Can Puerto Rico "Build Back Better" and Transform its Energy Grid? Let's Consider the
At Parsan Cross our approach to finding innovative development solutions adheres to two very simple principles: First, any innovative development solution must address a huge problem in the developing world, as evidenced by a correlation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Second, this innovative development solution must employ relatively feasible technology appropriately scaled and nuanced for our (Latin America and the Caribbean) region. Periodically, we will showcase an innovative development solution in this thought leadership blog. This week we take a look at Telsa's Powerpack.
2) What’s the Huge Problem? Finding a clean, cost effective, grid-scale technology for storing wind or solar energy in less windy and less sunny times.
In Latin America and the Caribbean there is no shortage of wind and solar energy sources. Wind and solar is clean, becoming increasingly inexpensive and is significantly contributing to lowering carbon emissions. However, up until the innovation of recent technologies like the Tesla Powerwall for individual use and the Powerpack for commercial scale use, there was no clean and cost-effective grid-scale technology for storing wind or solar energy on less windy and less sunny days.
3) What’s the SDG Correlation? SDG Goal 7- which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Specifically, Target 7.B which is to expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programs of support.
4) What’s the Relatively Feasible Technology? - Tesla Powerpacks- or the ability to store electricity received from solar panels for days.
The Solar City solar panels capture solar energy, which is then stored in the Powerpacks and converted into electricity. A continuous supply of electricity can be generated completely off grid using a combination of the the solar panels and Powerpacks. The Powerpack is composed of 16 individual battery pods, built with a cooling and heating system adopted from the Model S (Tesla sedan). It weighs 3,575 pounds and can store up to 200 kWh of energy per pack.
5) Is it piloted and or scaled in Latin America or the Caribbean? Almost- Tesla has built microgrids in cities and small islands using a combination of its Powerpack batteries and solar panels. For example the Island of Ta'u in American Samoa has one of the world's most advanced power grids allowing the island to stay fully powered for up to 3 days. Recently, Tesla was able to fully restore power to a hospital in Puerto Rico before the government is able to rebuild the main power grid.
6) Parsan Cross message: As Puerto Rico and many other small island developing nations (SIDS) are looking to rebuild their electric grids long term, Tesla has suggestions about scaling its microgrid technology using batteries and solar power. Puerto Rico is apparently considering “a series of micro-grids and regional grids that use solar and battery technology, along with other renewable sources.” Currently, most of Latin America and the Caribbean uses a centralized power generation with an extensive power distribution network, however with this series of micro-grids approach the governments could decentralize power generation with local solar farms combined with energy storage. This approach should prove more resilient to natural disaster not to mention that it would be a lot cleaner than current mostly fossil fuel-based power generation. Parsan Cross is ready to work with government officials to ensure that the local enabling environment, from a political, legislative, regulatory and legal perspective, is appropriate to ensure that this Powerpack technology is able to radically transform the lives of so many.