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article imageTesla finishes first of many solar projects in Puerto Rico

By Karen Graham     Oct 25, 2017 in Technology
San Juan - Tesla's Elon Musk promised to help restore electrical power in Puerto Rico. And on Tuesday, Tesla switched on a combination of its solar panels and Powerpack energy storage batteries for Hospital del Niño, a children's hospital in San Juan.
Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk began a conversation about bringing solar microgrids to the island in a Twitter exchange with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello. Just 18 days later, Tesla has shared images of the progress being made on the first of many solar projects being planned.
Hospital del Niño, located in the capital, San Juan was opened in 1924 and is the premier children's hospital for the whole island. With Tesla's combination of solar cells and Powerpack commercial energy storage batteries, the system will "generate enough solar energy to power the hospital during the day & store up to 500 kWh of energy as a backup," Tweeted CBS News correspondent, David Begnaud.
Beyond the hospital project, Musk has also donated $250,000 to help in the ongoing relief efforts. It's been more than a month, actually, 34 days, since the Category 4 storm hit the U.S. territory. As of Tuesday, about 25 percent of Puerto Rico's electricity has been restored.
Tesla noted on Twitter the Children's Hospital project is just "one of many projects going live." Tesla has also been shipping its home Powerwall battery storage units to the island to help get the electrical grid restored. It should be noted that Tesla is not the only solar company working to get electricity to the island. Vivint Solar, Sunrun and Sonnen have actively joined in the local efforts.
Restoring power to all of Puerto Rico will take all of six months, according to recent estimates. There were some 2,000 miles of transmission lines knocked down and according to the US Department of Defense, 62,000 utility poles are needed.
Additionally, a contract worth $300 million to a new utility company from Whitefish, Montana is raising serious questions after it was learned the company may have connections to US Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
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