The world of cannabis cultivation has been significantly altered by the emergence of new technologies—most notably in the area of lighting.
HID Lighting Evolves
Several years ago, cannabis cultivation was taken to the next level with the introduction of High Intensity Discharge (HID) models that offered much higher performance than the incandescent and fluorescent bulbs they replaced. The new approaches included lighting based on the core technologies of Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS).
Today, cannabis cultivators enjoy even more advanced approaches to illuminating their precious cannabis plants. Emerging HID lighting technologies truly push the envelope in terms of efficiency (low carbon footprint) and maximum yield per plant (more medicine and greater profit). One of the best examples of the evolving landscape for high-tech lighting is Light Emitting Ceramic (LEC).
LEC = Best of MH & HPS
HPS and MH lighting involve a variety of pros and cons. For example, HPS offers the advantage of low cost, but produces much heat. This heat often requires the time and expense of additional grow room ventilation, without which plant quality and yield will suffer due to the excessive temperatures.
LEC lighting offers a cost-effective solution that delivers more energy to a cannabis plant, per dollar, than MH and a more natural, full-spectrum light than HPS.
MH lights provide the advantage of being leaps and bounds ahead of their predecessors, incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. However, MH is also less efficient than HPS, meaning gardeners pay more per unit of energy delivered to the leaves of the plant. In addition, MH bulbs contain mercury, a serious environmental impact.
LEC (sometimes called Ceramic Metal Halide or Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide) is a hybrid approach of HPS and MH technologies, offering a cost-effective solution that delivers more energy to the plant per dollar than MH and a more natural, full-spectrum light than HPS—without the excessive heat. About the only downside of LEC lighting is its expense, but costs are getting lower as new vendors enter the market and supplies increase.
LEC lighting offers several advantages over previous-generation approaches to cannabis lighting. For example, some cultivators attribute a greater trichome density to the expanded, wider frequency range of ceramic lights. Add to this the space savings provided by the integrated ballast on many models and their longer lifespan (reducing the total cost of ownership) and it’s easy to see why many modern cultivators are checking out the new kid on the block, LEC, for their cannabis lighting.