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Home Battery Storage Walls Growing In Popularity, And Utilities Are Working With Customers To Utilize Them

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- There is a new way to back up your home electricity, and it's not with a generator.

Battery storage walls are growing in popularity, and now some power companies are tapping into their clean energy, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday.

When Joel Peskoff lost power to his Plainview home, he also lost his prized tropical fish.

He wanted backup power going forward. Now he has two power walls in his basement -- large batteries, charged by solar roof panels, that provide clean backup power.

"It's like a generator, but it's self-perpetuating because the next day when the sun comes out, it's charging up the batteries again," Peskoff said.

When the electrical grid goes out he's got power, and, in turn, when PSEG Long Island is strained during peak usage, the utility can draw power from the home batteries.

"When you can shut down a fossil fuel plant or not turn it on during peak times and use power from the sunlight, it benefits everybody," said PSEG Long Island's Bob Boerner.

Utilities like it because it makes the grid cleaner and more reliable. The Karps of Ronkonkoma like their $10-a-month electric bills.

"Yes, there is a loan to pay off the solar panels and the batteries, but after seven years, I'm done, and then I own it," Brian Karp said.

They recently lost power for days and battery storage kept the lights and internet on.

NYSERDA, New York's energy agency, is offering rebates to homes with solar paired with battery storage. There are also tax credits.

Mike Voltz, yes, that's his real name, is with PSEG Long Island.

"We can call upon those customers to help support the grid and help PSEG Long Island with overall reliability for all of our customers," Voltz said.

Customers get paid $100-$200 per year for selling energy back to the utility.

"That's my benefit, but, of course, the overall benefit to society and the world is that we are not burning and putting carbon into the air," Peskoff said.

Tapping into home battery systems is a new concept being used by utilities around the nation. There are $3 million in rebates now for another 1,000 Long Island homes to sign on.

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