The purpose of this case study was to review Black Dog LED commercial LED grow lights in comparison to both single-ended HPS and DE HPS. The study was trying to answer:

Do LED grow lights work in a commercial setting?

Can LED grow lights compete with traditional indoor grow lighting options?

Is the increased up-front cost of Black Dog LED grow lights justified in a commercial operation?

Do LED grow lights work in a commercial setting?

The question often surrounding LED grow lights is whether they work for flowering Cannabis. This question becomes even more important when considering LED grow lights for a commercial grow when hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars are at stake. Stories perpetuating the belief that LED grow lights cannot flower are based on lights using either LEDs with a poor spectrum, not enough power, or a combination of both.

“Normally all of the lower flowers go straight to processing for concentrates…With this run every bit will be going to the shelf for sale as flower.”

For over 5 years Black Dog LED has focused on spectrum and power along with quality design and construction. By focusing on these key things rather than gimmicks, we have created the PhytoMAX lights which produce larger flowering yields than traditional HPS in demanding commercial environments. Questions about whether or not LEDs can flower Cannabis have certainly been answered with a larger, denser, higher-quality Cannabis yield with the Black Dog LED PhytoMAX series.

One of the head growers said it best while they were harvesting the Cannabis from the grow for this case study:
“Normally all of the lower flowers go straight to processing for concentrates, we don’t bother trimming that. With this run every bit will be going to the shelf for sale as flower.”

commercial LED grow lights flowering Cannabis
Commercial Cannabis Harvest (clockwise from top left): Case Study room roughly 1 week before harvest, note the thermometer shows 86° F. Nice large flower taken at harvest. Some beautiful flowers poking through the netting one week before harvest. Flowers ready for trimming, for scale the pan is a large turkey pan. (click image to view full size)

Can LED grow lights compete with traditional indoor grow lighting options?

For years there has been talk in the Cannabis industry about LEDs becoming a viable option for commercial indoor gardens. There are many companies that claim to have lights that will match or beat a 1000 watt HPS. Until now there has never been proof that any LED grow lights can keep up with traditional lighting in a demanding commercial environment.

By assessing the data from multiple grows in an independent third-party-controlled experiment, this case study was able to eliminate other variables to isolate the lights and focus on their performance, proving that Black Dog LED PhytoMAX lights outperform HPS at the commercial level both in terms of yield and quality.

Beating ducted single-ended HPS fixtures by 60% and DE HPS by 26%

Whether you are looking to sustain your current yields and reduce energy usage, or increase yields while maintaining the same energy use, the Black Dog LED PhytoMAX series has proven to deliver by beating ducted single-ended HPS fixtures by 60% and DE HPS by 26% in grams per watt. Increases of only a few percent can make a big difference in profitability or a commercial grow operation. These independently demonstrated increases are revolutionary.

commercial flower room under LED week 6 of 9Case Study Test Room – Week 6 of 9
(click to see full size)

The grams per watt increases are certainly impressive, but the PhytoMAX 800 lights also demonstrated a 25.5% increase in the total yield for the room compared to single-ended HPS while simultaneously reducing lighting electrical use by 22%.  Compared to DE HPS fixtures, the PhytoMAX 800 increased total yield for the room by 14.6% while simultaneously reducing lighting electrical use by 9%.  Extrapolating the data to the PhytoMAX 1000 LED grow light, compared to single-ended HPS it results in a 58.8% increase in total yield for the room, and compared to DE HPS it increases total yield for the room by 45%.

Is the increased up-front cost of Black Dog LED grow lights justified in a commercial operation?

This case study has proven PhytoMAX LED grow lights can produce the higher yields and quality commercial grows demand. The study has also clearly shown PhytoMAX LED grow lights can produce these yields more efficiently than traditional single-ended and DE HPS bulbs. Increased yields and efficiency aren’t justifiable from a business perspective without comparing the return on investment period to traditional indoor gardening lighting.

This adds up to over $350,000 in additional revenue for the single 12 light room!

In the ROI section we showed that the PhytoMAX 1000 LED grow lights can pay for themselves in less than 4 months when compared to traditional single-ended HPS, purely considering increased yield. After that short time period this room could then be generating over $14,000 in extra profit per harvest. After 5 years this adds up to over $350,000 in additional revenue for the single 12 light room!

Once you consider this additional revenue PhytoMAX can deliver, the question isn’t whether or not they are worth the money, but rather how can you afford not to use PhytoMAX LED grow lights.

Side flower of Cannabis under LED
Large flower on lower side of plant under LED grow lights.

The Cannabis industry is rapidly changing and highly competitive. This case study has proven the PhytoMAX LED grow light series can give your commercial operation the edge by increasing your yields and your quality while reducing your costs.

The next section explores how these numbers affect a 100-light grow.