2017 has proven itself to be one of the worst for tropical storms as the US and Caribbean were hit with several hurricanes in August and September.
Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc across the Caribbean in September when it developed into a category four storm. The US territory Puerto Rico was hit particularly hard by the storm – it suffered 155mph winds and widespread flooding which knocked out the entire power system for the island’s 1.5m population.
Electric car maker Tesla is helping to restore power to the island by shipping over its Powerwall batteries. As well, Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk has also donated $250,000 to the relief effort in Puerto Rico.
Telsa Puerto Rico: why is the car maker helping?
As well as building electric cars, Tesla is also making waves with its battery technology. It’s huge, yet still unfinished, Gigafactory in Nevada is reportedly producing more batteries than any other factory in the world.
In Puerto Rico, Tesla has employees working to repair solar panels as well as install the batteries. This is because the batteries will store and distribute energy collected through the panels.
As the island’s high-priority buildings are being powered by generators, the batteries will provide energy to the rest of Puerto Rico’s residents until the electrical grid is restored.
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Making battery power global
As well in Puerto Rico, Tesla is currently installing a massive battery farm in South Australia to prevent the district’s power from being wiped out during storms.
Once built, the battery farm will be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery storage project. It will have enough power for more than 30,000 homes to help prevent blackouts.
Musk said that the project is currently halfway done with building the battery bank and installing the batteries on Friday, after the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) approved the project.
This starts the countdown for the company to install the project in 100 days after Musk promised on Twitter that Tesla would have the system installed and working in 100 days or do it for free.
However, this could cost the company about $50m if it misses the deadline.