Juneau, Alaska isn’t exactly known for its overabundance of sunlight. And there are difficulties to growing cannabis in the light-starved environment of a temperate rainforest. Paul V. Disdier Sr., owner and manager of the Fireweed Factory understands this; he’s been growing cannabis in Alaska since the 1970s.
When he and his son, Paul Disdier Jr., decided to open the Fireweed Factory in Juneau in 2017, they knew that outfitting their operation with the highest quality lighting system was of the utmost importance. For their commercial grow space, the Disdiers renovated a small warehouse in Juneau. Because the square footage in this space was limited, two things were obvious.
First, the Fireweed Factory was going to have to employ a vertical garden to grow enough product to supply the growing demand for high-quality cannabis in Juneau. Second, efficiency and efficacy would be essential to making their limited square footage a profitable venture. As Paul Jr. put it, “We are always looking into the future and we know prices are going to drop substantially; it is important to deploy as efficient of a grow as possible to compete against larger operations.”
Working with Fluence Bioengineering to maximize yields, efficiency and space.
In order to compete, the Fireweed Factory turned to Fluence Bioengineering for their lighting solutions, deciding on Fluence’s SPYDRx PLUS line of LED lighting. They initially ordered a limited amount to try out in order to compare them to high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights. The results were convincing enough that they decided to completely outfit their three-tiered vertical grow with SPYDRx PLUS lights. “Fluence allows us to produce a product at a lower cost while maximizing our square footage,” says Paul Sr. “The fact that we can grow this product at a lower price is huge for our business.”
Because the SPYDR Series can be deployed just six inches above the plant canopy, the Fireweed Factory was able to get the most out of their space. “Getting this close to the light allows us to maximize our vertical cubic space; it’s not just about one plane anymore,” says Paul Jr. Perhaps more importantly,
“With the SPYDRx PLUS, we are getting amazing canopy penetration. We are seeing buds all the way down. We hardly have to take off any lower bud sites, which means we can really maximize the plant material that we have in a very small space.”
That canopy penetration has led to amazing results. “The yields have been great, but quality is probably the biggest thing that stands out with these lights,” says Paul Jr. “We’re getting better coloring with the buds. The buds are denser, they’re more resinous, stronger aromas, the terpenes are better. Overall the quality is much better than with high-pressure sodium. I mean, there’s just no comparison in my mind.”
Since implementing Fluence’s lighting solutions, the Fireweed Factory’s numbers speak for themselves.
- 85.1g/ft2 of canopy high yielding strains
- 70g/ft2 of canopy average across all strains
- 66% decreased land use
With that kind of production, they’ve been able to meet their efficiency goals, keep their dispensary stocked, and compete with commercial grows on price and potency. Paul Jr. says they’ve also been able to speed up the production cycle. “We are finishing about a week sooner overall with the majority of our strains, which is awesome for our longer flowering strains where we can now harvest in a few months.”
Because of the success they’ve had with the SPYDR series, the Fireweed Factory is currently adding another lighting element to maximize their yields — Fluence’s VYPRx PLUS as side lighting to promote even greater canopy penetration and yields.
Scalability and performance for any size of operation from Fluence.
The results that the owners of the Fireweed Factory have seen are similar to what Fluence has achieved with growers throughout North America. Their cutting-edge, scalable lighting solutions are helping producers — both big and small — increase yields while lowering energy costs, including:
- Reduced cost-per-pound of finished product by 75%
- Increased crop yield by 157%
- Decreased cycle time by 25%
- Increase yield to 85 grams/square foot of canopy
- Increased yield efficiency to 2.1 grams/watt
- Increased secondary metabolites and potency
- Decreased HVAC energy consumption/costs
All of Fluence’s LED lighting systems and spectra are designed and built in Austin, Texas. Each series is purposefully designed to deliver uniform light distribution for a range of grow applications.
- The SPYDR Series is ideal for vertical farming—from veg to bloom—with an average PPFD up to 1,030 µmol/m2/s over a 4’ x 4’ canopy. The SPYDR Series is designed at 4.6” thin, with a recommended mounting height just 6” from the top of the canopy.
- With energy efficiency reaching 2.3 µmol/J and an average PPFD up to 1,085 µmol/m2/s over a 3’ x 4’ canopy, the VYPR Series is designed for greenhouse and indoor growers as a cost-effective solution.
- The RAZR Series is designed for the world’s largest and densest vertical farms, offering a cost-effective way to increase yield, quality and profit margins.
- The RAY Series features a slim form factor available in three lengths and six spectral options. It’s a utility-player LED fixture ideal for research facilities, vertical farms, side-canopies and intra-canopy light.
Get the ultimate yield from your grow.
Whatever the scale of your grow, Fluence will work with you to find a lighting solution specific to your needs to help you get the most out of your operation, just like they’ve done for the Fireweed Factory.
If you want to see how Fluence Bioengineering can help you take your operation to the next level and increase production per-square-foot while decreasing energy use, visit fluence.science.com today.
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