Current places bets on cannabis lighting in distribution deal

July 15, 2019
The former GE company will distribute its new grow light through Hort Americas, which says LEDs make for potent plants.

With high hopes for the cannabis market, GE’s former lighting company Current has struck a distribution deal with Hort Americas to sell Current’s latest LED grow light.

Current introduced the Arize Element Top Light last month in Amsterdam, billing it as “the industry’s first one-for-one LED replacement for 1000W high-pressure sodium (HPS) products.”

Now the distribution deal with Fort Worth, TX-based Hort Americas marks the light’s commercial arrival in North America, “including the booming regulated cannabis growing industry,” Current pointed out in a press release announcing the partnership.

Hort Americas is Current’s exclusive North American distributor, and is encouraged by the marijuana prospects for LED technology, which it says yields plants with higher THC and CBD (tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol — the active chemicals in the cannabis plants) than do HPS lamps. THC is generally associated with inducing intoxicating or euphoric effects and CBD more with pain relief; however, both compounds are being utilized to varying degrees in legalized medical operations.

“Study results showed HPS lamps produced taller and higher stem dry weight compared to LED treatments,” Hort Americas states on its website. “However, HPS treatments resulted in a significant decline in THC concentration in flowers compared to both LED treatments. Under LED light treatments, plants were shorter and compact, but showed higher CBD and THC content.”

There is an energy saving benefit as well, as Current and Hort noted that research firm New Frontier Data estimates total electricity demand from legal marijuana cultivation in the United States will rise 162% between 2017 and 2022. LEDs, well known for energy efficiency, could lower the increase.

Analysts at Strategies Unlimited have investigated the potential for the lighting market that targets legalized cannabis operations for the first time, with interesting findings due to ongoing policy changes and resulting construction booms anticipated in North America. Learn more in a recent blog about the cannabis lighting market report.

Current and Hort Americas noted that the addition of the new Arize light to Hort’s stable “marks the first time Hort Americas and Current will begin distributing lighting solutions for use in the cannabis market.”

Hort Americas sells grow lights from other vendors as well, such as Osram’s Phytofy system.

GE sold Current to American Industrial Partners (AIP) in April. The full name of the company is still “Current, powered by GE,” a moniker which AIP expects to eventually change.

Join LEDs Magazine and LED lighting industry experts as they explore the latest developments in light recipes, SSL products, and market opportunities at the Oct. 31 Horticultural Lighting Conference in Denver, CO.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.