(ANTIMEDIA) San Juan, PR — Amid controversy over how the Puerto Rican government is handling the recovery process following Hurricane Maria, it was reported this week that Elon Musk is making good on his promise to help rebuild the U.S. territory’s energy grid.
On Tuesday, Tesla’s Twitter account posted that the “first of many solar+storage projects” in Puerto Rico had gone live at a children’s hospital in San Juan. Photos accompanying the tweet showed dozens of solar panels and several Tesla Powerpack units being installed.
The system, which can generate 200 kilowatts of power and 500 kilowatts of storage, will supply all the energy needs at the facility, which serves 3,000 young people and has 35 permanent residents with chronic conditions.
Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, attended the project’s inauguration and called Musk’s efforts a “humanitarian gesture” that “could be a model to follow for public or private entities that offer critical services to citizens.”
It was Rossello and Musk themselves who got the ball rolling on the project. In an October 5 tweet to Rossello, Musk said Tesla has helped with recovery efforts before, adding that it could do the same for Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican governor replied:
“Let’s talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project.”
The two got into contact, and the following day Rossello tweeted:
“Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities. Next steps soon to follow.”
That same day, October 6, Musk tweeted that he was diverting company resources away from other projects in order to “increase battery production” for Puerto Rico. Less than three weeks later, on Tuesday, the project went live.
Tesla donated the power system free of charge, and the company expects nothing in return until the U.S. territory’s crisis is over and an official deal can be struck.
Meanwhile, controversy has been stirred up over the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s decision to award a $300 million contract to a small Montana firm for its help repairing the grid. That firm, Whitefish Energy Holdings, is based in the hometown of Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke.