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US (NM): Microproducer grows cannabis off-the-grid using solar panels

Janet Miller joked for years about growing cannabis on a 4.21-acre plot of land in Valencia County she inherited from her mother over three decades ago. However, the joke turned into a real business proposition when Mike Kimball, Miller's friend from high school, called her when momentum around an adult-use market began building in the New Mexico legislature.

When it came time to start growing, the team ran into a problem because the land Miller owns isn't wired into the electrical grid. But that turned into an opportunity when they learned installing solar panels would cost about the same as installing electricity. "It makes us unique, gives us marketability, and also, it's the right thing," Miller said of being off the grid. 

After being quoted $350,000 by solar companies that recommended installing 70 panels, the team bought a Bluetti power kit and wired it up themselves. Now, about a dozen solar panels are powering the operation's air conditioning unit, six smaller panels are running the fans, and one keeps the battery bank charged.

In addition to the solar, 4.21 Acres' sustainability practices extend right down to the soil. Its cannabis growing uses the Korean natural farming method to protect the plants with microbes developed in the soil. The natural ecosystem is also sustained through frogs, lizards, and praying mantises that keep pests out. 

To read the complete article, go to www.bizjournals.com


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