Monday, October 16, 2017

Puerto Rico could be a challenge for Tesla tech

By on October 12, 2017

SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Thursday that he would meet with top Tesla executives, an indication that the government is considering transforming the island’s electrical system into one that also runs on solar energy and commercial batteries.

Even though the governor will not be meeting with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Rosselló had already spoken with him on Oct. 6, when both discussed the possibility of bringing hundreds of solar batteries to the island to help restore its electric grid.

Musk publicly promised to ship batteries last week, but did not state the cost or how many would be sent. The governor challenged Musk to use Puerto Rico as a project to demonstrate the capability of his solar technology after the Tesla executive offered to restore the island’s electrical system. “Let’s talk,” the governor said.

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Rosselló had already said he was exploring the possibility of transforming the system to one that uses microgrids, which can operate independently from the main power grid, to prevent an island-wide outage during a disaster, as was the case with Hurricane María.

Musk said in an Oct. 5 tweet that his technology has been used on small islands successfully, referring to Ta‘ū and Kauai. In Samoa’s Ta‘ū, Tesla built an entire solar network for the island and its 600 residents. In Hawaii’s Kauai, where about 70,000 people live, the company built a 52-megawatt battery facility and a 13,000-megawatt solar farm that supplies the island’s energy needs.

Similar projects in Puerto Rico, which has a population of about 3.4 million, could be a challenge for Tesla, but Musk said in tweet that its technology has “no scalability limit.”

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