Nine days ago, a Category 4 storm named Hurricane Maria battered the island of Puerto Rico, leaving its 3.5 million citizens without access to electricity. Though aid has been pouring in, it will be several months until power is completely restored. To alleviate some of the burden Puerto Rican citizens are feeling, the electric automaker Tesla has begun shipping hundreds of Powerwall battery systems to the island.
Fortune reports that the Powerwall, which was first introduced in 2015, is a Tesla home-based battery system which can be paired with solar technology and used to restore some of the island’s electricity. After the Category 4 storm downgraded to a tropical storm, Tesla began shipping the eco-friendly energy systems. A source confirmed that Powerwall battery systems are still being shipped to distressed residents.
Tesla employees on the island are now working to install the systems with additional solar panels, and repair existing solar panels. The workers are collaborating with local groups to determine the best locations for the battery systems. Elon Musk, the co-founder, CEO and Product Architect at Tesla, also donated $250,000 to the relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
This isn’t the first time the progressive automaker has assisted relief efforts. When Hurricane Irma was approaching Florida, the company helped residents evacuate. Tesla also improved its battery range for all Model S and Model X cars from 60-70 kilowatt hours to 75 kW, after a concerned Tesla owner in Florida wrote the company, concerned about the electric car’s driving range.
Though it will be many months before Puerto Rico “officially” recovers from the latest natural disaster, it is heartening to know numerous companies have participated in relief efforts. Facebook, for instance, dispatched a “connectivity” team to supply emergency telecommunication support to Puerto Rico, where citizens can barely achieve a signal to reach their loved ones.
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