Vertical Racking Leads to Bigger Harvests

Have you ever seen a towering city skyline and wondered why people tend to build up rather than out? A whole range of possibilities open up when we start to think in terms of cubic feet rather than square feet. Tall skyscrapers may house anything from apartments, offices, grocery stores and gyms—all in one building. It’s all about smart design to mitigate high density areas.

The concept of building vertically goes beyond cities—it’s applicable to agriculture, too. Your grow shouldn’t be an exception. Sometimes, the empty area above our heads is forgotten, but it’s absolutely possible to take advantage of this previously wasted space. This is exactly why vertical racking is the future of cannabis horticulture across the globe.

The Up and Up

So you have your grow facility ready to go. Now the real challenge is producing enough product to keep customers coming back. A huge question facing many businesses is how to grow enough quality product to meet the demand of their customer base, especially as this demand grows. How can businesses accomplish this without facing huge labor costs, or upgrading to a larger space?

One of the best ways to immediately boost your harvest yield is vertically racking your crops. This efficient crop layout maximizes the benefit of the space available to you; this is especially advantageous for states only permitting cannabis grown indoors, or cultivators with limited square footage. As the cannabis industry has grown in the U.S., the cost of appropriate facilities for large indoor crops has increased. This only makes intelligently using the space more important to a successful business.

Vertically racking your crops looks a little like a leafy green skyscraper. There are multiple tiers, each with space for the plants to thrive. Even better, with efficient LED lights, each plant receives an equal and appropriate amount of light. This multilevel approach allows for more seedlings to grow together, resulting in doubling or tripling your harvest.

 

Thinking Vertically with ProGrowTech

Our company is diligently working with many businesses to help install vertically racked systems. If vertical racking sounds like the ideal setup for your grow, we are happy to assist in all phases of design and deployment.

There are a few reasons why ProGrowTech lights are ideal for the vertically racked crop:

  • Our lights are all designed with vertical racking in mind. This means they are easily incorporated into spaces where efficacy is a priority.
  • We pride ourselves on the uniformity our lighting fixtures delivers—in this regard, they’re currently some of the best on the market. This even light disbursement is necessary for a vertically racked system, while encouraging healthy, consistent growth across the plant canopy.
  • Efficient LED lights mean happier plants while still maintaining affordability. These bulbs are appropriate for all stages of plant growth.

A Bright Future

While vertically racking crops isn’t new, it has only recently grown in popularity among the cannabis cultivating community. This is because HPS lights are not suited to this design—they’re not able to provide the proper uniform light that LEDs are able to. With LED lighting technology rapidly advancing, vertical racking in the cannabis community has become a reality. Now, cannabis cultivators are able to take advantage of this intelligent design.

This layout allows for more plants in smaller spaces without a huge price increase. Furthermore, utilizing vertical space means higher yields, and, hopefully, more happy customers.

LED Installation is More Affordable Than Ever – And Will Save You Serious Money Over Time

Most times, the biggest concern with upgrading your lighting fixtures to LEDs is the cost. And, this is understandable. Some estimates place LED lighting at five times more expensive than their HPS (high pressure sodium) counterparts. While the price of LEDs has dropped over time, they are still an investment. We are here to tell you why this investment is absolutely worth every penny — and why LED lights are actually more affordable than ever.

More Efficient with Every Use

You probably already know this, but LED lights are much more energy efficient than conventional lighting options. If you need a quick refresher: LED lights use a fraction of the electricity that other bulbs use and last much longer. ProGrowTech lights are built with stability and reliability in mind—reap the benefits from our lights for years. Additionally, they run cool and won’t heat up your grow room, meaning less evaporation and watering. This efficiency alone is a good reason to invest.

Because of this efficiency, you’ll be saving money on electricity from the get-go. These utility bills add up over time—installing LED lights will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Leasing Lights for Peace of Mind

We are also proud to offer our customers a competitive and affordable leasing program for our lights. Our Grow Light Lease is our most popular option, and understandably so. With this lease, you’ll get to choose what lights you want for your grow facility. Then, we apply for a wide range of energy rebates. Finally, we buy the lights for you. At the end of a 36-month lease, you have the option to purchase the lights for only $1.

This is almost too good to be true, but it gets better. LED lights may qualify for tax deductions to reduce your 280E tax burden.

Get Cash Back

Many utility companies offer an energy rebate when you install LED lighting. This is great—but there is often some time between purchasing the lights and receiving your rebate check. For a new business, this financing gap can be hard to manage. That’s why we have partnered with Seinergy LLC to help with rebate financing. With Seinergy, your rebate may be used as collateral while you get your grow off the ground.

Seinergy makes purchasing LED lights easier than ever, and more affordable than other options.

Some Insider Tips

  • Get familiarized with your options. Our company offers a full range of effective, full spectrum lighting options. Each option is ideal for different grow phases and facility layout. We are more than happy to provide advice based on your individual needs.
  • Be smart about financing. We recommend getting pre-approved for energy rebates before even purchasing lights.
  • Ask questions. Our team at ProGrowTech is extremely knowledgeable in all things related to lighting and horticulture. We are happy to provide assistance through each step, from the time you first purchase lights, to when you are a full-fledged grow facility. We are happy to provide assistance through each step of the way, with attentive 1:1 support and consulting.

Spectral Tuning, Cooler Operating Temperatures Increase Quality, Quantity of Harvest

So, you want to increase your harvest, keep quality and potency, and not create more work for yourself? With an increasing demand for quality cannabis, the first hurdle for many growers is simply producing enough flower to meet this need.

This might seem impossible — but you’re in luck. With improvements in LED lighting technology in recent years, growers will begin to see improvements in their harvests almost immediately. LEDs are able to deliver what your plants need to thrive.

There are a few ways that LED lights can improve a harvest and increase yields.

  1. LED lights are able to produce a full spectrum of light — the closest thing to natural sunlight. Cannabis plants need different types of light throughout their growth. This is true for many other plants as well; plants are only able to photosynthesize certain types of light at different stages in their lifecycle. For example, most blue and white LED lights are ideal for cannabis in their earliest, vegetative stage. As they mature, they often need more red light. A 2008 study revealed spectral qualities can have a dramatic effect on plant growth, including crop anatomy and nutrient uptake.

    These small adjustments are easily made with ProGrowTech LED lights. When you’re providing the appropriate light spectrums, your plants will grow faster and be healthier.

  2. LED lights run cool. This provides immense benefit in ensuring your plants are getting enough light. Growers often like to move LED lights closer to the plants than they would with conventional lighting options. At a closer range, the light is able to reach the full plant; the photons are focused directly on the plant. With this, little energy is wasted and the plant is not at risk of being burned.

    In the long run, the plants will require less water. Lower temperatures equal less evaporation — you’ll be saving two precious resources by switching over to LEDs.

  3. Evidence suggests that providing plants with the full spectrum of light given off by LED lights may result in a healthier crop altogether. There is the possibility for the wavelengths to be adjusted to be inhospitable for certain types of fungi or insect. Over time, this is a definite advantage.

The adaptability of LED lights to fit the individual grower’s needs is part of the reason they are one of the best tools to enhance any harvest. As research progresses, growers will be offered insight on how to best suit their plants’ needs. Switching to LED lights gives you a measured advantage. Give your crop the boost it needs with the best lighting on the market.

Join ProGrowTech at CannaCon Seattle

We’re excited to announce that ProGrowTech is exhibiting at CannaCon in Seattle, WA February 15-17, 2018.

Join us at booth 944 to check out the latest innovations in our LED lighting systems, solutions for commercial and home cultivation, and to learn how to take advantage of Washington’s generous rebates for implementing energy-efficient LED lighting.

CannaCon is one of the nation’s largest cannabis industry events, providing a venue for cannabis industry leaders to network and expand their knowledge of the industry, from science and genetics related to plant growth to business development and marketing.

Learn more about the event here.

ProGrowTech to Exhibit at Seed to Sale 2018 in Denver

We’re excited to announce that ProGrowTech is exhibiting at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Seed to Sale event in Denver, CO February 7-8, 2018.

If you attend the event, be sure to stop by booth 501 to check out the latest innovations in our LED lighting systems, solutions for commercial and home cultivation, and to learn more about the latest growing techniques to increase yields and energy efficiency.

Seed to Sale focuses on innovative practices, science and cutting-edge technology surrounding the entire life cycle of the cannabis plant sold in the regulated market.

Learn more about Seed to Sale here.

LED vs. Fluorescent Lighting for Your Grow Operations

LED lights offer safety and efficiency where fluorescent lights can’t

Your technology should match the modern age. There’s no reason to be using outdated fluorescent lights at your grow facility. At ProGrowTech, we understand the need to increase your harvest and maintain quality without spending tons of money. We say: let the technology do the work for you in the new year. And, if you’re still skeptical, our top two reasons to move forward with LED lights are efficiency and safety.

Energy Efficiency

LED lights have truly revolutionized energy efficient lighting. This option only uses a fraction of the electricity that their fluorescent counterparts consume. Because of this benefit, they are ideal for large facilities that need a lot of light, without the skyrocketing electrical bill. Furthermore, LEDs last around 10 times longer than a traditional fluorescent light. When your grow requires a long daily run—particularly in the vegetative stage—LEDs can offer a smarter and more efficient choice. Although LEDs often have a higher installation cost, these bulbs last longer and use less electricity.

While fluorescent options emit heat and light in all directions, LEDs are directional. This means LEDs are delivering their full benefits in a desired direction—for example, at a plant. Simply, it makes sense to choose LED lights. You’ll save electricity, money and light.

Because of LEDs low energy usage and directional lighting, the payback period for those installation costs is short. You will most likely be making your money back in less than a year.

Nontoxic

Did you know that fluorescent bulbs use mercury vapor to transport electrical currents? It’s as scary as it sounds: mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can cause damage to the brain, lungs and other organs. When broken, these lights release this mercury vapor, putting those in the vicinity at risk. Because of this toxicity, used fluorescent bulbs often require special recycling processes. In the end, mercury ends up polluting the environment because of disposed fluorescent bulbs.

LEDs do not use mercury in operation. Rather, LEDs—which stands for light-emitting diode—use a solid-state technology to produce light, unlike the mercury vapor found in fluorescent lights. LEDs utilize an electrical current moving through a microchip, which, in turn, illuminates tiny diodes within the bulb. This technology is much safer and is nontoxic.

The Verdict

These are only a couple reasons that LED lighting outperform other lighting options. Beyond efficiency and safety, LED lights are adjustable to fit your exact needs. For instance, LEDs incorporate spectral tuning, which is particularly important in the early stages of a plant’s growth. Spectral tuning allows the grower to maximize yields, manipulate the plant height, and have an overall healthier adult plant.  Fluorescent lights do not have this capability.  Our Evolve lights—specifically the EV155 and EV360—were designed with the early stage of plant growth in mind. By using LED lights, you’re giving your plants the closest thing to natural light while still maintaining control. They’re perfect for encouraging strong roots.

It is important to take safety and efficiency into consideration when choosing lights for your facility. We recommend spending some time researching all the options, however, we are confident in LED lights’ ability to provide direct, effective light, while still being low-cost and nontoxic. LEDs are the best choice to protect yourself while boosting your harvest.   

Waterproofing: Inside the IP66 Certification

IP66 Certified Waterproofing can put your mind at ease

Lighting your harvest shouldn’t be stressful. There’s nothing as time consuming and exhausting as wondering if something could go wrong. That is why ProGrowTech has developed lighting systems that put your mind at ease.

One aspect that comforts the biggest worriers: our IP66 waterproofing certification. With this certification, the cultivator can have the confidence that their lighting systems are protected from mist, wayward watering leaks or even a flood – all while reducing electrical hazards.

The IP66 Certification: You, your crop, and that worst-case scenario 

Waterproof alone can mean many things. Some cellphones boast the “waterproof” label, but we all know most phones won’t survive being fully immersed in water. A submarine is technically waterproof as well. You get the idea: this single word cannot satisfy the full range of products. It has, typically, become a marketing term with little meaning. A smart consumer will understand a certification system is required to fully understand what level of water a product can withstand.

So, what does the IP66 Certification mean exactly? IP Ratings were developed to define the level of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures from dust, dirt, or water. This rating is important to pay attention to when you are prioritizing product safety and longevity.

An IP65 enclosure—the lowest IP rating—will protect an electrical system against water jets from a common hose. As you move up ratings, the amount of water and pressure increases considerably. At IP66, an electrical system is protected against heavy seas and powerful jets of water. In other words, the ProGrowTech lights are truly protected against a deluge of water.

At ProGrowTech, safety and effectiveness is a priority and that’s why an IP66 Certification is important to us.

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.

Why Choose LED over HPS Lighting for Cannabis Harvests?

Growers gain profitability and energy efficiency benefits with next generation of LED

As demand for and accessibility to cannabis have increased, it is imperative to implement measures ensuring efficiency and cost effectiveness of harvests. In this quickly expanding market, both growers and consumers have expressed a desire for better lighting solutions. California in particular, which plans on opening recreational cannabis dispensaries Jan. 1, 2018, often sets the environmentally conscious standard for the rest of the country. According to regulations put in place by the legislators earlier this year, grow facilities must eliminate high pressure sodium (HPS) lights, in favor of more energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lights.

Concerns surrounding the energy consumption of growing cannabis are not unfounded, as this particular plant represents one of the most energy intensive crops. Energy consumption in states where cannabis has been legalized has increased noticeably. According to statistics compiled by Xcel Energy, between 2012 and 2013, Denver’s energy consumption increased 1.2 percent. Of that percentage, half was attributed to grow facilities. Today, 2 percent of Denver’s electrical usage is due to growing cannabis.

Whether better lighting means larger yields, reducing costs or energy efficiency, studies have repeatedly shown LED lights are superior to other lighting technologies. Despite HPS being the historic primary choice for controlled environment grow operations, they are simply not as efficient nor as effective as the latest generation LED technology. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States.”

How LED technology enhances grow techniques

LED lighting has been used in horticulture since the early 2000s. Just as industry professionals have realized the intricacies of maintaining a productive indoor grow facility, LED lights have evolved as well to match these desires and necessities.

  • Programming Options: One benefit of LED lighting is the ability for the grower to adjust the lighting to match the specific needs of the plant. For instance, the lights may be programmed to mimic a natural circadian rhythm—an advantage that is lost with archaic lighting techniques, such as HPS lights.
  • Spectral Tuning: The spectrum of light may be adjusted depending on how the plant itself responds. Historically, growers have relied on wattage to determine the quality of light for their indoor grows. Studies have revealed, though, this is not the only important factor to consider—it is becoming more apparent that light spectrum and type of light is equally as important.
  • “Natural” Light: Many HPS lights, which rely on sodium vapor for their glow, have an undeniably red-yellow hue. This is not conducive to mimicking natural sunlight. In comparison, LED lights offer multiple bands of light wavelengths that may be adjusted depending on what the plant responds to. This ability to truly understand the needs of the plant, down to the light that it needs to flourish, is empowering for the grower and will likely result in higher yields.

How LED technology can improve a grow operation’s profitability

LED lights used to be considered too expensive for many growers. Today, however, demand and availability has driven the cost of LED lights down, making them more accessible to facilities across the country. Additionally, after the initial costs—which are much lower than what they used to be—LED lights will actually save grow facilities money in the future. This is for a couple reasons: LED lights run cool, they save a ton of energy and they have virtually no ongoing maintenance costs.

Cannabis in particular is very sensitive to temperature. If a cannabis plant gets too warm, it will likely become stressed, which lowers potency and overall quality of the flower. This presented an obstacle for years as older lighting technology would get too hot—growers would be forced to implement complicated—and often expensive—air conditioning systems and take other preventative measures.

These issues are much more manageable with LEDs, which do not produce an excessive amount of heat. In addition, this allows for the lights to be much closer to the plant canopy as well. The light will be more evenly distributed, ensuring each plant receives enough. Lower temperatures also mean less water evaporating; grow facilities switching to LED lights will save money on both energy and water costs, ultimately leading to an increase in profits as the quality and quantity of harvests improve without extra expenditures or grow space.

LED lighting is the smart choice for the future

The combination of structural integrity, good design and adjustability make LED lights the ideal choice for the grower who wants to cut down on energy costs, labor and see yields improve, whether that is with cannabis or other horticulture. LED lighting technology represents a smart and effective option that is appropriate for the modern day.

ProGrowTech to Exhibit at Fall 2017 Marijuana Business Conference and Expo

ProGrowTech will be exhibiting at the Fall 2017 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo (MJBizCon) November 15-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Attendees can visit ProGrowTech at booth 921, and can expect to view the industry-leading Evolve-series LED light solutions and discuss the latest commercial cultivation techniques and strategies with ProGrowTech’s team of experts.

MJBizCon, held in the spring and fall each year, brings cannabis industry experts together for three days of education and networking, with nine unique educational tracks, including starting a cannabis business, cultivation, legal trends, retail, and the international cannabis industry. In addition to seminars and presentations from more than 100 industry leaders, the event features an expo that showcases the latest in cannabis products and services from more than 650 leading businesses. More than 10,000 industry professionals are expected to attend.

Learn more about the event here.

Interested in attending the conference? Use the promo code MJBizConExpo for $50 off full conference registration.