Growing off the grid: Marijuana businesses find ways to be eco-friendly

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Growing marijuana, an energy-intensive activity, is not easy to take “off the grid.” Yet that is what Solar Therapeutics is planning to do.

This month the marijuana cultivation and retail company will turn on its microgrid, essentially giving Solar Therapeutics its own power plant, which will generate all the energy required to power its 42,000-square-foot marijuana grow facility. Part of the company’s core mission is to grow marijuana in the most energy-efficient way possible.

CEO Edward Dow said he is not aware of any other licensed commercial marijuana company that generates all its own power.

Dow, a former engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, said he thinks the time is right, given growing concerns about environmental sustainability and limiting carbon dioxide emissions. The model also makes financial sense, he said, since higher up-front costs will be recouped through lower energy bills.

“Building sustainably makes sense not just for optics, but as an investment,” Dow said.

Massachusetts legalized marijuana at the same time the state is working toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Marijuana cultivation is generally energy-intensive, since growing indoors requires a lot of light, which generates heat, and temperature and humidity must be strictly controlled to avoid mold. [Read more at MassLive]