Switch from HPS to LED Lighting

[Case Study] Island Breeze Ranch – MegaDrive™ Lighting Technology

island breeze

Renovating an old building for any purposes is always tough – especially when it comes to dealing with the complexities of installing lighting. Island Breeze Ranch in Carpinteria, California discovered this in 2020 when they decided to remodel a 30 year old greenhouse and turn it into a full-scale production facility for cannabis growth.

Once used to grow orchids, the greenhouse was in bad shape when renovations first began. Not only was it left to rot for years, it was a traditional greenhouse not optimized for cannabis cultivation.

The team at Island Breeze decided to install the The MegaDrive Greenhouse Lighting System while renovating, which made it easier to modernize their facilities.

Ease Of Installation

Retrofitting a greenhouse built in 1958 is no small task. Transforming a greenhouse designed to grow orchids into a modern, large-scale facility entails a large amount of installation costs – especially when it comes to installing lighting. Putting in outlets, wiring, and fixtures would normally take two to three weeks of work done by a professional electrician. Luckily, the MegaDrive Greenhouse Lighting System saved the Island Breeze Team considerable time and money.

The MegaDrive Greenhouse Lighting System is designed to simplify installation and infrastructure by eliminating individual power drops. The heart of the MegaDrive is the 10KW central power unit that can power up to 30 MDF-400 fixtures. Because individual fixtures no longer require individual LED drivers, those fixtures do not need their own dedicated power drop.

In other words, instead of designing a fixture that needs one drop per light, you can simply install one drop per MegaDrive with 30 fixtures. This not only means no electrical wiring over the canopy. It means that hiring a professional electrician for days or weeks on end is not necessary. This is especially helpful for retrofitting existing greenhouse operations, which was exactly what Island Breeze was doing.

Even though they were setting up a 90,000 square foot operation with nine separate bays, Island Breeze Greenhouse only needed an electrician present for half a day to install outlets. Then, they had a few of their workers hang lights for another half day per bay. Installation was completed quickly and efficiently without the excessive upfront costs often associated with LED lighting – especially when retrofitting an older greenhouse.

Combating June Gloom And Winter

While one may think sunny California is the ideal setting to grow year-round, even the Golden State sees darker days. June Gloom – a period of cloudy, overcast skies associated with early summer in California – proved particularly trying in 2020. For a total of roughly 60 days, the Island Breeze Greenhouse team only saw two days of full sunlight from dawn to dusk.

Winter is also a challenging time for the cannabis industry. Even warmer states see less sunlight during the winter months, which can affect your yield. By their estimate, the Island Breeze team saw a 50% decrease in total yield over winter. Not only that, many of the flowers ended up being lower quality, to the point they were converted into oils or concentrates.

This is why Island Breeze needed supplemental lighting to offset the effects of subpar weather conditions.

MegaDrive made it easy to keep optimal light levels all year long. Each MDF-400 fixture features full-spectrum white light on one circuit and hyper red light on the other, giving you total control over the intensity of each spectrum. It comes with Bluetooth controls, so you can program light recipes and seasons easily through a wireless gateway.

MegaDrive also includes automatic sunlight balancing, so you don’t need to worry about over- or under-lighting your crops as the amount of natural light varies. This was the perfect fix for Island Breeze’s winter and June Gloom issues. They were able to use MegaDrive’s smart technology to ensure their crops got the exact same light quality and yield regardless of season.


As laws and regulations become more cannabis-friendly, we expect to see the industry continue to grow as the years go by. California is going to become the epicenter of the industry, and so we can expect to see many older greenhouses converted into full-scale cannabis facilities.

MegaDrive allows for easy retrofitting and renovation of older facilities and is uniquely equipped to handle changes in weather conditions that hinder plant growth. With MegaDrive, you can ensure your plants stay healthy and strong all year long – allowing you to get the highest yields year round.


Related Articles