Tesla, the American auto maker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer headed by Elon Musk, is using its solar panels and batteries to restore power at San Juan’s Hospital del Niño. Musk is calling the endeavor “the first of many solar+battery Tesla projects going live in Puerto Rico,” NPR reports.
Just under three weeks after discussing terms with Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosello, the hospital now has reliable electricity. Earlier this month, Musk tweeted that his company would be diverting resources “to fix Model 3 bottlenecks & increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.”
— Tesla (@Tesla) October 24, 2017
The hospital’s new system allows it to generate all the energy it needs, according to El Nuevo Dia. The facility has 35 permanent residents with chronic conditions; it also offers services to some 3,000 young patients, the newspaper says. As for who is paying for the power system, the head of the hospital tells Nuevo Dia that for now, it’s a donation — and that after the energy crisis is over, a deal could make it permanent.
Millions of people in Puerto Rico are still without power and rely on generators for electricity more than four weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall. The number of people directly killed by the hurricane stands at 48 according to the American territory’s government. Although there isn’t an official count, many believe that those killed by the after effects of the storm go well into the hundreds.
Heatstroke, dehydration, and water contamination is expected to kill many more unless aid is distributed throughout the island more rapidly.
Last week, a $300 million was awarded to a two-year-old Trump administration-connected company with only two employees. USA Today reports that in addition to its size and inexperience, “the fact that Whitefish Energy Holdings is based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Mont., is fueling questions about how Whitefish Energy Holdings secured the lucrative contract. The former Montana congressman’s son also had a summer job at a Whitefish construction site.”
The move has sparked bipartisan calls on Capitol Hill for an investigation.