The periodic blackouts in Cassina Tarsia's Oceanside neighborhood meant the 71-year-old couldn't charge her cellphone or electric wheelchair.
But outages aren't a problem anymore.
Since February, Tarsia's garage has housed a suitcase-sized battery that stores power from her rooftop solar panels and the main electrical grid. In a blackout, the battery can power her home for days or even weeks.
"I think about what will happen in a big earthquake and what happened in Japan with the tsunami," said Tarsia, who paid $5,000 to get the battery installed. "I wanted to be prepared."
Tarsia has joined a growing group of pioneering homeowners, government...