SunGrown Indoor: Can Sunlight from Solatube Daylight Harvesting Systems Support Indoor Cannabis Growth?

2020-06-22T08:08:53Z (GMT) by Jonathan Cachat

This agricultural research examined how Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs), manufactured by Solatube International, Inc., can support indoor cannabis cultivation. Very little empirical research has examined the suitability of TDDs for agricultural use. Is the light quality and quantity emitted from Solatube TDDs suitable for driving photosynthesis?

With the rapid expansion of legal, regulated cannabis cultivation around the world there is a significant need to evaluate the environmental impact and overall sustainability of these operations - who consume energy per square foot on par with data centers and operating rooms. The industry standards now being adopted in regulated businesses are built on community consensus and "broscience" - for example the use of high pressure sodium bulbs in flowering rooms. These lights are inefficient (most energy lost as heat) and emit light not ideal for plant photosynthesis.

This research was performed to demonstrate a novel hybrid-light facility design and the value of agricultural technology to optimize cultivation operations. Similar to a greenhouse, the SunGrown Indoor facility fuels plant growth with free, natural sunlight. Unlike a greenhouse, the SunGrown Indoor rooms are fully insulated and therefore resilient against outside weather of the locality. It is truly the best of both worlds.

This was proof-of-concept, research & development stage work. It represents a demonstration that the approach is feasible. There are now several, larger sized (10,000 sq ft+) commercial SunGrown Indoor operations actively growing cannabis at scale. These operations have seen dramatic reductions in operating costs, as well as high quality plant output.