Tesla Powerwalls and Powerpacks keep the lights on at 662 locations in Puerto Rico during island-wide blackout, says Elon Musk

Almost 1 million ratepayers of the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority on the island of Puerto Rico were reportedly without power today during an island-wide blackout.

But a few hundred locations with Tesla Energy storage systems were able to keep the lights on, according to CEO Elon Musk.

After Puerto Rico was ravaged by hurricanes last year, most of the island’s population lost power for an extended period of time as the grid was badly damaged.

While power slowly came back online over the last few months, they still have been having issues and today, the entire power grid went down again for virtually everyone on the Puerto Rican Electric Power grid.

The cause is still unclear and being investigated.

Only people with energy storage systems were able to keep the lights on, including Tesla Energy customers.

Tesla ramped up its effort to help Puerto Rico get a more robust grid after it was destroyed by hurricanes. They quickly started shipping Powerwalls, their home energy storage solution, and we reported that they started shipping Powerpacks, their bigger commercial and utility-scale battery packs.

Now Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that it added up to 662 locations that were able to keep power during the blackout and that they are trying to add hundreds more:

As we previously reported, some of those locations include very critical services.

For example, Tesla deployed a series of Powerpack systems on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra for a sanitary sewer treatment plant, the Arcadia water pumping station, the Ciudad Dorada elderly community, the Susan Centeno hospital, and the Boys and Girls Club of Vieques.

Furthermore, the automaker’s energy division also deployed a solar+battery system at a hospital in Puerto Rico.

Tesla shipped a few hundred more Powerwalls to Puerto Rico and sent technicians from all over the US to install them.

According to Musk, the effort resulted in 662 projects and there are more underway.

Electrek’s Take

It’s fun to see energy storage at work to respond to emergency situations like this one, but it’s now clear that Puerto Rico needs a better long-term solution to their energy grid problems.

It was also reported that the Puerto Rican government was considering Tesla’s plan for a series of microgrids to help bring back power on a larger scale. The government has confirmed that they “presented several projects in remote areas that would allow entire communities to be more independent” and they also “presented a proposal to the Authority for Public-Private Partnerships for the deployment of a large-scale battery system designed to help stabilize the entire Puerto Rico electricity network.”

Hopefully, they can greenlight such a project soon.


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