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  • Erin Sharp

Cannabis Microgrids - Make 2022 the year to Cut Energy Bills for Cannabis Cultivations

With energy consumption comprising a whopping 40 percent of Indoor Agriculture’s operating costs, lowering energy costs is top of mind for cannabis growers, as Cost of Goods will increase and price per gram will eventually always fall.

Growing facilities are essentially data centers for plants.

Because cannabis cultivation energy use is so high — roughly 10 times that of a typical office building— even covering an entire growing facility roof with solar panels would likely offset no more than 20 percent of total electricity consumption. A full cannaibs microgrid is needed.

Zam Energy can design and finance your Cannabis Microgrid as a PPA.

The new site plan for cannabis infrastructure will include on-site solar generation, battery energy storage, generators possibly a hydrogen swappable generator, UPS, controls and automation — built-in energy resilience solutions designed reduce carbon footprint and energy costs.

Besides financing these microgrids, there is more good news on the way with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, the bill names microgrids as eligible for funding within programs to improve transmission, electrify transportation and improve rural and remote areas of the US.

Microgrids are singled out for funding in resilience programs to help adapt to climate disruption and for connection to transmission.

Cannabis Microgrids integrate the best software, controls, equipment and technologies for your location, utility and islanding needs. That includes modified PPAs for solar, energy storage and microgrid controls.

Resilience is also key--losing power for even a limited time can mean losses in the millions of dollars. Add to the equation the growing customer demand for clean energy. Zam Energy will work with your team to save money, reduce emissions and impact on the grid.

Cannabis regulations are also starting to be developed in states like California, where dozens of cities are preparing to launch renewable energy requirements in 2023 to meet the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard.

Getting ahead of regulatory momentum as the cannabis industry expands energy usage is cheaper earlier. Concessions regulators will be looking for is accountability on energy usage.

Zam Energy is seeing client's electricity demand from indoor and greenhouse-based grows increase significantly, this uptick in energy use and carbon emissions across states where cannabis has been legalized is not a free party- accountability is on the horizon.

Not Enough Power – Depending on the area that a grower located, it can be several months to a year before they have interconnection to the utility grid, forcing growers to put operations on hold.

  1. Inconsistent Power – Grower facilities are seeing brownouts and blackouts, which will only become more prevalent as climate change continues to create harsher environments and grids become more reliant on renewable energy.

  2. Grid Resiliency – Not only will a grower be using less energy than they would during normal operation, freeing up capacity on the grid for other customers, they can also be a source for utilities in dire situations such as natural disasters. The microgrid could be set up in such a way that if needed, a grower can help support the utility to help their fellow residents until power is restored.

Typically, microgrids are sized to cover 65% of facility usage, after which point, cost can become more and more of a factor in the decision to implement a microgrid. However, even at 65%, a grower will be able to cover vital processes necessary for operation until the grid is back online or they are interconnected with a utility. The other benefit of a microgrid is it can help offset energy usage during a normal day of operation leading to increased energy and cost savings.

Microgrids already in play

While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal puts microgrids in the money as part of the nation’s $1 trillion rebuild, the technology already is being used to improve electrical infrastructure in communities and at ports, airports and other critical facilities, including Cannabis Cultivation.

Let’s talk and get our team on the phone with your infrastructure team.


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