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Innovator Spotlight: Amplified Farms

Sacramento, California

The way we see the cannabis industry evolving now is much more about efficiencies.Steve Squaglia
Co-Founder and Director of Cultivation
Amplified - light energy savings
Higher THC Levels
Increased Prodution - Cannabis

Inside Amplified Farms: Driving Efficiency to Increase Production

A 2012 study found that legal, indoor medical cannabis cultivation was responsible for roughly 3 percent of California’s electricity consumption in 2012 – enough energy to power a million homes1. That was six years before the implementation of Proposition 64 (the initiative to legalize recreational cannabis) in 2018, and utility companies state-wide are looking for solutions to a looming energy crisis as increases in medical and now recreational cannabis production make California the world’s single largest cannabis economy.

A traditional indoor cannabis farm using high pressure sodium (HPS) lights with 10,000 square feet of flowering space can draw up to 550 kW of power for just lighting alone – that’s 6,775 percent more than a modern commercial office space of the same size2. In an effort to validate more energy-efficient lighting technologies that not only reduce strain on the grid, but also enable growers to achieve their cultivation and business goals, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) partnered with commercial cannabis producer, Amplified Farms to determine if LED technology is a viable alternative to HPS lighting.

A lot of our associates thought we were crazy, but everybody kept coming by to take a look. A few of those guys all have LEDs now.
Zach Goodin, Manager of Operations, Co-Founder

Trials with LED Horticulture Lighting vs HPS

Given the option to select the LED systems of their choice, Steve Squaglia, Co-Founder and Director of Cultivation and Zach Goodin, Co-Founder and Manager of Operations at Amplified Farms selected the Fluence SPYDRx PLUS. Amplified Farms designated two identical flower rooms to the trial, with all variables consistent except for lighting. One room contained 21 1,000-Watt Double-Ended HPS fixtures and they other contained 21 660-Watt Fluence SPYDRx PLUS fixtures.

A third-party consulting firm, Cadmus, monitored both rooms for the entire flowering cycle to collect energy and environmental data including energy consumption of lighting systems, plug loads and HVAC along with measuring photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), temperature, relative humidity and CO2 levels. Cadmus also collected yield and potency results for all strains in the study.

The study found a 25 percent savings in total energy, and a 37 percent savings in lighting energy when comparing round two of the Fluence room to the HPS room. In addition to the energy savings, the team at Amplified Farms noted the Fluence room achieved higher THC levels than historical averages, and yield within range of historical averages.

“I’d say it was eye-opening. We are able to have a whole additional row under ten tons [of HVAC] with the LED. It’s nice to get a lower electric bill, but our main concern is freeing up more amperage to expand and grow more cannabis,” said Goodman.

Based on the results of the study, SMUD now offers financial incentives to help cover the cost difference between energy-efficient Fluence systems and traditional HPS fixtures. For the full detailed report of the SMUD study, visit: Indoor Horticulture Lighting Study

Total kWh Use: HPS vs LED
Cooling + Dehum8,0736,528
Electrical Reheat6,3993,722
Fan Power5,7196,571
Plug Loads2,0071,742
Lighting 15,6329,860
25% Energy Savings