The weed industry is currently one of the fastest growing in today’s economy. As more states legalize weed, the demand for it continues to rise. But this rapid expansion also brings with it some problems. In particular, growing weed at large-scale grow operations requires vast amounts of electricity. Recognizing this, is solar power the answer to the weed industry’s energy needs?
High Demand For Energy
Most cannabis grow facilities can be separated into three major categories: indoors, outdoors, and mixed light. Outdoor facilities require the least amount of energy. They require only limited amounts of electricity to function properly.
On the other hand, indoor facilities demand a much larger amount of energy, since they use 100 percent artificial light.
Although outdoor growing has become more commonplace in states where cannabis is legal, indoor facilities remain more desirable.
Indoor products are often higher quality and therefore demand a greater premium. Additionally, the products are more easily controlled, and growers can get much more product in an indoor grow.
With such a high demand for electricity, solar technology could be one reasonable way to offset the huge amount of electricity used by growers.
There are arguably more outdoor grow facilities today than in the past, but the majority remain indoors. The higher cost of production for indoor products still doesn’t outweigh the high revenue they generate.
While solar power will undoubtedly reduce costs, it still can’t provide enough to fuel an entire indoor grow facility.
In fact, Duncan Campbell, the vice president of project development at Scale Microgrid Solutions, estimates solar power can provide about 25 percent of the total energy a full-sized grow operation needs.
” are in the business of eating electricity and producing a product,” he said. “We’re not taking any of these people off-grid. With solar, if I’m lucky, I can make 25 percent of their power.”
“These are really power-dense facilities. It’s a good market for high-efficiency panels, power optimizers, anything that can increase power.”
Final Hit: Is Solar Power The Answer To The Weed Industries Energy Needs?
Although solar can’t be the sole provider of energy for weed growers, it still puts a decent dent in total production costs. Additionally, it provides growers with a contingency plan in case something goes wrong with the facility’s electricity.
In large-scale facilities, if electricity were to go out, growers could lose over one million dollars in potential revenue from a lost day of growing. With solar energy, that will never be the case.
But there are still concerns with solar energy in the cannabis industry. Most companies haven’t been around for very long, so they are hesitant to invest in something that is most helpful in the long term.
Most growers are mainly looking for short term gain. Additionally, some states have a limit on medical marijuana licenses. This also limits the number of weed companies that might want to look into using solar.
Regardless, solar energy is something that cannabis companies should consider, especially as the emerging market continues to grow.
Although the legal cannabis industry is still relatively green, there is a lot of room for long-term improvement.
Solar energy would certainly provide a more sustainable form of energy to meet the needs of any company looking for a greener path to success.