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Why LED Adoption in the Cannabis Industry Has Been Slow

Cannabis cultivators have historically lived in the agricultural shadows. Many cultivation methods developed out of clandestine necessity, and HPS lamps became a popular lighting option along the way. With the slow spread of legalization across the United States, some veteran cultivators are sticking with the lights of their past instead of upgrading to the advanced alternatives of the future.

Currently, in the U.S., 23 states and Washington, D.C., have some form of legalized cannabis, whether medical or recreational. While most growers understand that energy-efficient cultivation is beneficial, the initial price of an LED, typically several hundred dollars more than an HPS, can prevent growers from seeing the long-term value of switching to intelligent lighting.

LED grow lights cut energy cost while maintaining yield

The LED’s long-term value is rooted in energy efficiency. On September 3, 2014, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) released a report that estimated the electrical impact of indoor commercial cannabis production in the state of Washington would create an additional energy load of 80-163 megawatts, not only taxing for regional power grids, but a cultivator’s bottom line. The NPCC also reported that while Washington producers expressed interest in switching to energy efficient lighting, they were concerned about the cost of LED lamps.

This fear of cost is sustained by a historical commitment to HPS lamps. Most veteran cultivators already know how HPS lamps function within their agricultural equation, so tinkering with this formula is not taken lightly. However, with NPCC’s report also noting, “LED provided 6% increase in yield, 48% increase in conversion efficiency in lb/kW,” cultivators may want to reconsider.

Customized light recipes for easy implementation

Beyond the upfront cost and the agricultural equation, some cultivators may be slow to adopt modern LED lamps because new technology can seem intimidating to learn and successfully implement in their operation; however, Heliospectra’s lamps are designed to empower cultivators, not intimidate them.

John Esselstrom, co-owner of Spotted Owl Organics in Seattle, embodies how cannabis cultivators can embrace Heliospectra’s technology as a mean to customizing the cultivation environment.

According to Esselstrom, “No other light gives you the ability manipulate the photoperiod intensity, spectrum and duration of output like this lamp does. Some lights may have ‘dials’ but this lamp has an interface that gives you the exact parameters of the lamp’s operation [remotely controlled], including temperature of the panel.”

If this level of control intimidates some cultivators, Heliospectra has formulated basic light recipes so cultivators can hit the ground running.

LED grow lights offer benefits beyond archaic lighting

As with any technological advancement in any industry, there will always be those who are slow to adopt, whether from cost, prior allegiance or fear of a learning curve; however, Heliospectra’s early adopters are learning that our LED grow lights are capable of something that no one else can offer: reduced energy consumption, reduced operating costs and pre-formulated light recipes. As more cultivators share their success with LEDs, Heliospectra’s intelligent lighting will outpace the archaic lighting from the industry’s past.

Are you ready to make a move towards LED? Or maybe you already have? We would love for you to share your experience of switching to LEDs in your grow. If you haven’t switched, what was the reason for waiting? Please share and make comments below, and let’s get a discussion going.