Elon Musk’s new Powerwall battery allows the average, or not so average, household to affordably use energy storage to lower electric bills. The relatively low price, compact size and high efficiency also means renewable energy might be in store in the near future for cultivating cannabis. This battery could save even a small time grower $1,000 a year.
Sun-grown pot is on the rise, but most quality cannabis in the US relies on kilowatts of electricity to power the lights and control air temperature. Growers can take full advantage of Powerwall in the way it was intended, surprisingly enough. The higher demand for electricity during the day means some providers charge more money during “peak hours” and less than half in the middle of the night when demand drops. In fact, suppliers need to switch on extra, expensive power sources called “peaker plants” to meet peak demand every day. Using batteries to store electricity takes a load of the grid when power is short, and at the same time saves the consumer money and provides a backup for power outages
Some growers already take advantage of this by lighting their gardens at night. This will save you some money unless your utility charges a flat rate fee, which also takes away the savings from using the Powerwall. Using renewable energy will require a battery such as this one to store power, for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, but lighting technology will have to get more efficient to make it a reality.
What kind of savings can you expect? Making the assumption that a small growroom with four plants under one 1,000 W high pressure sodium lamp, ventilation and air conditioning, might consume up to 13,000 kWh of electricity a year. Taking Portland’s time-of-use pricing, the Powerwall could save you around $1,000 a year. A backup battery can also be there to provide light during power outages.
The importance of energy storage isn’t anything new, this is just the first time doing so has become affordable for people to actually take advantage of it. Just $3,500 can get you a 10 kWh of electricity. Powerwall hasn’t exactly reached the market yet, but those who are interested should keep a close eye on the product’s performance to gage its viability for high-wattage cannabis gardens.