The Rising Brightness in Cannabis Cultivation Facilities
In the past decade, the average brightness in cultivation rooms has nearly doubled. Our industry has come a long way from the basement grows of old, and the innovations never stop, replacing watering cans with on demand fertigation and old street lights with high power LEDs. One major difference we’ve observed is the PPFD cultivators are choosing for flower rooms. Some phases have remained stable; clone is still around 150 uMole, mother roughly 500, etc. But just a few years ago, most cultivators were flowering in rooms around 800-900 uMole. This number is continuing to rise, with large scale facilities generally running at least 1100 PPFD, and newer ones pushing up into the 1200-1500 range.
What's Causing It?
First, with cultivation licenses limiting the square footage of facilities, the pressure to grow as much as possible in a given room has caused cultivators to innovate. In addition to multiple tiered rooms, bright lighting grows more weight, making the most out of confined spaces. There’s also pressure in the market to grow high THC strains, which are more likely to be bought by customers. Total Active Cannabinoid (TAC) content has been pushing up over 30% in recent years, and continues to rise. While there are several ways to increase cannabinoid production, ranging from genetic choice, nutrients, temperature, and spectrum manipulation, brighter rooms tend to produce more potent plants.
How High Will it Go?
Cannabis thrives in the tropics, were the intense sunlight falls with a PPFD of 2200 – 2400 uMole/m/s. Theoretically, lighting conditions in cultivation rooms could continue to rise, though there is a point of diminishing returns. Adding another 100 uMole to a 900 uMole room will have a far greater impact than adding it to a room already at 1400 PPFD. Cultivators need to weigh how much more the extra electricity, lighting, and AC will cost with how much they’ll sell the added weight for to determine if going brighter is worth it. For now, the experts seem to be lighting around 1250, so we’ll call that a safe bet for anyone starting out.
Reflecting this change, the Revolution Micro product line is adapting. Our flagship LED, the Avici 1150w, will be joined by a new design: Avici 1500w. The original Avici was designed to out perform HPS at 2,400 uMole, and the new 1500 will boast an impressive output of 4,620 uMole to deliver maximum development.
Revolution designs, manufactures, and sells world-class lighting, power, and control systems for controlled environment agriculture.