Canndescent’s new solar facility is a cannabis industry first

Sam Laird
Jun 25, 2019

Indoor? Outdoor? Canndescent calls it ‘greendoor.’

For a business with its history of cannabis-industry firsts, perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Canndescent recently became the industry’s first company to finish and implement a commercial-scale solar facility. What’s that look like? As of this spring, Canndescent’s indoor growing operation in Desert Hot Springs, California, is powered by more than 700 solar panels perched atop adjacent carport structures.

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In everyday terms, that means the new solar operation offsets as much carbon as a 430-acre forest, or reduces as much carbon dioxide as taking 78 cars off the road, the company says.

Given that the cannabis industry is estimated to use a jaw-dropping one percent of America’s total electricity, that’s a pretty big deal.

Inside the Canndescent solar grow [photo courtesy of Canndescent]
“Launching the world’s first commercial-scale solar project for cannabis, we marry the water efficiency of indoor growing with the energy efficiency of outdoor growing while ensuring we have full control of the growing environment,” said Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin. “Ultimately, we created a new approach, ‘greendoor,’ perfectly harmonizing quality and sustainability.”

But Canndescent is accustomed to breaking new ground in the industry. Four years ago, it became the first cultivator to market its flower according to effect rather than strain name — hence its signature offerings Calm, Create, Charge and more. It opened California’s first municipally-permitted cultivation facility in 2016.

And in 2018 it became the first cannabis company to win a Red Herring Top 100 award for technology and life sciences startups.

The Canndescent solar grow [photo courtesy of Canndescent]

Thinking bigger.

“We would have installed an even larger system but we were limited by the size of the site and local fire codes,” said chief compliance officer Tom DiGiovanni.

DiGiovanni added that Canndescent faced some difficulty securing loans for the project, given its place in an industry that’s still illegal at the federal level. But after two years of trying, financing was secured for the history-making installation.

He and other Canndescent executives hope their example of successfully completing such a large-scale solar initiative can help convince local, state and federal lawmakers that cannabis companies should be able to access the same banking services as businesses from other industries.

“The ability to add renewable energy will be one of the benefits of making traditional banking services available to the cannabis industry,” he said.

The company also plans to produce and publish a free white-paper detailing how they made the project happen. Sedlin said the goal is “to give others an easy blueprint and head start, so more in the industry move to energy-efficient practices.”

[Product(s) named in this story are registered under California license C11-18-000027-TEMP.]

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