Elon Musk suggests Tesla can fix Puerto Rico’s electricity grid with solar energy

In this April 30, 2015 file photo, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk speaks in Hawthorne, Calif. AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Elon Musk, billionaire and CEO of electric car-maker Tesla, suggested that he and his team can help rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s electrical system.

Musk floated the idea of helping Puerto Rico after he was asked on social media whether he could rebuild the power gird using solar energy and battery systems.

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“The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico, too,” Musk responded on Twitter Thursday. “Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR.”

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Puerto Rico was hammered by two hurricanes last month, while Maria left the entire island and its 3.4 million residents without power and destroyed 80 per cent of its transmission and distribution infrastructure, according to the Department of Energy.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello got wind of Musk’s suggestion and responded on Twitter saying “let’s talk.”

“Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project,” Rossello said.

Musk responded saying he would be “happy to talk.”

“Hopefully, Tesla can be helpful,” Musk said.

Tesla worked on a similar project earlier this year by helping Hawaii’s Kauai Island Utility Cooperative boost its solar capacity using Tesla Powerpacks at a solar farm.

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The Tesla Powerpacks stored enough power to service 4,500 homes during peak night demand with storage of 52 megawatts of power.

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Tesla, meanwhile, is sending hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to Puerto Rico to provide emergency help in the wake of Maria.

Last week, Rossello said his team is looking at alternative ways to bring power back on the island, including by using microgrids, small power networks that can work independently of the main grid.

with files from Reuters

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