Elon to the Rescue?

Tesla CEO says he wants to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid from scratch

Elon Musk continues to evoke pondering over whether he is human or an aspiring superhero.

In his latest installment, Musk publicly stated interest in rebuilding Puerto Rico’s demolished electrical grid from the ground up—using solar energy—in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The Tesla and SolarCity CEO has a history of championing the underprivileged and less fortunate, but with this task he would attempt to do so with business interests afoot, as well.

In response to Musk’s declaration, Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rossello promptly responded that he was open to talks. The country has been without thorough electricity for almost a month now, and has struggled to obtain the aid necessary for recovery. With Musk’s offering, that process could be expedited.

Details of the proposal were scarce when Musk first casually announced it last Thursday, October 5, but Mr. Musk reportedly followed up the next day by initiating a shipment of battery installations (Tesla’s ‘Powerwall’ products) and teams with them to the island. Multiple news outlets confirmed that at least some members of these teams did actually arrive on the island since last Friday’s tweet. Beyond that, developments regarding the project are purely speculative at the moment.

When Musk referenced having “done this in the past for many smaller islands” he was likely referring to projects in Hawaii and American Samoa. In March 2017, Tesla completed a 50-acre, ‘Powerpack’-equipped solar farm on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. That project is capable of powering 4,500 homes, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Prior to that, the electric automaker-slash-renewable energy supplier celebrated its acquisition of SolarCity on November 22 of last year with a project blanketing a 17-square-mile island in American Samoa. Puerto Rico would be a different story. The Caribbean island stretches 3,515 square miles and is home to 3.4 million people.

As events and/or conversations develop with the matter, we will keep you updated accordingly. Flagship tech companies Facebook and Alphabet, Inc. (Google’s parent company) have also announced aid efforts for the U.S. territory.

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