By Ryan Velez
Puerto Rico is still in the midst of a crisis following the hurricanes that devastated it and have still left large chunks of the island without power. As it tries to put itself back together, the island may have help from an unexpected source: Elon Musk. Celebrity Net Worth reports that the billionaire founder of Tesla took to Twitter to say that he may have the means to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid, and could turn it into a model of clean power in the process.
"The Tesla team has [built solar grids] for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too. Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR," Musk tweeted on Thursday, October 5th. To add a bit of clarity to the statement, Musk was referencing the work that Tesla had done on Kauai and American Samoa. Granted, these islands had far smaller populations than Puerto Rico. However, Musk is confident that he can grow this operation to the level where it could provide all of Puerto Rico with power.
Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rossello saw Musk's tweet and jumped in to acknowledge it:
"Let's talk. Do you want to show the world the power of scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project."
To be clear, Tesla’s work would be less to handle the immediate issues and more for the future. Less than 10% of Puerto Rico currently has power. Rossello has estimated that it could take a month to restore power to a fourth of the island’s homes. However, the state-owned electric company says that any homes will be without power for four to six months. Battery and solar power won’t be able to do anything in this regard. However, the plan that Musk is discussing could lead to more long-term sustainable power, and possibly convince other countries around the world of its viability. In the current term, Tesla has sent hundreds of its Powerwell batteries to the island. These solar-powered batteries can be used to help Puerto Ricans get power immediately.