Cannabis production is an energy-intensive activity. Producers must maintain the right conditions of temperature, light, and humidity for the plant to grow. The process requires an electrical system with sufficient capacity to power operations such as lighting, HVAC system, drying, CO2 inject, space heating or water handling. Solar power for cannabis growers can be a great alternative, please read the article to know more.
Amount of electricity consumed to produce cannabis
According to a report by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, cannabis production could require between 60 MW to 160 MW of electricity consumption over the next 14 years. To put this into perspective, with the estimation from the report, the amount of electricity consumed to maintain four cannabis plants is as much as it takes to run 19 refrigerators.
With statistics from the United States on cannabis production, about 13,000 kW/h/year of electricity is required to run a standard production module (a 220.127.116.11 m (448 ft) chamber). Each module would produce 0.5 kg (1 pound) of final product per cycle, four to five production cycles per year. And a single grow house can contain between 10 to 100 of this standard module. The estimate of electricity usage for a grow house is about 20 TW/h/year nationally. That’s equivalent to the electricity usage of 2 million homes in the United States. That’s approximately 1 percent of the national electricity consumption, equating to $6 billion per year.
Solar energy — an alternative energy source for cannabis production
Not only does cannabis production require a large amount of power consumption, but it also leaves a high carbon footprint. Two pounds of cannabis can generate about 10,141 pounds of carbon dioxide. The current estimate is that the cannabis industry produces more than 16.5 million tons of carbon emissions per year — With the current social cost estimate of carbon being more than $50 per ton.
Solar power and battery storage are ideal choices for cannabis growers looking to reduce production costs and minimize their impact on the environment. Switching to solar power will help businesses offset electricity costs, create long-term sustainable production and enhance their brand image. Furthermore, this will allow them to earn incentives and tax credits from the government.
From left to right: CFO, CEO and director of cultivation at Solar Therapeutics-Robert Keller, Ed Dow and Brendan Delaney (cannabisbusinesstimes)
Some businesses have adopted environmental-friendly approaches, and it yields results. Solar Therapeutics in Massachusetts has roughly 70,000 square feet of solar panels on its roof and four acres of solar panels behind its facility. Solar Therapeutics CEO, Edward Dow, shared in MassLive that his business can generate 5.5 megawatts of power and will be able to cut its monthly electricity costs in half.
“Building sustainably makes sense not just for optics, but as an investment,” said Dow.