Musk, SolarCity Help Out The Gulf

National attention shifted away from damage done by Hurricane Katrina a long time ago, replaced in part by that fresher Gulf disaster involving oil. But the effects linger on, and  Elon Musk and SolarCity have done a good deed to try to help out those still coping with the hurricane aftermath.

The cleantech entrepreneur and the solar provider have come together to donate and install a solar-power system at the South Bay Communities Alliance (SBCA) Hurricane Response Center, a community center in Coden, Ala. According to a SolarCity press release, the solar array will be attached to a battery backup system that will allow the center to produce its own electricity in the event of a power failure.

Donated solar system, Gulf coast, Elon Musk

image via Bridge the Gulf

“This summer’s gulf spill was a stark reminder of the difficulty we face in reconciling the energy needs of the population with the need to protect the planet’s vital ecosystems,” Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, among other things, said in a statement. “For the people on the front lines, like the families of Coden and others along the gulf coast, these difficulties remain long after news of the disasters fade from the headlines. I believe that we can make the change necessary to greatly reduce our dependence on the finite power sources that pollute our air and water and complicate our geopolitics, even if that change happens one rooftop at a time.”

The 25-kilowatt solar power system, funded by Musk and installed at cost by SolarCity, is said to be one of the largest in the state of Alabama, consisting of 108 panels. The system will produce an estimated 33,500 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, offsetting between 90 and 100 percent of the center’s electricity use, the press release said.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.