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An aerial photo from Puerto Rico after the hurricane | © U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr
An aerial photo from Puerto Rico after the hurricane | © U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr
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Elon Musk Says He Can Fix Puerto Rico’s Power Problem

Picture of Peter Ward
Tech Editor
Updated: 6 October 2017
Renewable energy and space entrepreneur Elon Musk says he can rebuild Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure with his solar power technology.

Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island within U.S. territory, was smashed by Hurricane Maria in September, and currently only 5 percent of the population has electricity.

The response from U.S. President Donald Trump has drawn plenty of criticism, and his administration has even apparently sought to conceal the extent of the suffering in Puerto Rico. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deleted statistics from its websites about the number of people without power and access to clean water, at the same time White House spokespeople have claimed that the relief efforts are a “good news story.”

Against this backdrop, Musk said on Twitter that his Tesla technology is already being used to power smaller islands, and that it would be possible to scale it up for Puerto Rico. The island’s governor Ricardo Rossello replied via the social network: “Let’s talk.”

The two then set up a time to talk the next day. Tesla has already reportedly sent hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems to the island and engineers to help set them up. Musk himself is said to have donated $250,000 to the relief efforts. Tesla is perhaps most well known for its electric vehicles, but the SolarCity part of the company manufactures power banks that are capable of storing large amounts of electricity.

This isn’t the first time Musk and his SolarCity arm of Tesla have offered to help out with power problems in major territories via Twitter. Back in March he made a bet he could fix South Australia’s power crisis in 100 days, saying he’d give the services for free if it took any longer. Work on that project began in late September.