Even from 3,300 miles away through a computer screen, the devastation to Puerto Rico caused by the 150 mph winds of Hurricane Maria on September 20th, was heart-rending to watch. More so, because my son-in-law’s family lives there. As the weeks progressed, nothing seemed to get better. The complete lack of power and fresh water threatened the entire population.
Enter Elon Musk. Tesla’s involvement in Puerto Rico first surfaced a week after the storm, when Tesla employees were on the ground assisting with efforts to connect buildings with power. In addition to Musk’s personal donation of $250,000 to the relief effort, Tesla has sent hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to power solar panels and help restore electricity on the island, as well as company technicians to assist with installation and repairs.
Previously, his Tesla team had successfully extended solar power and battery storage to American Samoa, an island with roughly 1,000 inhabitants. Puerto Rico has a population more than 1,000 times larger, yet Musk insists that there is no scalability limit. Apparently, Musk’s claim hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello responded, with an invitation to talk about making Puerto Rico Tesla’s solar energy “flagship project.” Why not? After all, he’s got the power.
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