Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 that his company has managed to return power to San Juan’s Hospital del Niño (Children’s Hospital) with its solar energy technology.
“Glad to help support the recovery,” Musk said in an Instagram post announcing the news.
The car manufacturer and energy company returned power to the hospital by donating solar panels and energy storage batteries. Musk also gave $250,000 of his own money to hurricane relief efforts on the island.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, was in attendance when the solar panels were unveiled. He called the donation a “humanitarian gesture” and said that it “could be a model to follow for public or private entities that offer services critical to citizens.”
This move came as a result of Rossello’s discussion with Musk on Twitter back on October 5, when the CEO mused about how his company’s solar panels could help the island. The governor quickly responded, and Musk since then has made good on his promises to help Puerto Rico’s recovery.
Puerto Rico has been struggling since it was hit by Hurricane Maria on September 20. 75 percent of its power grid is still down, and recovery could cost as much as $5 billion by the time everything is restored. The island’s isolation from the rest of the United States makes this especially difficult.
David Begnaud, a CBS News correspondent, says that the Hospital del Niño’s new solar farm can generate 200 kilowatts of solar power and store 500 kilowatts more, which is enough to cover the daily operations of the facility.
The Hospital del Niño provides care for up to 3,000 children from around Puerto Rico and has 35 permanent residents who live there due to chronic conditions.
The executive director of the hospital, Maria Lopez, says that they would like to negotiate with Tesla about keeping the new system permanently once the island’s energy crisis comes to an end.