options vary company-by-company and from state to state, they are becoming more common as people begin to realize the hidden costs of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Make an investment that keeps paying dividends and adds to the value of a property. Unlike many manufactured high-tech items from cars to computers, your renewable and efficiency-boosting investments have a long lifetime built right in. This means that not only do you receive the immediate benefits you’re looking for, but these dividends actually increase over time and add value instead of heading for obsolescence the first day off the assembly line. As the MIT Energy Initiative’s Future of Solar Energy study described here recently reports, our investments in solar panels now will still be paying dividends 35 years from now—something you can’t say about a lot of other home appliances!

Reprinted with permission.

 
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Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

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