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Advanced LED lighting solutions with adaptive control and monitoring

Every grower knows the financial burden associated with large-scale cannabis cultivation. It’s not just the business plan that has to be accurately laid out, but also an operation plan that defines the total cost of operation to ensure success in a timely manner.

“Cannabis cultivation facilities are very energy-intensive,” says Gary Arnold, Vice President of TSRgrow. “To counter that, you see states such as Massachusetts that have already implemented some energy-restrictive regulations, or California that is currently working on a similar piece of legislation.” Such measures are aimed at limiting the amount of electricity used per square foot of canopy in commercial cannabis buildings. Naturally, a way for growers to tackle this is to use advanced LED solutions, not just lighting. “But then, there’s an issue with how LED lights have been marketed,” says Mikhail Sagal, President of TSRgrow. “A lot of lighting design is based on wrong sets of data, giving growers unattainable expectations. There are a lot of parameters to understand in regards to lighting fixtures, and it’s critical for growers to understand what they are getting.”

A complex system 
Lighting is not a separate factor from the rest of cultivation. It’s crucial for growers to be confident in the tools they’re choosing as everything in a grow room must work together. “Everything is connected within a cultivation facility,” Gary says. “If you tweak one thing, be sure you’ll have to tweak another hundred because of that. Most cannabis cultivation businesses grow multiple cultivars with different growing recipes. This basically means that different crops need to be handled separately. Each plant has their own unique feeding, lighting and environmental standards that must be individually met in order to gain the best cultivation results. So, you need to collect information to make the right decisions. At TSRgrow, we map out sensors in the grow rooms to ensure there is enough data to help make informed decisions. This enables cultivators to dial into a system and take advantage of the flexibility of TSRgrow LED solutions, and thus adapt to the grow room requirements. We see a lack of granularity in zones with conventional on-fixture ballast lighting due to the limitation of running two-wire dimming circuits. TSRgrow has infinite zoning so that it’s a simple adjustment for the plant variety in the grow rooms.”

What is really at stake for growers is the possibility to prepare their business to withstand future changes, not only on the cultivation side, but on the regulation side as well. “As more cultivation facilities come online, energy utility companies will start noticing how much energy demand there is. As a grower, you want to make the most efficient use of energy.  That’s why TSRgrow has developed an advanced LED lighting solution that gives growers unprecedented control over the lights. “The rationale behind our advanced LED lighting solution is to provide growers with an additional level of control over the lighting system,” Gary says. “It’s challenging, if not outright impossible, for conventional lighting solutions to manipulate light zones.”

TSRgrow’s advanced LED lighting solution removes the ballasts from the fixtures and locates our digital Remote Power Server technology outside of the grow rooms, through which it’s possible to control each individual aspect of every single fixture. “Sensors are placed strategically throughout the grow environment, collecting data on what is going on in terms of temperature, humidity, nutrients, and so on,” Gary continues. “Within the Remote Power Server platform, growers are able to program, set different zones and get feedback for each zone. Basically, once you put all the data together, we have a master recipe for growing.”

Collecting data 
This advanced LED lighting system is beneficial because it allows growers to not only control the lighting, but also collect data and analyze what works well and what doesn’t. But it doesn’t end there. “The fixtures are installed without any ballast,” Mikhail says. “The decoupled Remote Power Server platform allows growers to literally control the amount of energy that goes into every lamp. This is crucial to be ready for future changes: if growers can only use so much electricity, they could have a hard time complying with regulations as they don’t really have much control over how much energy is going into the facility. We’ve designed our platform to give growers that additional piece of control. They can distribute the power directly to the fixture. This means that our LED lights can be run at much higher power, or according to what’s needed.”

According to Mikhail, such a feature is particularly relevant to make any cannabis cultivation future-proof. “By centralizing all the power, growers can adapt to future growth requirements, both in terms of changing regulations or different cultivars being grown. This is especially important in a market that is ever-changing.”

It is with that in mind that TSRgrow is working on a more innovative solution to address the complexity of cannabis growing and the related regulations. “I am particularly interested in CHP (combined heat power), and bringing power from solar farms into our system for co-generation,” says Gary. “We have several projects that are looking at these micro-grid power systems to drive the facility.” One way to foster this vision further is to pair up with our A-team partners that we know, trust and can count on. “The market is growing exponentially, and handling that all by ourselves is going to be a monumental task. The goal is to combine resources to increase benefits for growers and the cannabis industry as a whole.”

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