WILLISTON, Vt. — A longtime specialty lighting retailer and installer from Vermont with roots in theatrical lighting is branching out to become the first company in the state to offer commercial grow room lighting, controls and installation for licensed cannabis growers. Production Advantage, which boasts a portfolio of products and sales ranging from museums to conference rooms and office buildings over the past 25 years, is launching a new division called Pro Gro Advantage, with support from major electrical and lighting conglomerate Hubbell.
Hubbell Lighting, a global leader in commercial lighting and electrical products, has partnered with Production Advantage to market and distribute the Cultivaire, Hubbell’s 420-watt commercial-grade grow light produced after years of research and fine-tuning. “When Hubbell approached us to ask if we would partner with them we saw that as the perfect opportunity to launch into this market,” said Marketing Director Ron Kline.
“As a company… Looking for ways to diversify, other markets that we could expand into, that’s a question we’re constantly asking ourselves, and over 25 years we’ve developed some very good relationships with manufacturers.”
The Cultivaire is a full-spectrum white light that comes in two versions: Vegetative and flower, with color spectrums recipes to match. In grow room design the Cultivaire can be used as a direct replacement for high-wattage high pressure sodium and high intensity discharge lamps, saving up to 60% in electricity costs alone, with a significant savings in HVAC costs as well.
ProGro Advantage, with years of experience building custom integrated control systems, is well-positioned to offer the kind of fine-tuned lighting and grow room management that commercial growers need. “The lighting controls for us is almost the easy part,” says Kline. “Our goal is with dispensaries is to be able to offer a turnkey solution. We have a very strong background in lighting technology and controls and the product control side.”
One example of the unique designs Pro Gro offers is the way they integrate grow rooms with backup power. Because the Cultivaires are dimmable (something many other LEDs do not do), Pro Gro Advantage can expand the functionality of backup generators through intricate systems controls. “We can drive just half of the LEDs in the fixture. The plants just think it’s a cloudy day. We can keep a crop alive for a week if the power fails, and conserve power as needed,” said Kline.
While HPS, HID and fluorescent lights are the traditional favorite of growers, LED technology has evolved rapidly in recent years, offering better spectrum options and canopy penetration. For many, LEDs offer a tempting alternative to electric-hungry lights that require expensive HVAC systems. Use of LED lights is growing in the cannabis industry: The massive grow facility recently built in Nevada, one of the largest marijuana cultivation facilities in the world, uses top-of-the-line LED lights — representing a $672,000 contract.
In 2014 the LED Agricultural Grow Light market was around $395 million — it’s forecasted to hit $1.8 billion by 2021. “We experienced this same thing with LED stage lighting when it first came to market ten years ago,” said Kline. “Everyone was trying something different to figure out what worked and it took several years to mature.”
Keep an eye out for Pro Gro Advantage’s launch and presence at upcoming NECANN events in the northeast, including NECANN Portland on October 22.