Editor's Note: This post was originally published on October 9, 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.
It looks like a simple tweet was all it took to get Elon Musk amped up to give Puerto Rico a redesigned power grid. After a Twitter user asked the billionaire if he could rebuild the island’s infrastructure with solar and battery systems, Musk replied, “The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world... it can be done for Puerto Rico too.” He added that such a project would need to be decided on by the government and locals. What do ya know? The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, tweeted back: “Let’s talk.”
While the idea began in tweets, it’s starting to take shape in real life. On October 6, Musk tweeted that Tesla would divert resources from the soon to be unveiled Tesla semi truck to increase battery production for Puerto Rico. Governor Rossello then tweeted:
Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities. Next steps soon to follow.— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) October 7, 2017
And just over two weeks later, Tesla has shared some progress in the collaboration. The setup of solar cells and batteries shown below will power Puerto Rico’s Hospital del Niño. It is the first of many similar projects to come, according to the company’s tweet.
Hospital del Niño is first of many solar+storage projects going live. Grateful to support the recovery of Puerto Rico with @ricardorossello pic.twitter.com/JfAu11UBYg— Tesla (@Tesla) October 24, 2017
Tesla is already helping Australia stabilize its grid with the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, and earlier this year the company outfitted the island of Kauai with a massive solar farm and utility-scale Powerpack batteries to supply 44 percent of its energy needs. A similar grid redesign could be deployed in Puerto Rico, where the company has also been sending Powerwall home battery systems to help stabilize energy sources in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.