Investing in a solar powered grow room can be the best way to insure profitability of an indoor grow room, keeping utility bills low and costs down.
A solar powered grow room might be just right for you, whether you tie on to the grid or keep a low profile with an off grid system; the benefits of solar are increasing as energy prices go up. The reasons for solar include security, saving money, profitability, and the environment.
On the Security reason, it is safer to go off grid because police and Federal DEA agents look for raised electricity bills and infrared heat signatures of houses, LED light grow rooms use less electricity and produce less of a heat signatures. Also in a power outage, if you have a solar off-grid system, you will be able to run for days with out any interruption, this is important because if you lose power it can potentially stunt the growth of your plants.
On the Environmental issue, of course by producing all your own energy from the sun, you are creating and using 100% renewable energy. Even having a solar system supplement the bills by net-metering (selling electricity back to the utility) can save a grower big money. We will discuss average electricity usage of growers and typical electrical load in a second.
On saving money, a solar powered grow room can save $$$ in electricity bills and can offset an approximate monthly 800 kilowatts hours, the equivalent of a small grow room. 800 kilowatt hours would be 800 times 10cents/kilowatt or 80 dollars US. A small grow room has the potential to double the usage of a house’s electricity usage. (average American family uses 936 kWh per month)
If you can offset this cost of running the lights in a grow room, you have significantly raised your profitability and lowered you cost to produce the marijuana.
Now let’s talk about sizing a solar electric system for you. We need to find your load of your system, this depends on how many lights, possibly pumps (for hydroponics), etc…. Your average daily power consumption will be expressed in watt hours per day. (watt-hours or wh)
RULE OF THUMB: LED lights use less energy and produce more light with lower wattage, a rule of thumb to use is that for every 240 Watts of high powered LEDs you get the equivalent of 1000 watts. Typical grow lights will be 1000 watts if they are of any quality such as most HPS and HID grow lights.
Choose the number of lights you use in the spaces provided. With one 240W LED light you can cover about a 4 by 4 foot area or 16 square feet. Approximately 4—240 Watt LED lights make up 1000 watts. 4 lights could cover a grow room 48 square feet or a room 5 x 10, a sizable grow room.
The wattage for 4-240W LED lights would be 960watts. These high powered LED lights can be hard to find but they are becoming more popular, here is a link to a 120 W LED system. Most appliances (like a pump) have a power tag on the back with this information. A useful formula for this step is: Amps x Volts = Watts.
For lights, add up the number of hours each type of bulb is on. For example, if you have four 240W bulbs (approximately 1000W for math purposes) on for 24 hours each day, write down 24000 watt-hours, this would be 168000 watt-hours per week or 672kWh per month. Divide by 7 to get daily usage of 24,000 watt hours per day.
1kW = 3600kWh; So 24,000kwh/3600kwh gives us a system sized at 6.6kW.
|System 7 KW – OutBack Equipment: 2450 Peak Watts DC, 7400WH/day
|System 7 KWH – OutBack Equipment Price||$20,632|
- The levelized cost of electricity for this system is .21 cents, therefore if energy prices keep rising past .21 cents your price per kilowatt will be cheaper, and once the system pays for itself— free.
- As you can see, for a 1000 Watt light to run 24 hours a day for a month you are using 732kWh per month, average American family uses 936 kWh per month, so it takes quite a bit of energy to run a system that will make quality bud.
- As energy prices go up it is expected to save annually $516 Average Annual Utility Savings,
over 25-year expected life of system and currently a system like this will save $308 in the initial year and increase as energy prices go up.
- To do your own solar calculation visit this solar calculator at http://www.find-solar.org or Pvwatts 2 at http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/codes_algs/PVWATTS/version2/
The average price of a 7kW system would be $22,941.00 Only $3.16 Per Watt !!!
Price Before Any Rebate Or The 30% Federal Tax Credit !