Rebuilding the island's ageing and already-weakened network has proved slow: as of Friday 90 percent of Puerto Rican homes and businesses remained without power. Millions of residents are currently struggling with a lack of refrigeration or air conditioning, and local hospitals are still running on generators.
On Thursday Musk was mentioned in a tweet suggesting that he could probably rebuild the Caribbean island's electricity grid with independent solar and battery systems. The entrepreneur promptly tweeted back saying that Tesla had already completed systemwide solar and battery projects on many smaller islands across the world, including Samoa and Hawaii in the US, and that there was "no scalability limit".
The Tesla team has done this 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.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 5 октября 2017 г.
He said that he would like to speak to Musk about the implementation of the project, and the inventor replied that he would be happy to talk.
Prior to this exchange of tweets, Elon Musk had already donated $250,000 of his own money to the relief effort in Puerto Rico, and Tesla had reportedly delegated its employees to install hundreds of Powerwalls on the island.
Late on Friday night Rossello tweeted that the initial conversation with Musk went successfully.
Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities. Next steps soon to follow.— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) 7 октября 2017 г.
With the governor of the hurricane-ravaged land teaming up with the renewable energy guru, Puerto Rico could now be headed toward a solar-powered, more environmentally friendly future.