When growing cannabis commercially, cultivators must consider several costs before launching the business. One of the most critical variables is the electricity bill.
Electricity bills will vary according to your location, your growing methods, the size of your crop, and your room size. While electricity is a significant expense, growers can cut down their power consumption by using energy-efficient equipment.
This article aims to give you a deeper understanding of the cost of cannabis cultivation electricity bills and ways to minimize it!
Why Can Your Electricity Bill Rise When Growing Cannabis
All cannabis cultivation methods use electricity to a certain extent.
However, indoor growing consumes the most energy in order to create the ideal environment for cannabis plants.
Indoor cultivators should design greenhouses with ventilation, specialized lighting, and air conditioning (AC) systems.
Every indoor grow should use bright grow lights in conjunction with powerful fans or ACs for a quicker yield.
Along with grow lights, good ventilation is required to aerate the room for optimum yield.
Most cannabis cultivators install a ventilation system using fans to supply enough oxygen and carbon dioxide to the plants.
Depending on the size of the room, indoor growing may also use air-conditioners if fans are not powerful enough.
Additionally, cannabis plants need a specific humidity level for water absorption from the soil for a high yield.
To maintain the proper humidity level in the grow room, both growers can use a humidifier and dehumidifier to adjust water vapor concentration in the air.
Grow houses consume an enormous amount of electricity in comparison to commercial and residential consumption.
According to NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures), in 2015, an average indoor grow room in Boulder County of 5,000-square-foot consumed 41,808 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month.
In contrast, an average household consumption ranged around 630 kWh.
How Much Should It Cost In Electricity To Grow One Plant?
The price of electricity will depend according to your growing method, your equipment, and your location.
According to Electricity Plans, the average electricity bill across the U.S. is $0.12/kWh.
The company also stated that the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) discovered an average consumption of 2,000 to 3,000 kWh per pound of cannabis products for indoor grow rooms.
If you want to have an estimate of your electricity bill for grow lights, ACs, or fans, you will need:
- Electricity cost of your location (measured in kWh)
- The wattage of your electrical device
- Number of hours you are planning to use the device
Using this formula, you can thus calculate the cost of electricity for one plant or your monthly bill:
Electricity cost ⨉ number of hours (wattage/1000) = total cost
Some growers may even run their fans and lights for up to 24 hours every day to optimize yield.
How To Manage Your Cannabis Electricity Bill?
To reduce the cost of the electricity bill and minimize the environmental impact, you can use energy-efficient equipment, including LED lights and fewer fans.
Growers can achieve the same light intensity as higher wattage HID lights while producing less heat with LEDs.
With less heat, they will not require as much ventilation and cooling equipment.
Switching from HID to LED lighting is an excellent way to save money on your electric bill.
The Size Of Your Garden
It is critical to consider how much growth you require.
With fewer plants, less lighting and cooling equipment are required.
For example, growing two plants consumes significantly less energy than growing eight plants.
Test Your Insulation
Insulation not only promotes growth and contributes to the humidity required for plant survival, but it also helps maintain the grow room's temperature.
Additionally, it is critical to ensure that the pipes are correctly insulated.
Otherwise, the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system will have to work harder to maintain the proper temperature in the grow room.
Growers frequently make the error of selecting the incorrect fans or employing an excessive number of fans.
These two critical errors result in significant increases in energy consumption and costs.
Integrated Climate Control System
Growers have access to numerous integrated climate control systems.
Thus, it is crucial to do in-depth research for the best control system to ensure a high-yielding cannabis crop.
Through the integrated systems, all environmental conditions are adjusted simultaneously.
Best Equipment To Keep A Low Electricity Bill For Your Cannabis Grow
Fortunately, the market provides energy-efficient equipment to minimize electricity consumption, such as LED lights, multiple settings equipment, and efficient fans.
LED lighting has lower heat output and is suitable for individual plants as it can be adjusted.
Semi or fully automated LED lighting may also be worthwhile since grow lights can be programmed to turn on and off as required.
Multiple Setting Equipment
Multi-output settings and variable speed eliminate plant stress and significantly reduce energy usage.
Advanced technological equipment provides significantly more functionality than simply switching on and off.
Controllable options for energy efficiency include circulation and ventilation fans, along with adjustable LED lighting.
The best effective fans use a small motor, have a large diameter, and have a ventilation efficiency factor of more than 15.
This type of fan consumes less energy compared to a larger fan while providing the same power.
When it comes to heating and cooling, the roots are the most critical part of the cannabis plant.
Growers can install a geothermal system to heat the roots while aerating the soil.
A cultivator could allow the ambient temperature of the room to drop slightly without causing irreparable harm to the cannabis plants.
Can Law Enforcement Track Your Electricity Bill?
According to the NCSL, the Colorado Department of Revenue developed the Retail Marijuana Code, including electrical code guidelines.
Colorado licensed growers are prohibited from making "material changes" to a house or building to increase power consumption for cultivating cannabis crops.
Yet, some material changes may be permitted only with the approval of The Marijuana Enforcement Division.
In 2015, a Maine bill was established that would necessitate cannabis plant growers in residential areas or buildings to obtain an electrical inspector's permit.
The grower’s permit shall adhere to the electrical codes applicable to the type of building and be sufficient for the amount of cannabis grown to provide for a specific patient number.
Additionally, commercial growers in Boulder County, Colorado, are required to establish renewable energy consumption or pay a $2.16 per kWh fee.
The residents of Arcata, California, also voted in 2012 to impose a 45% tax on residential households consuming more than 60% of a specified energy consumption baseline for one family.
About the author: Heather Burton
Heather lives with her husband and two children in beautiful British Columbia. Her passion has always been to enhance the lives of others by helping them reach their business goals.
Content management is her specialty, and writing is what she does best. Working specifically in the cannabis market, Heather strives to help dispensaries, patients, doctors, manufacturers and recreational users by giving them the voice they need. When she is not writing, you can find her anywhere outdoors and away from the screen.