01/2018 | LED grow lights for medical cannabis

Part I - Background and properties of the market for agricultural LED grow lights

Let's start at the end. I make a living selling and advising on LED lighting. From this, some of you will feel that this article was written subjectively, and that is your right. I can promise one thing, I will not deceive you, I will present things as I see and understand them and most importantly, with the basic principle that rules all our professional activities in REMY, which is to give added value and benefits to everyone with whom we interact.

Here is a series of three articles which give an overview of LED lighting for growing medicinal cannabis, as I see it.

In part one of the series, I will present background and properties of the market for agricultural LED grow lights.

In part two, I will talk about advantages and disadvantages of this technology.

In part three, I will deal with the relevant parameters for choosing an LED lighting product to grow medical cannabis.

So let's dive in.

Some background

I have already written quite a lot about how LED technology is changing the game in the global lighting industry, and all its implications. Anyone who's involved in this field is affected by the changes: researchers and developers, manufacturers, marketers, planners, designers and installers, in short, everyone.

Earthquake is a cliché but I can't find any other word to describe this. I've already written about how 'you ain't seen nothing yet', and how the most substantial change is in the field of horticulture grow lights and its impact on agriculture.

The cannabis plant and the industry growing around it will also be influenced by this amazing development of the LED grow light.

However, and as always, when it comes to a Game Changer, it's natural that there will be confusion and instability in the solutions that are offered in the market.

I find that the LED lighting market, in the birds eye view, has many general properties which repeat themselves in every lighting field that I have encountered:

Politics, how is anything possible without it? Cynicism aside, it is natural that the market forces have their own agenda and will try to influence the market to minimize damage and maximize profit (this is what I call politics). This, of course, means that leading market forces will not always be happy to praise LED lighting. It doesn't matter if we're talking about lighting offices or streets or agricultural lighting. The fact is that introduction of new technology causes old technology manufacturers to suffer substantial losses, or forces them to a substantial investment in R & D. So, it is natural that these forces will try to dampen the enthusiasm in order to minimize loss. Anyway, in general, people don't like change.

Numerous and distant supply. There are countless LED lighting manufacturers worldwide. This is the entire point in 7 words. First, the manufacturers are scattered worldwide - in Israel there are only a few. The problem with this is that it makes it difficult to accurately assess them. There is a limit to the reliability of the impression received from an website or an online presentation, however professional it may be. I always prefer to visit the manufacturer on site in order to see for myself the level of professionalism in his production line. If unable to do this then people need to make decisions without having all the facts, so weight is given to amorphous points such as country of manufacture, online presentations, websites etc.

Apart from the physical location of the manufacturer from which we wish to purchase, the second problem is the large numbers of manufacturers and the solutions they offer. This new technology market offers, naturally, new solutions which weren't previously available neither in physical form, nor in functional form, and not with any proven capabilities. This makes it difficult to choose a solution that we know will actually do the job. The range of prices and quality is enormous and there's not always a link between the two.

The difference in levels of knowledge among different manufacturers is huge and customers don't always know how to verify this. Finding truly effective solutions is also something that can discourage us from using new technology. In short, it's a mess.

The third factor that I always see in the various fields of LED lighting is the continuous improvement in technology along with the continuous decline of prices. I remember that once my parents bought a 42'' LCD television for 18,000 sheqels. Yes, it was exciting, but if they had waited a few years they could have bought a screen with higher resolution, weighing less and better quality for 2,500-3,000 sheqels.

The same is true for LED lighting panels used for office lighting. In 2010 a 60/60 panel cost 1,200 sheqels, while today, for 100-200 sheqels, we can buy a similar product of much higher quality.

The good news is that the same thing is happening and will continue to happen in the field of LED lighting for medicinal cannabis and horticulture in general.


So this is where we are. We can see that the market is not easy to decipher. Solutions exist but we need to understand how to find them, and the future looks rosier than ever.

Take a deep breathe, drink a glass of water, you are invited to continue to the second part of this article which talks about advantages and disadvantages of LED lighting to grow medical cannabis.

This article was happily written, while sitting under LED lights, by Elad Toby, Business Development Manager - REMY.
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