Tesla has powered smaller islands on solar before, but nothing like this.
Elon Musk may be about to add humanitarian relief worker to his already-impressive resume.
Musk tweeted Thursday that Tesla tsla could help provide a long-term solution to rebuilding Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, which was devastated when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, causing widespread damage and island-wide blackouts. Two weeks after the storm hit, only 9.2% of Puerto Ricans have seen service resume, according to Puerto Rican authorities.
The notion was set off when Scott Stapf of consulting firm The Hastings Group wondered on Twitter twtr whether Musk could help rebuild Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure “with independent solar & battery systems.”
Perhaps to Stapf’s surprise, the billionaire investor and entrepreneur responded in the affirmative:
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. Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 5, 2017
The Tesla CEO wasn’t just speculating: Following its $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity scty in 2016, Tesla installed a network of more than 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpacks and on the island of Ta‘ū in American Samoa that can power the island with 100% clean energy for three consecutive days, according to a promotional video about the endeavor.
Musk has already put his money where his mouth is. In addition to a personal donation of $250,000 to the relief effort, Tesla has also sent hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to power solar panels and help restore electricity on the beleaguered island, as well as company technicians to assist with installation and repairs.
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 energy “flagship project.”