While it has been over a month since Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, nearly 80 percent of residents are still without power.
Some have been without electricity even longer due to Hurricane Irma. On Friday, some residents have been without power for 45 days.
In the wake of Maria's devastation, the island's power system was demolished, sparking Tesla CEO Elon Musk's interest in rebuilding Puerto Rico's power grid.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló spoke to Musk about the possibility of installing a clean energy power system and was open to exploring ideas.
Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities. Next steps soon to follow.
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) October 7, 2017
Typically after a disaster, electricity is provided to high-priority sites such as hospitals first. This can leave million of residents without access to the basic needs that power provides.
Companies such as Tesla and Duracell are working tirelessly to resolve the power problem by sending battery and solar supplies to Puerto Rico.
Tesla Semi unveil now Nov 16. Diverting resources to fix Model 3 bottlenecks & increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
Tesla believes the Tesla team would be able to rebuild Puerto Rico's electricity system successfully.
Residents said the island’s electrical grid was struggling before Hurricane Maria and is due for an updated system, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The technology to power Puerto Rico reliably with renewable resources exists, but the U.S. territory’s finances pose a significant obstacle to new investments in its energy infrastructure.
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) October 5, 2017
The collapse of the power grid has created a domino effect down the infrastructure chain, making it difficult to pump water supplies, operate the cellular phone system, fuel to power generators and so forth.
Musk has also personally donated $250,000 to the relief effort.
Tesla is also working with the Australian government after coming to an agreement to build the world's largest lithium ion battery.
The Powerpack project will be capable of an output of 100 megawatts of power at a time, and the huge battery will be able to store 129 megawatt hours of energy.
If Puerto Rico lets Tesla install microgrids, the power system would be more likely to withstand more severe natural disasters, and it would be clean energy compared to their current mostly fossil fuel-based power generation.
The entire island of Puerto Rico was without power for more than five days due to Maria slamming the island.
While the official death toll in Puerto Rico is 48, some estimates are higher due to the possibility of deaths from the lack of electricity. For instance, doctors have been performing surgeries without power, which could lead to complications and more deaths.
Así se operaba hoy en Centro Médico. Estas son las situaciones que hay detrás de cada apagón. Foto de Kermith Ayala Muñiz. pic.twitter.com/NIVoCb22Pz
— Valeria Collazo (@ValeriaCollazoC) October 20, 2017