Experts estimate that cannabis production now accounts for 1 percent of all electricity consumed in the U.S. Growers in Denver, an early adopter, use up 4% of all the electricity consumed in the metro area.
But as the market becomes more sophisticated, consumers demand both quality and the assurance that their cannabis use is not excessively harming the planet.
One option for growers seeking to lower their electricity spend — either for ecological or financial reasons — is the use of greenhouses. According to New Frontier Data, about 60 percent of electricity used by cannabis growers goes to indoor facilities. About 37 percent is used in greenhouses and less than 3 percent is used for outdoor grows.
So, how do we balance sustainability with quality?
A few options exist.
There’s a popular greenhouse design traditionally used for growing crops like tomatoes. Solaris Farms, the first high-tech hybrid greenhouse for cannabis built ground up in the desert outside of Las Vegas, uses this nontraditional design. The facility sits on 12 acres of land and can reach a maximum state-approved canopy of 328,000 square feet.
The company is also building a second phase closed-looped hybrid greenhouse to be finished in late 2020.
Solaris’ hybrid model, relatively unique to cannabis, is what has allowed the company to pave the way in Nevada. Compared to traditional outdoor farming and traditional indoor greenhouses, hybrid greenhouses in the right environment have the ability to produce a large volume of high-quality yields, with a lower cost structure.
That’s because the primary factor which makes these different from traditional greenhouses is a glass roof which is designed to maximize the natural sun benefits and minimize the needs for lighting and costs associated with electricity. Advanced hybrid designs like these have automated proprietary controlling parameters like blackout shading systems, high tech air filtration and heating systems, and sensors to capture real time environmental data and change environmental factors to match what the plants need.
This valuable data doubles as a competitive advantage for growers seeking to remain profitable.
Founder and CEO Michael Sassano believes that one day the entire industry will transition to hybrid greenhouses for reduced costs of production to decrease their contamination and their prices. …