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Elon Musk's Tesla Powerwalls Have Landed in Puerto Rico

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., speaks at the unveiling of the "Powerwall'' battery in Hawthorne, California on April 30, 2015. Photo: Tim Rue—Bloomberg/Getty Images Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

Exactly one week after Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested his company could help with Puerto Rico’s electricity crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, more of the company’s Powerwall battery packs have arrived on the island, according to a photo snapped at San Juan airport Friday, Oct. 13.

The image shows what could be crates of Tesla Energy equipment for equipping Puerto Rico buildings with solar power. It’s likely that Powerwall battery packs are among the gear, because the energy cells are necessary for sustaining electricity off the grid. Three weeks after the Category 4 hurricane hit the island Sept. 20, approximately 85% of Puerto Rico is still without electricity.

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Tesla’s involvement in Puerto Rico first surfaced a week after the storm, when Tesla employees were on the ground assisting with efforts to connect buildings with power. The company previously confirmed it had shipped hundreds of Powerwalls to assist in that effort.

But a week later, Musk personally intervened, replying to a link posted to Twitter and elaborating how his company could help rebuild the island’s electricity system. Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello then reached out to Musk via Twitter, inviting the head of Tesla to get in touch.

No good deed goes unpunished, and the move may have put Tesla in “production hell,” as Musk put it, causing bottlenecks in its Tesla Model 3 production lines. Musk responded by pushing out the Tesla Semi unveiling until Nov. 16, so the company could divert resources to fixing the Model 3 problems and increase its battery production for Puerto Rico. In addition, a review of the company’s Fremont, Calif. factory resulted in the firing of between 400 and 700 people last week.

But the conversation with Rossello presumably went better, with the governor supplying an update via Twitter, on the day after his exchange with Musk.

With the two parties ready to work together, it makes sense to see the Tesla Energy crates now arriving in San Juan. When reached for comment, Tesla declined to comment beyond Musk’s Twitter posts.

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