Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory located over a thousand miles south of Florida is experiencing a humanitarian crisis.
For several years, the island had been going through severe autherity measures to pay its ballooning debt. The devastation caused by Hurricane Irma made its situation worst. Moody’s Analytics estimated that the damages from the hurricane could cost as much as $95 billion.
Currently, Puerto Ricans feel that they are still in the middle of storm. They are suffering from severe food shortage, lack of drinking water, infrastructure damages, and widespread power outage.
An update regarding the situation in Puerto Rico showed that 55.5% of residents have access to drinking water and only 10.7% of the island has electricity as of Friday, October 6. It would be difficult for the U.S. to rebuild and recover if its power grid are down.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Gov. Rosello stated that it is impossible to fix the island’s poorly maintained and dilapidated power grid.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company can rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid.
In a post of Twitter on Thursday, Musk wrote, “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,” added Musk.
On Friday, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosello responded that he likes to discuss the matter with Musk. The governor tweeted, “Let’s talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your Tesla Technologies? Puerto Rico could be that flagship project”.
In response, Musk tweeted, “I would be happy to talk. Hopefully, Tesla can be helpful.”
Tesla buit a solar power plant that generates 13 megawatts of electricity in the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The project involved a combination of solar panels for power generation and giant battery packs for energy storage. The company also built a solar power plant in the island of Ta’u in American Samoa.
Kauai and Ta’u are much smaller islands than Puerto Rico. I believe Tesla has the ability to build a solar power plant that fits the need of Puerto Ricans. Musk already said, “there is no scalability limit.” The only question is, how much will it cost to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid? One thing is certain, Puerto Ricans need help to recover from the catastrophe.