Elon Musk says project is ‘first of many’ on the disaster struck island.
More than a month after being hit by Hurricane Maria and another major storm, technology company Tesla has restored power at one Children’s Hospital in Puerto Rico using solar energy.
The hospital “is the first of many solar+battery Tesla projects going live in Puerto Rico,” wrote Tesla founder Elon Musk on Instagram. The post included several images of the hospital alongside the electricity generating solar panels. “Glad to help support the recovery,” Musk added.
The Hospital del Nino in San Juan serves approximately 3,000 children around the US territory island and has at least 35 critically ill patients who require care 24 hours a day. For them, the electricity couldn’t have come back on soon enough.
Millions relying on generators
The successful news restoring a permanent electricity supply power at the hospital comes as millions of people in Puerto Rico still continue to rely on domestic and small-scale diesel and gasoline powered generators for electricity. This week, the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority reported that despite working around the clock to restore electricity, its network was only running at 25%.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had tweeted earlier this month that the electric car company’s battery technology could help Puerto Rico rebuild after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and left millions of citizens struggling against the elements without basic necessities.
Speed is key
The speed with which Musk’s company has got power up and running at the hospital has been widely praised, especially as it comes only three weeks after Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Rossello tweeted: “Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities.”
Tesla isn’t the only tech company trying to help Puerto Rico. As we reported earlier in the week, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has deployed balloons from its Project Loon to the territory, to help parts of the island reconnect and establish a temporary communications network.