Update: Tesla's Musk confirms he is sending an "experience powerwall team" to Puerto Rico to investigate reports of price gouging and oversee installations of Tesla's "Powerwall" home battery - a product that was initially develoepd by Solar City.
Tesla always charges the same price for a Powerwall (only taxes & shipping costs vary), so something is messed up here. I've asked my team to stop shipment to any installers charging excessive premiums.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
The internal Tesla Powerwall install team in PR is very small right now. Sending experienced installers from continental US to hire & train local team as fast as possible.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
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As we detailed earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants you to know that Tesla could rebuild Puerto Rico's devastated power grid and make it more resilient, and more efficient, than ever before.
In what appears to be another in a series of exaggerated claims made by the Tesla CEO, Elon Musk said he believes his company could rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid using batteries and solar power technology to make energy on the island less costly. Tesla tweeted his claim in response to a story published by Earther.com about Puerto Rico's "once in a lifetime" opportunity to build a cutting-edge power grid.
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
Musk's claims apparently caught the attention of Puerto Rico Gov. Riccardo Rossello, who tweeted "let's talk" at Musk following the latter's claim. Musk, for his part, responded that he'd be more than happy to discuss the possibility with Rossello, adding that Tesla "could be helpful."
Of course, while Tesla has build solar energy grids for smaller islands, the company hasn't taken on anything even approaching the scale of rebuilding Puerto Rico's shattered energy infrastructure. Most recently, Tesla biild a solar eergy grid for the Hawaiian island of Kauai. However its population is only around 70,000 people, whereas Puerto Rico’s is 3.4 million. As Newsweek points out, the island's aging power grid relies on fossil fuels that must be imported by the island, a costly expense. Solar batteries could help alleviate the financial strain on Puerto Rico as it struggles with $74 billion in debt, a large chunk of which is owed by Prepa, the island's power authority.
Figures provided to Newsweek by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative showed that it projects fossil fuel usage will be reduced by 1.6 million gallons per year thanks to the new solar gird. If Tesla could scale this proportionally for Puerto Rico, the island could potentially reduce its fossil fuel consumption by 78 million gallons a year.
As Newsweek points out, this isn't the first time Musk has publicly offered to help a country with its energy crisis. Earlier this year, Musk claimed that it would take Tesla less than 100 days to solve power problems in the Australian state of South Australia by building a giant battery farm.
Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was utterly devastated by Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. Weeks after Maria made landfall on the island as a category four storm, fewer than 10% of Puerto Ricans have access to electricity.