Case study

How a cannabis grower used lighting system to save money and improve yields

The challenges faced by large growers are exemplified in the case of Nipomo Ag, a fully licensed San Luis Obispo County grower who was in need of a lighting solution for a 175,000 sq ft greenhouse. Originally in the rose business, Nipomo Ag converted to a different type of plant a few years ago and have been dealing with all the peculiarities of that flower. Chief among their concerns was obtaining consistent yields during the winter months. With that in mind, they turned to California Lightworks for a high-tech, cost-effective solution.

MegaDrive lighting system
"MegaDrive lighting systems from California Lightworks are a trusted solution for growers in just this type of bind. The MegaDrive Linear 400 has proven particularly effective in helping growers improve their yields during gloomy, overcast winter months."

No canopy power drops
One of the biggest advantages of the MDL 400 is the absence of required power drops over the canopy. This is accomplished by chaining together up to 27 fixtures from a single power drop on the side of the building.

For Nipomo Ag’s requirements, a bit of ambition was required. Due to the immense scale of their operation, Nipomo Ag was originally planning on running power from one side of the building to the other. However, this would have cost an additional $100,000. At their request, California Lightworks ran simulations and determined that an additional 120 ft of their cabling could be used to extend from the power source to a second full run of 27 lights without noticeable power or brightness issues. This solution ended up saving Nipomo AG over $90,000 dollars.

Power requirements
Because no two spaces are exactly the same, all plans are carefully calculated by California Lightworks in advance to ensure everything will work upon delivery. This includes using computer programming to ensure that the proper amount of power will be available.

Each MegaDrive Linear 400 draws 380W with up to 3.5 µMoles/J efficacy. For Nipomo Ag, that meant a total of 6,000 amps were sent through 50, 10,000-watt power units to over 1,300 light fixtures. Since we know consistency is critical for growers, California Lightworks executed this system with no power drops over the canopy.

Now that MegaDrive has been installed in Nipomo Ag’s greenhouse, they are projected to have consistent yields throughout the year. This was accomplished without the need for individual power drops and drivers on each fixture thanks to California Lightworks’ innovative technology allowing 27 lights to be run from a single driver and drop. As these additional drivers and drops can account for as much as 50% of a typical lighting budget, the savings for Nipomo Ag were significant from the start. In their case, a further $90,000 was saved by avoiding trenching across the greenhouse.

"It’s not only Nipomo Ag that can benefit from the use of MegaDrive technology. Greenhouse growers of any size face similar issues and require supplemental lighting to keep a sustainable crop during the winter months. That being said, when you have a large growing operation, your concerns do tend to rise with the square footage. And, while we know that optimizing your infrastructure to produce a healthy and abundant crop can be challenging, MegaDrive from California Lightworks makes it easier and more affordable than anyone else on the market."

For more information:
California Lightworks

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