Los Angeles cannabis farm will go all in on LEDs

June 10, 2024
Indoor grower Clade9 likes the results after installing Fluence fittings in one of five rooms. More to come.

After nearly a decade of operations and some trepidation over switching to LED lighting, Los Angeles indoor cannabis farm Clade9 last year decided to try them in one of its five rooms. The resulting 70% yield increase in a 10-week cycle now has the grower planning for more.

“The cultivation team had not previously flowered under LED lights and were unsure how plants would perform compared to their legacy HPS [high-pressure sodium] lighting fixtures,” said Taylor Kirk, horticulture service specialist for Fluence, the provider of the lights.

Austin, Texas–based Fluence, a division of Signify, swapped out 72 HPS fixtures with the same number of its RAPTR LED fittings in one of Clade9’s  five grow rooms, covering 1,800 square feet of a 7,600 square-foot total at the South Central L.A. facility.

Clade9, founded in 2015, switched on the new lights last September for the start of one of its continuous 10-week flowering cycles. By the end of the cycle, it had produced a yield of 281 pounds, compared to an average of 165 pounds under the previous HPS lights.

Those results appear to have convinced the grower to make a 100% conversion.

“All rooms will eventually be converted to LEDs,” Kirk told LEDs Magazine.

It’s not clear exactly when Clade9 will convert its other four rooms to LED. Presumably price is a factor. Fluence declined to reveal how much it charged Clade9 for the 72 RAPTRs, which is a product line designed for one-to-one HPS replacements.

In a press release, Clade9 founder and CEO David Holmes cited ease of installation as one reason for his switching to the Fluence LEDs. He also alluded to light quality, service, and support from Fluence.

Fluence provides horticultural lighting across a wide range of crops. While it has staked out a reputation for cannabis lighting, it has also served strawberry farms, tomatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands, and others.

The lighting provider also engages in considerable research into how to adjust lighting and other factors to optimize growth.

It is currently working with Dutch research group Innexo BV, for example, on a method that could potentially eliminate the vegetative stage of cannabis plants, allowing them to go straight from seedling to flowering.

In a collaboration with Dutch growth media specialist Grodan in a Wageningen University & Research trial in the Netherlands, it is investigating different combinations of light, growth media, climate, and irrigation to nurture year-round cultivation of strawberries.

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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.