Tesla Is Helping Puerto Rico Get Power After Hurricane Maria

September 28, 2017, 8:57 PM UTC

Eight days ago, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm causing widespread damage and knocking out electrical power to the entire island of 3.5 million residents. As soon as the storm passed, Tesla began sending hundreds of Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels to the devastated island in an effort to restore electric power there.

And the shipments of Powerwall battery systems are continuing, a Tesla spokesman confirmed.

The Powerwall, which was first introduced in April 2015, is a battery designed for homes that store the energy generated by solar panels.

Tesla employees are currently in Puerto Rico working on installations of the battery systems and installing or repairing solar there. The employees are coordinating efforts with local organizations.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also personally donated $250,000 to the relief effort.

More: How to Help Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Numerous companies, including many automakers have pledged money to support hurricane relief efforts in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, in Florida from Hurricane Irma, and now Puerto Rico. Other companies are offering direct help in restoring power and telecommunications.

For example, Facebook has dispatched a “connectivity team” to supply emergency telecommunications support to Puerto Rico, much of which has been rendered a communications black spot.

Tesla previously extended help to Hurricane Irma victims who own its electric cars. After a request from one Tesla owner preparing to evacuate as Hurricane Irma barreled towards Florida, the automaker pushed out a temporary software update to extend the battery range. Tesla didn’t just accommodate the one Florida resident. Instead, the company decided to extend the battery range for all Model S and Model X cars with 60-kilowatt hour and 70-kwh battery packs. The packs were expanded to 75kwh capacity.

Puerto Rico still has no power on the island. Generators are providing electricity to only high-priority sites such as hospitals, leaving millions without access to basic needs that power provides.