Pairing the power of the sun with life-sustaining cannabis is an outright good idea, as indoor growing operations require vast amounts of electricity to keep things going. Not to mention – with the advent of the legalization of cannabis – there are parallel rising concerns regarding the capacity of our power resources.
Beyond the amazing possibilities of using solar power for growing cannabis, the truth about the full context of the relationship between solar power and cannabis growing on a large scale can be cumbersome. With that said, this article intends to show that solar can absolutely help a cannabis operation reduce its electric bills and maximize profits – and it’s really not as complicated as it seems to be.
As national cannabis legalization is in the making, growth operations could transition outdoors since plants must no longer be hidden from view. When cannabis crops move outside or into mixed-light facilities, less electricity is needed to create an indoor ecosystem. With that said, indoor grow operations are still widespread, and any form of energy assistance such as the kind generated by solar comes as a huge relief to growers and the planet alike.
Benefits of Solar Power for Growing Cannabis
It’s no secret that cannabis is extremely power-hungry, and therefore, one’s electric bill is easily the most substantial cost. During the vegetative stage, plants require intense light, as much as 18 hours a day. Fans constantly turn to avoid anything getting too hot. Not to mention dehumidifiers, along with a host of other elements that run around the clock to create an ideal growing space.
Going off-grid, for instance, used to hold appeal for illegal growers insomuch as they are no longer getting caught by astronomical energy bills. But as legalization escalates and the intention and legality of off-grid growing changes, the demand for marijuana skyrockets.
All of this, on par with the cost of energy and immense strain on our grid system, means growing with solar power entails benefits that simply can’t be ignored, such as:
- Significantly decreased energy bills.
- Everlasting protection from rising electricity rates.
- Significantly reduced risk lost crops.
- Lower carbon footprint – which is great for the planet.
If a grower cannot find a cost-efficient way to create the resources that cannabis plants need indoors, an alternative, cheaper way to produce the power is the definitive answer to more cost-efficient indoor farming.
Using a solar energy system or kit is the best way to generate electricity at a cheaper price. While utility prices for power increase each year, buying a solar energy system or kit places the majority of costs up front and fixed.
Using a kit to reduce electricity charges leads to farmers maximizing their savings.
More Reason to Ditch Non Solar Powered Grows
Although recreational and medicinal marijuana legalization has yet to reach federal status in the US, growers still rank among the most prodigious users of electricity.
When addressing the electricity usage of indoor cannabis growing facilities, both legal and illicit, it’s clear to see why going solar is not only wise, but inevitable.
According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, indoor cannabis operations are responsible for approximately 1 percent of the United States’ total energy use. This was at a time before a single state had legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. And, at the time, fewer than 20 states had legalized medicinal marijuana.
Large-scale, industrial-style cannabis cultivation for legal markets has only just begun to appear, yet the fledgling industry was already on the ranks of the country’s highest energy hogs. By growing indoors – openly or in secret – cannabis was consuming enough energy to meet the power needs of 1.7 million American homes!
Not surprisingly, these energy-eating practices are expected to worsen as legalization spreads, unless we instill an alternative, all-natural means of power resource such as that provided by solar power. It is forecasted that the demand for electricity from legal cannabis is set to increase by162 percent up to 2022. In the shadow of this reality, we can only turn to the sun for solutions.
A Brief History and Current Stance on Solar Power in the Cannabis Industry
In case we haven’t realized by now, solar and cannabis are and should be well acquainted with one another. Even some of the earliest prohibited cannabis growers used solar panels to offset its electric load so the government wouldn’t be able to pinpoint high utility bills. But the scale of legal cannabis grows today is a much bigger energy concern than a few hidden plants.
With the vast majority of grows being indoor by nature (since the product is more easily controlled in this manne it’s safe to assume the market is shifting to outdoor and greenhouse ops. But does that mean that indoor grows will be eliminated? Not at all – and by no means!
Let’s say the industry shifts to 50% indoor, 50% outdoor/greenhouse. Even then, the indoor segment is still going to be a big problem for utilities. Even if it’s 25% indoor, it will still be a big issue, hence we need the power of the sun more than ever! What obstacles are needed to overcome in order for us to turn words into action?
Obstacles to Overcome for Solar Energy to Rule
When it comes to harnessing the amazing possibilities of using solar power for growing cannabis, there are certain elements to overcome. While solar is totally possible and used by many in the legal cannabis industry today, there are still some obstacles and risks involved. Firstly, solar financing is an issue – and it goes without saying that the latest pandemic is not helping with that.
Looking at early recreational states, what’s remarkable is the level of DIY those people applied. Regarding legality, for example, Oregon capped the amount of space that indoor commercial growers are permitted to use – only 10,000 sq. ft. While some grow operations use every inch for growing fine cannabis, Oregon’s size restrictions probably leave some extra room for a few solar panels.
Understanding particular requirements can help you narrow the focus to grow with the best solar potential, in general.Solar is often included in the larger energy efficiency discussion within the cannabis industry, something many people don’t like to discuss. It is estimated that even with significant efficiency rebate programs from utilities, only a maximum of 2% of growers uses efficient manufacturing products such LED lighting.
In the light of this, solar should be at the top of your must-have upgrades. With all this being said, we are of the contention that sustainability is required and growers need to be educated about energy efficiency and the limitless potential of solar power for cannabis operations. Similar education is necessary regarding urban planning considerations.
Urban Planning Considerations
As legalization becomes more dominant, states reconsider their regulations on growing cannabis, meaning growers can move outdoors and into more traditional farm settings. In other legal states such as Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington, however, growers are actually required to grow their plants indoors.
As a result, many growers in the Rocky Mountain State are moving to greenhouses, moreover allowing growers to take advantage of nature’s gift of direct sunlight, as well as gain total control over their growing environment.
- Plant Factories & Indoor Urban Farms
As urban farming becomes a necessity in densely populated areas, indoor agriculture is expanding. In areas where the cost of transporting food outweighs the cost of local production, plant factories and indoor urban farms are undoubtedly gaining popularity.
- Space Considerations
We’re going to have to take a lot of Earth’s habitat into space with us. In order to provide sustainable sources of food and oxygen for astronauts, researchers are working with NASA to create lunar greenhouses that could be deployed in flight or even on other planets! But the total control that indoor agriculture offers also creates problems for indoor growers.
Without access to direct sunlight, electricity quickly becomes an issue. In particular, for closed spaces, one needs to regulate the surrounding temperature as well as the amount of light the plants receive. According to statistics, around 70% of the operational cost of an indoor farm is created by the cost of electrical energy alone – as also attested to throughout this article on the amazing possibilities of using solar power for growing cannabis.
Right now, the human race able to produce around ten grams of crop per kilowatt-hour of electricity – according to the experts. In order to make indoor agriculture a more widespread reality, the cost of energy resources needs to be dramatically reduced, which can, in turn, be achieved by more efficiently recreating the resources the plants need – or by using more efficient systems to produce the power, such as solar power.
America’s First Gigantic Solar-Powered Cannabis Grow as Inspiration
Feeling overwhelmed by the near-constant flood of dismal climate news? Well, here’s a breath of fresh air. Along with solar panels and other savvy efficiency mechanisms like water recycling and LED lighting, the microgrid has already enabled companies to cut their emissions in half. This is certainly a promising example for an industry that has largely failed to change in the face of escalating climate-related disasters.
Whatever you do, don’t hold off on going solar, since the legalization of more states only means that emissions are guaranteed to climb. One 2018 paper shows that the industry's energy demands could jump by 162% by 2022. And as this happens, the feds – drug policy and environmental policy must be harmonized.
Until then, some of the nation’s hard-earned progress towards climate change solutions is on the chopping block as regulators continue to ignore the cannabis industry’s mushrooming carbon footprint. It’s time to go solar!
Tips for Buying Your Solar Setup
Multiple quotes means more savings
As with any investment-type purchase, buying the right solar panel installation should entail proper research and consideration. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory recommended that consumers are wise in comparing many solar options to avoid paying high prices offered by some installers in the solar industry.
To find contractors that typically offer lower prices, we recommend that you use an installer sun-power-oriented company like any of the ones we recommend in this article. Please refer to the section below in the form of a helpful buyer’s guide.
The biggest installers don’t always have the best prices
We encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, as bigger isn’t always better. As a matter of fact, a report by the U.S. government found that large installers generally cost over $2,000 to $5,000 more than with small solar companies. In this article, we help you out by comparing all the best offerings from various of the best solar installers to ensure you don’t spend more than you should.
Comparing all your equipment options
National-scale installers not only charge higher prices, but they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options. By collecting a diverse array of solar bids, you can compare your costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you. When seeking out the best solar panels on the market, there are multiple variables to consider.
While certain panels will have higher efficiency than others, simply buying the most expensive solar equipment doesn’t necessarily equal greater savings. This article on the amazing possibilities of using solar power for growing cannabis intends to help you find your sweet spot by evaluating varying equipment and financing offers.
For any grower or entrepreneur in the early stage of shopping for solar solutions, our recommendations in the buyer’s guide offer opportunities for long-term savings and better yields. With all that said, we can now move on to the ultimate solar power buyer’s guide, FYI…
The Ultimate Solar Power for Cannabis Buyer’s Guide
Followingly, we review our cherry-picked selection of standout companies and their relative recommended products for all your solar powering cannabis growing needs.
String Inverter Solar Panel Kits from Go Green Solar
String inverter solar panel kits are some of the most cost-effective solutions for cannabis grow-type solar installations. For homes, rooms, warehouses or buildings without any shading issues, string inverters provide a quick and easy solution to install solar.
Each String Inverter Solar Panel kit comes complete with tier-1 solar panels, a grid-tie string inverter, Ironridge racking, and free system monitoring. Depending on how you want to arrange your panels, your price may vary, nevertheless, this is a great option if you want to go green the right way.
Ground Mount Solar Panel Kits from Go Green Solar
Although ground-mounted systems are not popularly used (yet), they offer important benefits that one should be aware of. If you have some unused land on your hands, you can install a large solar system and generate even higher savings.
For most properties, ground-mounted solar installations allow for the maximization of your energy-generating potential. Shading – you can set up your solar panels in the sunniest regions of your yard to avoid shading.
No changes to existing rooftops are required with ground-mounted systems. The ground mount solar power kits can be installed yourself or by a contractor, and each kit comes complete with solar panels, grid-tie inverters, and hardware to do the ground-mounting. Choose the additional permit service to have detailed engineering plans and permit documents drawn up for you.
Micro Inverter Solar Panel Kits from Go Green Solar
The 20,000-Watt (20kW) DIY Solar Install Kit with microinverters, for example, provide several advantages over traditional inverters. They are not only safer, but provide better shade tolerance and are overall easier to install and allow for an expandable system.
For most homes in the United States, this 20,000-watt microinverter kit is more than enough to completely eliminate the electricity bill. If you want to convert a house into a growing operation, you'll only need the roof space.
These solar panels will occupy 1,150 square feet of your roof space, and with microinverters included, the modules can be placed anywhere without having to be grouped all.
Based on the average usage of one American, which is 920kWh, this system could provide complete coverage of your grow op’s electricity and reduce your bill to a dramatic zero. A 20kW solar kit such as this one is equal to 20,000 watts of DC direct current power!
This could produce an estimated 2,400-kilowatt-hours (kWh) of alternating current (AC) power per month, assuming at least 5 sun hours per day with the solar array facing South. Your highest output will be achieved with an unobstructed south-facing view of the sun for maximum solar power.
The power generated will vary based on location, equipment and installation factors. Kindly refer to your electric utility bill to find the actual kWh used per month and compare it to how much power amazing 20kW PV systems can generate!
SolarEdge PV Optimizer Kits from Go Green Solar
The SolarEdge solar kits combine the benefits of both micro and string inverters for larger PV systems. Each kit comes complete with tier-1 solar panels, SolarEdge Inverter with PV Optimizers, Iron Ridge racking, and wireless system monitoring. The 30000-Watt (30kW) DIY Solar Install Kit w/SolarEdge Inverter, for example, includes solar panels, inverter optimizers, and the racking system for roof mount.
These are complete PV power systems that can work great for a large-scale cannabis growing operation, with everything you need to get the system up and running. The kits include hardware components. A 30kW Solar Kit will require over 1,725 square feet of space. 30kW or 30 kilowatts is 30,000 watts of DC direct current power.
This could produce an estimated 3,000-to-4,000-kilowatt-hours (kWh) of alternating current (AC) power per month, assuming that at least five hours of sun shines per day – with your solar array facing South. The highest output will be achieved with an unobstructed south-facing view of the sun for maximum solar power.
The actual power generated will vary based on location, equipment and installation factors. If you like, you can refer to your electric utility bill to find the precise amount of kWh used per month, and then compare it to how much power these amazing, low-cost 30kW PV systems can generate. The math really isn’t rocket science here.
When an entire organization works well together, efficiencies soar, output increases and goals are reached. This is synonymous to the the power of seamless integration and the inspiration behind SunPower Helix commercial solar systems. This is your complete commercial solar solution made with smarter technology and more dependable savings right on your roof of choice.
Ideal for indoor cannabis growing operations, Helix generates more of your energy needs than ever before. With one of the most efficient solar panels on the market, you can reach your goals faster and achieve sustainability.
Say goodbye to energy disruptions and ridiculous bills forever with SunPower Helix systems. Going and staying solar is easy and affordable with commercial energy solutions that work together flawlessly by having flexible designs, fewer parts and faster installation.
By now, we all know that lower electricity costs are one of the best reasons for going solar, and with industry-leading technology backed by a 25-year panel warranty, the Sunpower Helix delivers one of the most predictable long-term commercial solar savings. Get it on the roof or on the ground.
The Helix Roof system combines SunPower’s high-efficiency, high-performance panel technology, productized mechanical mounting and electrical systems and innovative O&M services to maximize the energy output from your grow operation’s rooftop.
This complete solar panel kit entails a 12v Sterling Battery 85ah AGM Deep Cycle. Sterling’s high integrity Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries operate as a starved electrolyte system, where the electrolyte is limited to the amount that is absorbed in the battery plates.
The resulting system allows gases produced during overcharge to diffuse from one plate to the other and to be recombined back into the electrolyte. This combination creates a closed and highly efficient system, thus reducing the release of gases into the atmosphere under normal discharge conditions.
Since the electrolyte is recycled, there is no need to add water to the batteries, and this reduced maintenance conveniently leads to a longer life battery in a clean and compact utility. This kit also includes the Solar Frontier BLACK 165W CIS Solar Panel, which is a real winner in the opinion of this article on the amazing possibilities of using solar power for growing cannabis.
Extremely hard to get hold of, these panels are parcel of new stock that has been in storage for a project that didn’t previously pan out. Brand new, grab them while you can, as limited stock is available.
Note, these solar panels will occupy about 1,150 square feet of roof space. Luckily with microinverters, the modules can be placed anywhere and don't have to be grouped together. These panels do not have shading issues like others, where the shade only affects the actual amount shaded. Moreover, this kit includes all of the following quality parts:
- 30A 12V-24V MPPT Charge Controller – EPever XTRA 3215N – 150VOC PV – LCD Meter
- Aluminium Long Black Mounting Brackets 550mm Pair (Set Of 2) With End Caps Included – Great For Vans Or Boats.
- Optional MT50 Display Screen For Tracer AN BN CN MPPT Charge Controllers 10a 20a 30a 40a 60a 100a
- Optional MT50 Display Screen For Tracer AN BN CN MPPT Charge Controllers 10a 20a 30a 40a 60a 100a
- Premade MC4 6mm Solar Cable 10 Meter – (Cut In Half To Make Two MC4 To Bare Wire Cables When Used In Our Kits) 10M Length
- 6mm Cable – Charge Controller Or Inverter To Batteries – 1 Meter With M8 To Bare Wire
- Cable Gland Entry Box With 2 Glands – Male Compression Glands
- 32A DC DIN Mount Breaker 125V MCB C Curve
- Digital Multimeter 500V AC/DC For Setting Up And Testing Your System – Including Battery
- DIN Mount Rail 35mm 10cm Long For DC Or AC Breakers
Flexible Panel by Overlander
If you’re on the move, this semi-flexible panel packs a whopping 160 watts into the smallest surface – and will do you just right. With SunPower Maxeon Gen 3 cells at 22 X 60 inches, you can’t do better when space and weight are important factors.
At 23.7% median efficiency, these SunPower Gen 3 cells have the highest crystalline silicon production efficiency on the entire planet. In real terminology, this panel produces almost 30% more power than a standard solar panel – even though both have the same watts.
Bugout 130 Solar Charger by Overlander
The Bugout 130 Portable Solar Generator is built to withstand the harshest conditions rain or shine, whether you are a clumsy over-lander or depend on mission-critical power for whatsoever operations. The Bugout 130 is the solar power system of choice for thousands of RV and Camper owners, Overland Expeditions as well as government agencies and remote site operations.
Powur Solur Portable Solar Kit
Powur Solur has undoubtedly assembled one of the most passionate, talented groups of people ever to come together for the goodwill of the solar industry. Making a great impact, this portable solar kit generates enough power for most camper applications, with up to 7 amps per hour into the battery. When paired with the Solar Charge Controller, it will rapidly charge any 12-Volt battery.
In contrast to other flexible solar systems, the Bugout 130 Portable Solar Kit was designed as big dynamite in a small package. The solar performance is unrivaled, generating power even in rain and snow!
Proudly made by Powur Solur in Boise, Idaho, the Bugout 130 can withstand any weather and provide big power when you need to charge much more than phones, tablets, and the GPS. The Powur Solur Portable Solar Kit includes a 20-foot extension cable with SB50 and SAE connectors to plug into your camper solar plug, in addition to a PLB40 Battery Pack, and other common portable battery systems to make your growing life on the road that much easier.
Go Solar with Solar Direct
Solar Direct does a tremendous job in evaluating your present energy consumption and predicting future energy costs. Their proposed alternative energy solutions will decrease your operating costs to be below your competition’s.
Making you more competitive and profitable, Solar Direct offers pre-engineering consultations to help eliminate any impairments to the performance, functionality, and installation of your new solar system for cannabis growing purposes.
Solar Direct’s engineering philosophy, coupled with a lean methodology focuses on the methods needed to solve complex challenges utilizing superior design performance. They will secure all necessary permits, schedule all required inspections, and provide project management to work with your cannabis business, organization and/or farm to customize a solar roadmap of note.
Solar Direct will assist your organization in obtaining all the important stuff to make your solar investment more affordable and improve your ROI. In addition, they also help you obtain LEED Certification from the United States Green Building Council – something that allows your organization to promote your business as a participating energy-conscious entity.
ASP Solar Technologies, LLC
ASP Solar Technologies is pioneering a wide variety of renewable energy solutions, including a unique combination of wireless, high-performance solar electronic products and gadgets designed with the latest and greatest technology to provide tremendous power and light output. All of this, comes in addition to top-notch security and bringing enjoyable experiences to growers, enthusiasts and organizations globally.
ASP has been in the Renewable Energy industry since 2011, and continues to expand its solar products, services and installations as the opportunity escalates. They provide many individuals and companies with a variety of innovative solar products. These products are created with the greatest degree of precision and care. Essentially, the organization develops, installs and maintains high-performance solar power infrastructure and sells to bigger corporations.
These solar power systems help consumers reduce electricity dependency and cost largely. In addition, we have made your solar energy purchase very easy through PayPal.
The ASPS 902 20kW All-in-one solar power system, for example, is pre-wired in our factory, with full testing done on key components to ensure everything is functional and ready to go. All the units come with an advanced maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithmic solar charge controller.
Precision Solar Solutions
Precision Solar provides Canadian solar PV Panels, and as a premium brand solar panel manufacturer, they have been ranked in the top three in quality, cost and efficiency ratios for the past 3 years. Within a day or two, their expert team can design a system for your property and provide you with an estimation of your total cost, savings and environmental impact. by the following month, costly electric bills can be a faint memory.
Positioned to bring you cutting-edge products from around the globe, Precision Solar comes highly recommended as a supplier of some of the highest-rated Solar PV panels, EV charging, Energy Storage, Micro-Hydro Generation, Wind and even Hydropanels. With Precision Solar Solutions, you have several options available to finance your new energy generation system.
The Main Mission of Noted Solar Companies
When the founder of Power Solur, Jonathan Budd was 26 years old, he went to the Amazon rainforest to change his life and find a career that held more meaning and purpose. After his eye-opening and life-altering experience, Jonathan came back a changed man and dedicated his life to solar energy and sustainable energy.
The origins of this company are rooted in how it makes a difference on planet earth. Power Solur incorporated is a public benefit corporation, meaning they have a legal initiative in corporate bylaws to actually do good for the environment and for society.
One of the ways in which Sun Power backs up its responsibility is by and through the creation of a company-wide carbon offset program. You can even visit the carbon offset page to look at all of the projects that they fund and all the things they do to offset the emissions the team creates.
But Sun Power took things even further by becoming the first solar company to also offset the emissions from the manufacturing of solar equipment. With that said, the amazing possibilities of using solar power for growing cannabis have only been touched upon in this article – for beyond it, lies even more.
Every installation recommended in this article uses pure clean energy from the sun, and will save the planet in the long run – apart and besides from enabling cannabis growers to grow fields of dreams!
Using Solar Power for Growing Cannabis Conclusion
Cannabis companies are already starting to consider and implement solar roofing to supply their operations – and it’s time for the rest of the industry to get on board. As have been shown in this article, numerous reports and first-hand experience state that solarized cannabis grow operations can and will indeed significantly lower overall costs in addition to more priceless pros.
The power of the sun can enable an endless number of cannabis growers to decrease environmental impact while retaining the same level of control as a traditional grow room. Moreover, solar-powered grow lights help to control growing conditions and optimize the potency of cannabis strains without any harmful or non-natural additives. We urge all growers to salute the sun and start using its power today to grow the best of cannabis the world has ever seen.