In 2011, when growing Marijuana was still illegal, indoor growers were consuming stolen electricity worth around $5 billion per year in the United States.
But now, with the legalization of the plant, there are an increasing number of indoor growers of Marijuana in many states either for recreational or medicinal purposes.
This naturally results in more electricity consumption in this industry sector. An indoor Marijuana farm needs an irrigations system and powerful lights to grow their weeds to maturity.
Naturally, this kind of farm will also need an intelligent light source if its owner wants to cut his energy costs. In this regard, his best option is using LED lights instead of conventional light bulbs.
LED lights will not only use less energy than high-intensity discharge lights, but they can also be customized to suit a specific crop. The market for LED grow-light module is expected to increase from $395 million in 2013 to $3.6 billion by 2020, based on the study made by Winter Green Research.
This rising trend will be driven by weed. Intelligent Light Source, an LED start up, is targeting the legal (and perhaps indirectly, the not-so-legal) weed crop operations of private individuals and businesses with lights that are customized to help them produce the most weeds from their indoor Marijuana farms.
“Our focus is from the home grower to the boutique grower,” says Jack Abbott, co-founder of Intelligent Light Source. “Someone who wants a highly differentiated crop,” he adds.
However, his company isn’t just advertising in the back of High Times or on websites punctuated with weed leaves, unlike the grow lights operations of many years ago.
ILS hopes that a majority of Marijuana indoor growers will seek their help to fine tune their operations, and consequently improve the quality of their products, whether it is in the size of the bud, or in its type of flavour.
Despite the recent falling prices of weeds in the Washington market, Abbott said that many farm operators are still making big money. At the moment, they are simply oblivious to the need of reducing their energy bills. This lack of concern on the part of a large majority of indoor Marijuana growers is a complicated problem facing public utilities.
ILS expects that indoor farm operators, and not just marijuana growers, will be focusing on better yields and the ability to fine-tune the indoor lights they are using.
The company’s start-up, which is self-funded, expects about half of its business to come from weed growers. The rest could come from the rising global indoor farm sector herbal supplements for weight loss.
“The pace of change and the innovation in the next five years will be driven by [marijuana] because it’s such a high value crop and it’s growing so quickly,” says Charles Gillespie, co-founder of ILS. “But we’ve been surprised how receptive some very large agricultural guys are,” he adds.
The LED lights are produced in China, but the entire design work for the lights and fixtures is done by ILS in California. However, these particular LEDs have chips that are more expensive than commercial LED lights, because they provide a fuller spectrum that includes the far red spectrum, which drives up the cost of one unit.
Photo Courtesy of Valley Independent Sentinel on Flickr