Tetris Cofounder Bringing Hawaii Solar Storage

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Originally published on Solar Love.

In 2006, Henk Rodgers had a near-death experience. With a second chance and a fresh outlook on life, he decided to make the most of it. He then committed to making his home state of Hawaii, the state with some of the highest energy costs in the nation, energy independent. It was all a matter of putting the pieces together.

Rodgers started with his own home. And then his ranch. Needless to say, he is one of the wealthier residents of the Big Island. You may have heard of the video game called Tetris? Me neither, but apparently he and programmer Alexey Pajitnov partnered up some time ago and made quite a lot of money.

His Honolulu estate is completely solar powered and he hopes other residents decide to use the same technology. Partially because it’s his newest business venture.

hawaii solar

Blue Planet Energy Systems will sell and install battery systems in homes and businesses that use solar power. The Blue Ion system uses Sony lithium-iron phosphate batteries, lasting up to 20 years, to store the sun’s energy. The batteries do not require cooling and Rodgers believes them to be the solution to storing solar energy and lowering energy costs in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian government seems to support this initiative. Rodgers published and distributed a book, with the work of children, to prominent government officials that proclaimed a desire for an energy-independent Hawaii. After all, this is why we’re saving the world, right? The kids’ letters and drawings may have had an effect. The Governor of Hawaii David Ige recently announced the intention for energy independence in his state with a deadline of 2045.

hawaii solar storageIs there a large enough demand for this expensive battery system? Rodgers himself passed on the opportunity to divulge the cost of his systems and admitted it will take 5–7 years for buyers to see a return on their investment. While Blue Planet’s battery storage will allow solar users to remain off grid at night, many users already take advantage of the extra energy they collect during the day by feeding it back into the grid in a practice called “net metering.” The utility companies already provide cost and incentive programs that promote this practice. So why invest in costly batteries and systems that will need to be replaced 13–15 years after they pay themselves off?

To residents and businesses that hold a particular affinity for being completely self-sustaining and off grid, it is usually a point of pride. The progressive and individualistic nature of this ideal often comes with the desire to share knowledge and the esteem that comes with it. But there’s also the matter of utilities increasingly fighting rooftop solar power, and even refusing to connect them to the grid.

Rodgers doesn’t intend to stop with an energy independent Hawaii, he plans to pass his technology on to the rest of the world. But one step at a time.

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Kyle Park Points

is a working father in New York City by way of Sarasota, Florida. He is a public transportation enthusiast, clean air advocate, lifetime recycler and frequent panderer. He also reluctantly tended to his family's compost heap for many formative years. He hopes to one day leave his daughter with a safer, healthier environment than when she was born; which shouldn't be hard since she was born in Queens, New York.

Kyle Park Points has 13 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Park Points

11 thoughts on “Tetris Cofounder Bringing Hawaii Solar Storage

  • Storage makes solar feasible in Hawaii when the % of households with solar panels is so high that utility is preventing some solar homeowners from connecting to the grid.

  • If any state should be going all out on Renewable energy it is Hawaii. The extreme cost of imported fossil fuels power should be pushing them towards compreshensive renewable solutions.

  • Puerto Rico could be a good State Target Number 2. Not only a larger population, but same issue with high utility electric prices, due to most of it being generated from diesel generators. Plus, it’s in the US, so business expansion there doesn’t involve crossing international borders. Actually, he could target islands all over the Pacific and Caribbean, for this reason.

  • I would rather see neighborhood scale flow batteries as once the cost is in…..the longevity is truly phenomenal.

    • The problem with flow batteries is they are more of a baseload application and do not have the rapid response required for real time load following.

      • “Other useful properties of vanadium flow batteries are their very fast response to changing loads and their extremely large overload capacities. Studies by the University of New South Wales have shown that they can achieve a response time of under half a millisecond for a 100 % load change, and allowed overloads of as much as 400 % for 10 seconds. The response time is mostly limited by the electrical equipment.”


        “In this test, the wind farm’s output was instantaneously dropped from 30 MW to 0 MW using a simulated signal when the redox flow battery was being charged at its rated capacity (6 MW) and the response time necessary for the battery to start discharging at its rated capacity (6 MW) by stabilizing operation was measured.

        When the response time was defined as the time necessary to reach 63% (1-1/e) of the target value, the response time was determined to be 57 msec.”


  • You’ve never heard of Tetris??? Man, I must be getting old.

  • “So why invest in costly batteries and systems that will need to be replaced 13–15 years after they pay themselves off?”

    Because, from an economic point of view, you make an ROI after 5-7 years. You have an extra ‘net profit’ cycle of ~6-10 years for each battery, assuming you’re using 5-7 years of the 13-15 years of ‘savings’ to ‘save up’ for a new battery. 🙂

    And there will be significant leaps forward in solar tech by 2045. Especially with the work that Elon Musk & SolarCity are doing on the Mainland.

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