California Cannabis Regulations Call for More Energy Efficiency in 2018

LEDs poised to brighten the Golden State as adult-use cannabis laws take effect

California voted to legalize recreational cannabis in November 2016 with Proposition 64. With the state poised to become one of the largest cannabis markets in the country—and the world—it is more important now than ever to examine how the industry is providing the best equipment for the environment, the cultivator and the consumer.

To reduce the electrical consumption of an already energy-intensive crop, cannabis cultivators must legally switch to LED lighting solutions as 2018 ushers in the California adult-use market. This transition over to more technologically appropriate bulbs—away from dated HPS lighting—allows growers to meet legislative requirements, save thousands of dollars and meet the growing demand for high-quality cannabis.

Why California Matters

California is the most populous state in the country, with 39 million current residents. It also boasts the fifth largest economy in the world. On top of that, cannabis legalization is projected to bring $5 billion in revenue. These estimates are both encouraging and daunting for officials to grapple with across the state. Regulators have prioritized grid thresholds and energy consumption when determining appropriate legislation as 2018 approaches.

California also has a reputation for being progressive, in politics, policy and technology. The state implemented lightbulb efficiency laws in 2011, one year ahead of the rest of the nation. This action results from the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, which was intended to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign energy as well as save the individual consumer money. The standard allows consumers to choose from a variety of bulbs; LED was among the top options listed.

A press release for the California Energy Commission states: “New lighting technology has become more efficient than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Approximately 90% of the electricity used by traditional incandescent bulbs is wasted as heat instead of visible light. Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with more efficient halogen, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs will save consumers money while still offering same amount of light.”

The state has solidified its stance on energy efficiency; after Proposition 64 was successfully passed, legislators proceeded to ban all HPS lighting. Even though HPS lighting was the go-to solution for cultivators in the past, technology has progressed to the point where HPS bulbs are archaic in comparison. The technology of the past simply cannot meet the ever-increasing industry. To aid in this transition to more efficient lighting solutions, many utility companies have offered rebates to grow facilities to choose LED.

How ProGrowTech LED Technology Stands Out

Investing in LEDs, while sometimes having a pricey installation cost, will save the individual thousands of dollars over time. Because the majority of grow operations are still limited to indoors, there is an ever-increasing need for cost-effective, yet still functional, lighting options.

With ProGrowTech LED lights, cultivators are able to access top-of-the-line, cutting-edge lighting technology. There are a number of specific benefits ProGrowTech technology offers to the California-based cultivator. These benefits align with regulation as well as growing demand for high quality product.

  • ProGrowTech LED lights save growers thousands of dollars over time. Clients save approximately $20,000 per year for each 10,000 square feet of growing space.
  • These lights provide uniform light distribution across the canopy, allowing each plant to receive the same amount of light to ensure a consistent end result.
  • LED lights run cooler than older technology, reducing the risk of burn and dehydration. This also results in less water usage.
  • In 2018, ProGrowTech is launching remote automation and control technology to allow easy and stress-free remote control.

Looking Ahead

It is likely LED will become the most reliable and cost-effective lighting option for the country,  according to the U.S. Department of Energy. “By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.”

Old-fashioned high-pressure sodium and outdated LED technology is ineffective, costly and difficult to maintain over time. As the cannabis industry moves into 2018 and beyond—most notably with Proposition 64 in California—technology should support the increasing demand for cannabis product with regard to the environment, cheaper energy costs, and the quality of product as top priorities. Quality LED lighting is the smartest choice for California cultivators.