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The Future – Indoor LED Grow Lights Will Help Mitigate Marijuana Industry Energy Issues


led marijuana cannabis grow lightEnergy Consumption By Indoor Marijuana Growers Will Be An Issue For The Expanding Marijuana Industry Moving Forward

LED grow lights are not new. I know people that have used LED grow lights for quite sometime now. I don’t know anyone personally that only uses LED lights for their garden, but I know a lot of people that use them during the veg stage or to add a different spectrum to compliment their other lights. One of the biggest arguments for the use of LED lights is the energy savings. Anyone that has grown cannabis on a medium to large scale has experienced sticker shock when they get their electric bill. Growers are always looking for ways to save money on the power bill.

In the not too distant future I think that LED lights are going to become the norm. Recently in Nevada, state energy regulators expressed concern about how much energy the soon-to-be-launched Nevada medical marijuana industry could potentially use. With recreational marijuana legalization hopefully on the way in Nevada in 2016, I imagine those concerns will continue to grow. Nevada does not allow outdoor cultivation due to security and visibility provisions, which is something a lot of other states are putting in place too. All of those state’s marijuana will require indoor facilities with a lot of artificial lighting.

A lot of people in the industry that I have met have not even considered how future energy rates and policies will affect their facilities. Energy limitations will eventually happen for the industry, whether people like it or not. Colorado’s largest energy supplier had the following to say during last summer, per EENews.Net:

Numbers from Colorado’s largest utility indicate that about one in every 200 watts it sells is being fed to marijuana grow operations. In Washington state, where legal pot farming is being rolled out more slowly, utilities don’t yet have estimates. But unofficial projections are still substantial.

Gabriel Romero, spokesman for Xcel Energy Inc., the major electricity provider in Colorado, wrote in an email, “We are in the process of beginning to track state licensed facilities in the marijuana industry and have roughly estimated that the industry’s total energy use is 150-200 [gigawatt-hours] per year, or about ½ of 1 percent of our total annual electric sales.”

1% of total consumption is a lot, especially considering the fact that the cultivation sector of the industry is growing in Colorado and beyond. Energy consumption will continue to be an issue that worries regulators, and I have to assume at some point they will address the issue with new rules. People that make the successful transition from high pressure sodium and metal halide bulb lights to more energy friendly LED lights will be ahead of the curve. I know a lot of people prefer higher energy consuming bulbs, but the writing is on the wall.

The only thing holding back the LED industry right now is a lack of data. There are a lot of companies scrambling to get into the cannabis space with their LED lights, but they don’t have examples of gardens that are all LED that they can point to and say ‘If you use X amount of our lights, you can expect a range of Y-Z in yield.’ I see that changing soon, as the private industry will fill the void once government rules begin to adapt to the growing energy consumption rate of the cannabis industry.



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Johnny Green


  1. james schuchardt on

    CFLs might have dropped because they stopped being the premium light source. This is how I imagine the price is set ” consumer will save $x on electricity so I’m going to set the price at this even though the price is profit %300.” I could be wrong but this is how I have seen prices set and how the car dealers figure out how much the can squeeze out of you

  2. With most things, prices are always negotiable, if you don’t just accept the sticker price. My pick is the Suncloak LED lighting, it is a unique system and more effective and efficient.

  3. The 600watt LED develop light supplant of 1000watt HPS just, not over that. Driven execution is base on the LED chip, wavelength, proportion of shading.

  4. Have you seen the just released suncloak.com lighting system? It engulfs the entire plant in a cloak of light including the sides . Patent pending but they are on the market for sale. Partnering with Intelligent highway solutions

  5. Margaret Holland on

    Lets see if I have the math correct? An LED fixture draws about 50% less electricity than it’s HPS equal, but produces 20% less bud. So If you doubled the LED lighting so you were using the same amount of electricity as the Original HPS fixture you could increase your yield by 30%. In essence an equal per kwatt hour energy cost with LED fixtures vs HPS fixtures could increase the yield by about 30%. If we include costs like fans, ducting, cooling hoods, and cost of electricity to operate support equipment for the HPS lighting then we could further increase the amount of LED lighting.

  6. The HiOptiX 1000 LED Grow Light operates at 586w to replace 1000w MH? I want to assume that this product also dramatically improves harvest weight, CBD & THC levels, etc. The LED Grow Lights in the industry that I have been most impressed with accomplish this at 180w – 250w.

  7. I’m happy to see that this Post is sparking a lot of debate, but it seems that the LED sceptics are overlooking an important point.

    While Metal Halide and HPS, across the board, are nearly identical in form and function – LED is not created equal. A lot of LED is not intended for Grow Ops, but there certainly are some LED Grow Lights that are vastly superior to any MH, HPS or Fluorescent.

    My company manufactures several lines of LED, none of which have any measurable UV composition. These LEDs are intended for offices, public spaces, roads, etc. If you used any of them in a grow operation you would not be pleased with the yield, but to make a determination that LED is no good would be very hasty.

    My company also represents a line of LED, made near us in the Pacific Northwest, intended specifically for Grow Ops. These LEDs have a very accurate UV composition, emit variable heat for the different grow stages, and have color changing options that eliminate the need for acquiring and maintaining both MH and HPS. If you used these lights in your office, you would be uncomfortable.

    That being said, you very often will get exactly what you pay for. Contrary to popular belief, that MADE IN CHINA stamp does not indicate an inferior product. My experiences with MADE IN CHINA LED is variable based on the source from which I acquire it. If you put in the time and effort to buy direct from the manufacturer, you now have the flexibility to buy a high, mid, or low quality product that can be scaled to fit your budget. Gold leads are more expensive than copper, which is more expensive than… Ceramic heat sink is more expensive than aluminum, etc.

    If you have a Grow Op, spend what is necessary for you to get the result that you desire.

    If you want high heat, lamp/ballast/capacitor failure, and a high energy bill then traditional lighting will take you there.

    If you want to operate as a financially sustainable business with a low overhead, invest in quality lighting, bite the bullet until you reach that 6-9 month ROI, and then reap the rewards for 8-11 years.



  8. Scumboldt Assassin on

    And so fucking expensive they will not dare tell you unless you call them. When you call they mail you industrial quality lube so when they fuck you it will not hurt as much

  9. UVB will not make or break a harvest. Also LED does not penetrate the canopy. Led is a great in addition to traditional lighting and good in early vegetative growth stages. I grow outside during spring through fall. The extra heat generated by my lights is put to use to heat my home during the winter, So sorry for your high power bill in the winter. I am friends with Ed Rosenthal and I trust his research and opinion more than yours.

  10. Ah…the indoor vs outdoor issue will be debated for years to come, but I say, give me that sun kissed weed – just like nature intended!

  11. Your facts are incorrect. Your PAR otputs are more important than lumens anyways. On top of that, hps doesn’t have UVB lighting either. Enjoy your sky high (sorry) electric bill. I paid more upfront for my lighting for sure, but it’s a fact that within a year I will have made up the difference in electric costs.

  12. This sounds promising since the LED’s are so F-ing outrageous in price. The world economy is in a slow motion Train Wreck but most people are too ignorant to realise this. Technology is exploding on all fronts and there is so much of it that it will have the effect of driving prices down to compete with the available dollars. The people selling the LED’s are failing to realise that the market is changing. Vote with your dollars for change.

  13. I know someone who consistently yields a gram per input watt on LED’s in a stealth situation. No excess heat to deal with, no burning leaves. Not bad in my opinion. Nothing will ever beat sun grown though.

  14. The savings in electrical use,,the safety factor,,the cooling costs associated with HPS makes the LED’s a better choice for the small grower,,and the stealth is still a factor in a lot of states. They are expensive right now because the demand is high,,just like every other electrical device the prices will drop.
    The market is filled with fake LED grow lites,,not even enough power to start plants much less grow them so I ordered mine from a reputable company in CA instead of China,,paid more but my 2 UFO’s are 3 years old and used in my veg on a 24 hr cycle without any burned out bulbs.

    My flower cabinet is CFL’s because you can buy them at any hardware store and 9X 28watt cfl’s put out the same lumen as a single 900 watt bulb but spread out over the plants instead of coming from one point,,side lights for taller plants makes up for the less penetration they have compared to HPS,
    and they operat at 1/3 the cost of HPS and requre no exrea cooling,,ventilation fans will keep your cabinet within optimal heat limits.

    The future is in a new light that is being developed in China,,imagine that,,it is plastic sheeting with micro-bubble filled with different gases for the blue and red color spectrum and a 1,5 volt electrical current run behind the sheets makes each bubble a separate micro-bulb filling an area full of light from all sides.

    Can’t wait to try them

  15. I’m retired and had fun testing different nutes, grow mediums and lights in indoor AZ grows. I’ve tried hps, induction lighting an 600 watt LED’s. I bought them at Alibaba.com direct from China for about $290 each, far cheaper than the hydro stores wanted for the same lights…the results for LED, smaller plants, bushier plants, and about 20% less product than induction lighting or hps.

  16. Led will never rival HPS. Now with the the new double ended bulbs and ballasts the lumens are double what traditional HPS delivers. As others here have mentioned, Led is way too expensive also and cannot match even the lumen output of outdated HPS Bulbs and Ballasts. This is fact not opinion.

  17. It is a real issue that needs to be addressed A.S.A.P. as more and more folks start to draw from their local utility cos.

  18. CFLs were very high priced in the beginning. Rising volumes lower costs. And there is something called quantum dots in the works which should increase efficiency.

  19. That brings up another point. What is funny is how many companies use China manufacturers. I have seen several LEDs lights that were the exact same parts with a company brand name on it and the price differential was substantial.

    The problem is like the rest of the industry in that every one is trying to make mega bucks in the beginning by selling for the highest price. You overcharge me in the beginning, you can bet your bottom dollar I am going to your competitors when prices lower in the future. You charge me reasonably now and I’ll keep my business with you in the future even if your prices are just a tad higher.

    But since marijuana legalization will push for the lower power consumption LEDs, we need many more companies manufacturing LEDs here in the states. We certainly shouldn’t be going to China for mass produced and poorly constructed lights.

  20. Well said. I would love to use LED’s but I just can’t afford the initial cost. Ebay has some for as low as $15 but I’d rather not burn the house down using cheap crap!

  21. LEDs will not replace HPS and other common bulbs until they come down substantially in price without a trade off in quality and production. I love LEDs and use them 80% of the time but they certainly weren’t cheap for my initial cost. While I may spend less monthly on power, the larger startup cost is what will keep many growers from transitioning.

    Sure you can pick up 300w LEDs on Ebay but they hardly are equivalent to their HPS counterparts in productions. It is improving and some of the prices are coming down but not fast enough to lessen the demand for power of the non-LED crowd.

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