Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a category 4 storm with 150 mph winds that claimed the lives of 16 victims. FEMA officials fear that without access to clean water or electricity, hospitals already at full capacity, and the possibility of diseases like typhoid being spread due to lack of sanitation systems, the death toll in the US territory could continue to climb into the hundreds.

It is estimated that 97% of Puerto Rico's 3.4 million US citizens are without power. After years of crippling recession and debt, the US territory was already straining under a degraded power grid that Hurricane Maria has completely disabled and it is estimated that rebuilding could take upwards of 6 months.

Elon Musk comes to Puerto Rico's aid

Huffington Post reported on a petition started by activist Patrick Broadfoot, imploring billionaire Elon Musk to come to Puerto Rico's aid and bring its solar technology and Powerwall battery packs to the island's rescue. There was no need. In the time-honored tradition of Elon Musk proving himself to be a man of action, Musk did more than throw money at the problem.

In addition to the $250,000.00 Musk donated, Tesla implemented an already coordinated effort and began shipping out the necessary equipment as well as the crew required to provide installation of its solar panels and battery systems. The much needed technology has already begun to arrive and Tesla is coordinating its efforts with Puerto Rico's authorities to ensure the Powerwalls are distributed to where they can provide the most impact.

These efforts will provide what, otherwise, would have been limited options for some of Puerto Rico's mountain regions that have been completely cut off by the devastated infrastructure.

Puerto Rico needs more than mere repairs

Islands, like Costa Rica, already reap the benefits of the green technologies that a company like Tesla can provide.

With Puerto Rico's already outdated reliance on oil-burning power plants, the commonwealth suffers one of the highest utility costs of all the United States and its territories. Puerto Rico needs more than recovery. The infrastructure needs to be updated. Companies like Tesla are being looked to for solutions that can provide Puerto Rico with updated systems that will stand a better chance in the storm-prone region.

Tesla has experience in providing remote energy systems. Tesla partnered with Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative to operate a 45 acre solar farm that has supplied Hawaii with solutions to some of the challenges faced by these unique island territories.