Electricity bill often becomes the greatest of challenges for people keen on growing marijuana indoors. In California, the largest medical marijuana growing state, pricing plan for energy is expected to increase significantly over the course of the next few months, and greenhouse farmers are desperately looking for ways to save on electricity expenses.
This is where solar power may come to aid, since California is also considered the ‘sunniest’ of states, and receives an average of 290 cloudless days per year. However, despite being obviously attractive due to longevity and cheap energy output, solar power equipment is a pricey toy, and fear is common that it wouldn’t pay off in short term.
With new electricity rates, this is no longer true at all. A small to medium greenhouse consumes 800 kilowatt-hours on average, which, with new rates would sum up to $88 per month. Not that much at first sight, but don’t forget that you would need your farm powered up round the clock, and thus would definitely fall under ‘time of use’ rates, which are even higher. Even the fastest growing marijuana strain usually takes at least 3 months to fully ripen, so count that, too.
What is more disturbing, you can attract the attention of your local electricity provider if you take too much off the grid. With brand new PG&E’s ‘Smart-Meters’, they are easily hunting down increased power consumption, and no marijuana grower would welcome an unwanted visit of the authorities.
Having a small solar panel installed, you would hardly draw anything from the grid. Now it’s midsummer in California, and your solar panel would get so much UV that you could easily store leftovers in rechargeable batteries for days less sunny. Panels are eco-friendly, and, if placed properly (e.g. on a rooftop), will never attract unwanted attention. So farmers should think twice and calculate their drawbacks when opting for 100% renewable sun energy versus the conventional plug-in to the power grid.