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Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief and Tesla build microgrid to keep power

Posted at 10:25 AM, Nov 14, 2018

Santa Barbara-based non-profit organization Direct Relief partnered with Tesla to build a microgrid with the technology to ensure power running throughout natural disasters and emergencies.

Tesla created the self-contained power island as a way to make sure an organization like Direct Relief is able to keep their supplies ready in case the power goes out following disastrous events, such as the Thomas Fire from 2017.

The system is powered through three separate sources including solar panels for electricity needs, battery storage to keep power running when the sun is not out and Direct Relief’s diesel generators as a back-up if the system fails.

Tesla originally designed the microgrid after Puerto Rico experienced the worst blackout in U.S. history following Hurricane Maria. The company also sent similar power resources to Georgia and Florida after the recent hurricanes hit the area.

Direct Relief has been one of the providers of medicine and medical supplies during the Camp and Woolsey fires for people who don’t have access to their typical pharmacy or medical centers. The non-profit has distributed essential medications such as asthma inhalers to flu vaccines in the affected areas.

Direct Relief has also provided around 195,000 N-95 masks to health centers for fire victims in Butte County, the Bay Area, Ventura County and Los Angeles County.