What Is Energy Independence? A Quick Overview


Energy independence has become a hot topic in politics in recent years. You may hear many politicians and political organizations speak about how important energy independence is for the future of the United States, however, before we can properly engage in the conversation, we need to understand there are different definitions of energy independence.

For example, there is energy independence on the national level, and then there is energy independence on the residential or personal level. These are two very different ideas, and when most politicians and political organizations are speaking about the need for energy independence, they are almost always referring to national energy independence. 

So, what are the different types of energy independence, why is it important, and how can a homeowner like you achieve it on a personal level? 

Let’s answer these questions as well as discuss some of the main advantages and disadvantages of becoming an energy-independent homeowner. 

What Does Energy Independence Mean?

On a national level, there are two main definitions of energy independence

First, energy independence can be defined as a country being a net exporter of energy commodities such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum products, rather than a net importer. 

The United States achieved this type of energy independence for the first time in 2019.

Second, energy independence is defined by some as a country that does not need to purchase any foreign energy products while at the same time domestically producing all of the energy it needs. This level of energy independence would require a nation to refrain from participating in the global energy market, and for the US and American businesses, this is highly unlikely.

Many businesses in America import oil to refine it into gasoline and diesel fuels and then export it overseas for profit. This is why the second definition of energy independence will never likely come to pass in the United States. 

The US will continue to be a dominant force in the world energy market for both imports and exports. 

What is Personal Energy Independence?

Personal energy independence, also known as off-grid energy independence, is a different use of the term that applies to individual homeowners or other electricity consumers.. 

Personal energy independence occurs  when a home is entirely self-sufficient in meeting all of its energy needs with no reliance on the electricity grid. In the United States, personal energy independence is most commonly achieved through the use of solar power.

As a homeowner, achieving personal energy independence through solar can free you excessively high electricity bills and unpredictable  market fluctuations. Becoming energy independent requires a significant investment but it pays off over the long-term. 

Once your solar payback period is over, the money you save on electricity bills goes directly into your wallet. 

Money saved is money earned!

At the same time, your switch to solar power will contribute to the current transition to renewable energy that is taking place across the globe. 

Energy Independence and Climate Change

Human-made climate change is an existential threat to all life on Earth. Most governments offer significant incentives for switching from on-grid to reliable solar power alternatives to electricity generation. 

(Source: Environmental Protection Agency)

Much of the electricity consumed in the US still comes from burning coal and other fossil fuels. When it comes to electricity generation produces 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US — second only to transportation. 

According to the United Nations, fossil fuels are responsible for “over 75%  of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide (CO2 )emissions.” Achieving the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is a global imperative. Switching to renewable power sources like solar, wind, and hydro for electricity generation is essential to avoiding the catastrophic effects of human-made climate change. 

Many utilities worldwide are switching to renewable power for electricity generation. The International Energy Association estimates that global investment in clean energy production will reach a record $1.7 trillion in 2013. 

Not only that, investment in solar power is expected to exceed investment in oil drilling and processing for the very first time. According to the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2023 Report, “Solar is the star performer and more than $ 1B per day is expected to go into solar investments in 2023 ($380B).”

As an individual, one of the most impactful steps you can take to fight global warming is switching to solar power for some or all of your electricity consumption. 

And next time you’re shopping for a car, make it an EV!

Why Is Energy Independence Important?

On a national level, energy independence is important because it can help decrease dependence on foreign sources of energy while increasing a country’s economic stability and growth. Additionally, energy independence can help better insulate a country from global fluctuations in the energy market. 

On a personal level, energy independence is just as important. Personal energy independence can eliminate dependence on outside sources of power, freeing you from increasing energy costs and potential service interruptions due to extreme weather events and aging grid infrastructure. 

How Do You Achieve Energy Independence?

The most practical way for most individuals and families to achieve energy independence is by switching to solar power for their home electricity needs. 

 Federal and state governments in the US have numerous programs to incentivize people to switch to solar and help wean the country off of fossil fuels. The Federal Government’s Investment Tax Credit (ITC) — now more frequently known as the Federal Solar Tax Credit — has helped make solar power more accessible to more people than ever.

While you can’t get solar panels for free, the ITC can be used to reimburse up to 30% of the total cost of a residential solar installation. Also, depending on where you live, you should have access to a number of state and local incentives to help cover costs as well. 

To achieve personal energy independence through solar power, here are some products you may want to consider.

Whole Home Generator

With EcoFlow’s whole home generator solutions, you can connect up to eight 400W rigid solar panels and integrate them directly into your home’s existing electrical wiring with the EcoFlow Smart Home Panel. With electricity storage capacity that’s expandable up to 25kWh, the whole home generator can support up to 10 home circuits with uninterrupted power even when your solar panels are unable to generate electricity (for example, at night).

EcoFlow DELTA Pro

The EcoFlow DELTA Pro portable power station is the foundation of EcoFlow’s whole home generator solutions. If you’re looking to power only part of your home — such as essential appliances during a blackout — the EcoFlow DELTA Pro is an affordable way to reduce your dependence on the grid.

With 3600W of running watts and 7200W of starting watts (using X-Boost)one  EcoFlow DELTA Pro provides AC electricity output to power just about anything — just everything not all at once. You won’t be able to run your whole house off of one EcoFlow DELTA Pro, but it’s an ideal entry point that you can expand on over time in your quest for energy independence. You can combine multiple units depending on how much AC output you need and expand your storage capacity up to 25 kWh using Smart Extra Batteries

EcoFlow DELTA Pro also has 1,600W of solar input capacity — meaning you can connect up to four 400W rigid solar panels.

400W Rigid Solar Panel

EcoFlow 400W Rigid Solar Panels are ideal for off-grid homeowners looking to generate solar energy for their electricity. The panels are IP68-rated, anti-corrosive, and made to withstand wind speeds of more than 130mph. Installing these Ecoflow 400w Rigid Solar Panels onto a home is quite simple, however, it is still recommended to consult a solar professional to help with installations. The solar professional can also help you determine how many panels you will need to power your home.

Smart Generator Dual Fuel

The EcoFlow Smart Generator (Dual Fuel) is the ultimate last line of defense for off-grid home solar power systems. If you need to charge up your EcoFlow DELTA Pro(s) when solar power is unavailable, the  Smart Generator kicks in automatically (if you want it to). 

Smart Generator Dual Fuel runs on either propane (LPG) or gasoline. You can switch between the two or it can do it automatically depending on your preferences. 

Propane is a fossil fuel, but its much cleaner burning than gas or diesel. If part of the reason you’re switching to solar is out of concern for the environment, take comfort in the fact that propane emits about half the CO2  of gas or diesel generators. 

It’s also extremely fuel efficient. The Smart Generator can fully recharge your EcoFlow DELTA Pro in 2.7 hours — a 40% efficiency gain on other fossil fuel generators charging portable power stations. That means less emissions and lower fuel costs.

You probably won’t use the Smart Generator (Dual Fuel) everyday. But when you need it, it takes your energy independence (and energy security) to the next level. 

What Are The Benefits & Disadvantages of Being Energy Independent?

Being energy independent and producing your own electricity via solar has many benefits. However, there are some disadvantages that need to be considered as well. 

Here are some of the main benefits and disadvantages of going off-grid and becoming energy independent through solar power.


Eliminates Electricity Bills

Generating your own electricity means not needing to pay monthly bills to the power company. Energy bills continue to rise with no end in sight.

Low-To-No Maintenance Costs

Once a solar power system is installed, there is little to no maintenance that needs to be done aside from a periodic inspection and cleaning. Solar panels are highly durable and built to last for 25 years or more.

Government Programs to Help Cover Costs

The Federal government can help pay for up to 30% of your solar installation costs through a write-off you can claim when you file your income taxes. Also,  depending on where you live, there are some additional incentives through state and local governments to help cover costs.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

Switching to off-grid solar power for your residential electricity needs is one of the most impactful things you can do to help in the urgent fight against climate change. Installing a solar power system is a wise investment for your home — and the future of our planet


High Upfront Investment Costs 

The average home solar installation can cost around $16,000 or more depending on the size of your home and your energy needs. Keep in mind that, although you need to cover the costs upfront, you can make your money back over time during the solar payback period. By combining solar incentives with electricity bill savings, you can calculate how long it will take for your solar installation to pay for itself. 

If the upfront cost isn’t doable, many manufacturers offer low-to-no interest financing — and you may still qualify for many government incentives.

Weather dependent 

Consistently cloudy and rainy days can have a substantial impact on the amount of electricity generated through solar panels. Although electricity can still be generated on a cloudy day, the output can drop significantly. 

You can’t control the weather, but you can look up the average peak sun hours in your location, calculate your solar panels’ electricity output,  and ensure you have sufficient storage capacity to get you through periods of extended bad weather.

If you live in an area that has low peak sun hours historically or frequently experiences overcast and rainy weather, the EcoFlow DELTA Smart Generator (Dual Fuel) increases your energy security and helps you make it through dark spells. 

Final Thoughts

Achieving energy independence — especially from fossil fuels — is incredibly important for the future. For the United States, not being reliant on foreign sources of energy is critical for geopolitical strength and economic stability. For individuals, not being reliant on power companies for electricity can save money and prevent untimely service interruptions. For the planet, life could depend on eliminating the burning of fossil fuels.

The key to creating long-lasting energy independence for everyone, is to increase the use of renewable sources of electricity generation. 

With the help of solar power, we can achieve a cleaner and more prosperous future.

If you’re considering making the switch to solar, check out EcoFlow’s award winning off-grid electricity solutions.

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

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