If disaster ever struck, Joe Fleischmann could keep the lights, refrigerator and big-screen TV running in his Orange County home, even if the power company went dark.
Fleischmann is an early adopter of home energy storage: In his garage is a battery strong enough to help keep the essentials in operation.
The home sports a full suite of eco-friendly power equipment — solar panels on his roof as well as battery storage and an electric vehicle charging station in his garage. But even with all his powerful tools, Fleischmann still can’t cut the power cord with Southern California Edison.
Severing ties with the centralized power system — going off the grid — might be a dream of survivalists and some consumers, but the reality is difficult to achieve. The cost of batteries large enough to power air conditioners, a washer, dryer and other big energy guzzlers would imperil most homeowners’ budgets.
“As far as being completely off grid, it’s kind of a foreign thought to me because you’ve always had to rely on the utilities,” Fleischmann said. “We could do that, but at what cost?”