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Bill Pugliano / Stringer / Getty Images

By Fiona E. McNeill

The Michigan community of Flint has become a byword for lead poisoning. Elon Musk recently entered the fray. He tweeted a promise to pay to fix the water in any house in Flint that had water contamination above acceptable levels set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Powerwall residential battery with solar panels. Tesla

Tesla's plans to build the world's largest virtual power plant in South Australia will proceed after all.

The $800 million (US $634 million) project—struck in February by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill—involves installing solar panels and batteries on 50,000 homes to function as an interconnected power plant.

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Nissan Energy Solar

Nissan, the maker of the world's top-selling electric vehicle, officially rolled out on Thursday a seamless solar energy and battery storage system for homes in the UK.

The venture, called Nissan Energy Solar, allows homeowners to generate, store and charge EVs with their own renewable energy, which can reduce household energy bills by an estimated 66 percent, the company touts.

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Tesla's Powerpack battery system in South Australia is charged by a nearby wind farm. Tesla

Since switching on in December, Tesla's massive battery in South Australia has already drastically lowered prices in the region's frequency and ancillary services market (FCAS) and has taken a major share of that market, Renew Economy reported.

During Australian Energy Week, McKinsey and Co. partner Godart van Gendt boasted about the stunning efficiency of the 100-megawatt Powerpack system, which is connected to Neoen's Hornsdale wind farm.

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When Angad Daryani was a child in Mumbai, he used to suffer from the air pollution there. "Growing up, I had asthma," he told CNN in a profile Wednesday. "I used to have a lot of breathing problems growing up in India."

Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he is working on an invention that could filter pollutants from the air of city skies and help other children breathe easier.

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In the event of World War III, the only way for humanity to survive is to colonize Mars or the moon, according to Elon Musk.

"I'm not predicting that we're about to enter the dark ages, but there's some probability that we will, particularly if there's a third world war," the SpaceX and Tesla founder said during a question and answer session at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference in Austin on Sunday ahead of President Donald Trump's possible nuclear talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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Tesla's Gigafactory 1 photographed in January 2017

Tesla has started building a massive rooftop solar array on top of its Gigafactory 1 (GF1) outside Sparks, Nevada.

Once finished, the 70-megawatt system will be the largest in the world by far; the current record-holder is the comparatively shrimpy 11.5-megawatt array in India that can power 8,000 homes.

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A learning garden from Kimbal Musk's nonprofit called Big Green. The Kitchen Community

Kimbal Musk's nonprofit organization, The Kitchen Community, is expanding into a new, national nonprofit called Big Green, to build hundreds of outdoor Learning Garden classrooms across America.

Learning Gardens teach children an understanding of food, healthy eating and garden skills through experiential learning and garden-based education that tie into existing school curriculum, such as math, science and literacy.

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Tesla's massive Powerpack battery system in South Australia is charged by a nearby wind farm. Tesla

Tesla's massive lithium-ion battery storage facility, which was designed to feed South Australia's unstable power grid, is already proving itself by responding to power outages within milliseconds.

The system—the largest of its kind on planet Earth—was tested twice just this month. According to CleanTechnica, on Dec. 14, the Loy Yang coal power plant in the neighboring state of Victoria suddenly went offline. Remarkably, the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery system (the Tesla system's official name) kicked in within 140 milliseconds and injected 100 megawatts of power into the grid.

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This was a year of tug-of-war for the environment. With Donald Trump becoming president of the U.S. at a time when wildfires, hurricanes, and floods were devastating the country, it was challenging for scientists, activists and concerned citizens to get their voices heard. But several stood out as global leaders on climate and helped give rise to those who were silenced. Below are 14 of the most notable influencers of 2017 and how they fought for a cleaner, safer environment for all.

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Tesla's Powerpack system paired with solar, like the one shown here in Hawaii, helps provide sustainable energy around the clock. Tesla

After deploying a solar and battery system to a children's hospital in San Juan this October, Tesla has installed six more similar systems to help power the hurricane-wrecked islands of Vieques and Culebra in Puerto Rico.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Governor Ricardo Rossello's office said that Tesla installed the new units as “a humanitarian effort."

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