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Tesla turns power back on at Children's Hospital in Puerto Rico

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
Tesla has fired up its solar panels and batteries to give power back to San Juan's Hospital del Niño (Children's Hospital).

The project came to fruition within just three weeks after a tweet by Puerto Rico Governor Ricado Rossello's Oct. 6 post that read, "Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities."

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Tesla founder Musk Instagrammed that it was “the first of many solar+battery Tesla projects going live in Puerto Rico. Glad to help support the recovery. Congrats to the Tesla team for working 24/7 to make this happen as fast as possible."

The images of the panels and batteries being assembled in the hospital have been liked on Instagram over 318,000 times.

After two hurricanes struck Puerto Rico in September, leaving its power grid destroyed, the Tesla founder offered to help. As a result, the focus of his company had to adjust to the new demands, and Musk tweeted on October 6, “Diverting resources to fix Model 3 bottlenecks & increase battery production for Puerto Rico & other affected areas.”

The hospital has 35 permanent residents, who are children with serious medical conditions. In addition, the facility provides care for roughly 3,000 others, according to El Nuevo Dia.

The hospital chief told the paper that the power system is a donation at the moment, and that Tesla is covering costs, according to NPR, but once the immediate crisis passes, it might become permanent.

Playing a prominent role in a health care crisis has led to thanks on both sides, with the company tweeting, "Grateful to support the recovery of Puerto Rico with @ricardorossello" — and Rossello stating, "A major contribution of @Tesla to the Hospital del Niño."

The power problems continue in Puerto Rico, where the Electric Power Authority has estimated that as of this week power is back to just a 25 percent level – and that months of rebuilding will cost as much as $5 billion, according to the news station.

Last week, NPR noted, a $300 million contract was signed by the authority with small, young Montana company, Whitefish, to fix the grid.

Whitefish Energy, located in Whitefish, Montana, is also the town that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke hails from. Andy Techmanski, Whitefish CEO, and the secretary know each other, according to the Washington Post.

Zinke’s office emailed that is just because it is a small place, and “everybody knows everybody.”

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