FAQ

LED Grow Lights – The LED Difference!

The LED based grow light is the latest innovation in indoor horticulture that significantly reduces energy usage while improving plant quality. LED grow lights typically consume 50% less electricity than High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Metal Halide (MH) based systems by only focusing the emitted light energy on the bands of the light spectrum that plants absorb the most.  LEDs are also more efficient light sources so they produce much less heat which means no additional cooling fans or risk of accidental fire. LEDs have a lifetime of over 50,000 hours. That’s over eight years under typical growing conditions without any bulbs to replace!

Whether you’re new to indoor growing or are an experienced guru, LED grow lights offer significant advantages.  LED grow lights are extremely simple to install and use. They can be designed with unique spectral blends that allow you to use them through each phase of plant growth to optimize growing results. LED grow lights keep your garden growing beautifully while lowering your electric bill.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 WHO IS CALIFORNIA LIGHTWORKS?  WHAT DO YOU DO?

California LightWorks is a company focused on research, design, development and manufacturing of advanced, energy efficient green house lighting and automation equipment.   Our vision is to apply the latest advances in high efficiency lighting and controls technology as well as effective manufacturing techniques to deliver highly differentiated products with clear benefits at competitive prices to the greenhouse and indoor horticulture markets.

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?

Our R&D and manufacturing facilities are located in Canoga Park, California.  We are proud to be manufacturing in the United States and make a conscious effort to only work with US based vendors whenever possible.

DO YOU SELL WHOLESALE?

California LightWorks is currently setup to sell directly to consumers as well as wholesale. Our products are available at all authorized Hydrofarm retailers throughout the United States and Canada.  To locate a store near you, please go to the Hydrofarm website: https://www.hydrofarm.com/where-to-buy

If you’re a retailer interested in carrying our products at your store, feel free to contact us.

HOW MANY WATTS IS THE SOLARSTORM 880 GROW LIGHT?

The SolarStorm 880 is one of the most powerful LED based grow lights in the market. It features 160 high power 5 watt LED emitters for a total nominal power of 800 watts (160 x 5). Actual power draw depends on which mode the unit is in:

  • In Veg mode, the unit consumes around 475W
  • In Bloom mode, the unit consumes around 650W
  • In Bloom mode with the UVB T8 bulbs turned on, around 680W

During an average grow cycle, we expect the SolarStorm 880 to consume about 50% less power compared to a 1000W HPS/MH system while delivering excellent results.

I HAVE HEARD THAT LEDs ARE GREAT FOR THE VEGETATIVE PHASE BUT CAN I ACTUALLY FLOWER WITH LEDS?

The simple answer is YES, if you have a high enough light intensity.

The key to a healthy bloom and good yield is having the right level of PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) light for the type of plant you are growing. The standard way to measure PAR light is in micro-moles per square meter per second (µmoles/m2/s.)  On a sunny day at noon in California, the sun delivers around 2,000 µmoles/m2/s. Different plants require different levels of light for healthy flowering. For example, lettuce and potatoes can grow under only a few hundred µmoles/m2/s.  Red peppers require higher levels and tomatoes need light levels 1,000 µmoles/m2/s or higher. Too much light does not necessarily help: Plants only absorb a certain maximum level of light and the rest is reflected back. This maximum level is called the “light saturation point” and it varies from plant to plant. In order to achieve good flowering, the leaves of your plants need to receive PAR light levels that approach their light saturation point.

Well designed LEDs lights concentrate their emitted light in the deep blue and deep red part of the light spectrum where absorption by plants is highest.  Thus, LEDs allow you to achieve good bloom with a lower PAR light value compared to HID lights. If the LEDs are delivering light in the right parts of the spectrum (deep blue 430-460nm and deep red 650-670nm) where absorption is at its maximum, the PAR value required for bloom can be 40-50% below that of HID type lights.

Many Chinese made LED grow lights use low power one or two watt LEDs with common colors used for traffic lights etc.. not well suited for horticulture. Companies importing and marketing these lights make all kinds of claims about results and show pictures of various types of plants growing as proof. Just because you can grow lettuce under UFO type lights does not mean you will get tomatoes to bloom.

However, both the SolarStorm and SolarFlare LEDs use the latest 5 watt LEDs which are the most powerful single die LEDs on the market. The light is concentrated in the right parts of the light spectrum deep blue (430-460nm) and deep red (650-670nm) where absorption is highest. SolarStorm and SolarFlare LEDs grow lights deliver PAR light levels that are at or above the light saturation point of the most demanding plants.  This produces excellent results in flowering when the light is positioned 18″ to 24″ from the plant canopy.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF LED GROW LIGHTS OVER OTHER TYPES OF LIGHTS?

Indoor horticulture adopted HPS and MH (HID) type lights a long time ago because they were the only systems that delivered a high enough level of PAR light. Even though HID lights were developed for outdoor street lighting applications, they delivered good results when used for indoor growing.  However, HID lights suffer from a few drawbacks.  First they are not the most efficient at delivering PAR light and thus lose most of their energy as heat rather than useful light for plants. This results in huge energy bills as well as the need for supplemental cooling of the lights with fans and ducting. Florescent lights do a good job for vegetative growth but are not powerful enough for flowering. These traditional types of grow lights cannot be designed to deliver the specific light wavelengths that plants absorb the most. LEDs are much more efficient and create much less heat to generate high intensity light for indoor growing and therefore do not require supplemental cooling. Also, LED technology makes it possible to select only the light frequencies most absorbed by the plants further reducing energy waste and improving growing results. SolarStorm and SolarFlare lights can typically reduce energy costs by 50% or more.

ARE LEDS MORE EXPENSIVE TO USE THAN OTHER GROW LIGHTS?

When looking for a grow light solution, you need to take a look at the full cost picture: Price of the light, price of the system and cost of electricity over time.  LED grow lights are more expensive than traditional lights when first purchased. However, when you include the full cost of an HID system including cooling, ducting, wiring, installation etc…the cost can be about the same. The big savings come when you factor in energy cost: By reducing energy usage by 50% or more, LEDs deliver major dividend, often within the first year. Additionally, LEDs never require bulb changes and are rated to run for over 50,000 hours. This represents a 12 to 15 year life span in most growing situations. Traditional light bulbs are only rated at 10,000 hours and most growers change these every six months to a year. Over a 12 year period this represents a bulb cost of over $ 2400.00 for each 1000 watt HPS bulb! When considering the energy savings and bulb replacement costs, LEDs are much less expensive than traditional grow lights.

HOW MANY WATTS IS THIS EQUAL TO VS OTHER TYPES OF LIGHTS?

LEDs produce roughly four times as much plant usable light per watt as compared to traditional grow lights. Many LED suppliers argue that a 200 watt LED is equal to 800 watts of traditional grow light power. However, a more realistic rule-of-thumb ratio of 1:2.

A better way to gauge power level is by looking at the surface area adequately covered by the light. The SolarFlare is designed to cover a 3X3 grow area, similar to a 400 watt HPS light. The SolarStorm covers up to a 5X5 space (4X4 is recommended for flowering) similar to a 1000 watt HPS light.

WHAT GROW SPACE WILL SOLARFLARE AND SOLARSTORM UNITS COVER RESPECTIVELY?

The SolarFlare is designed to cover a 3X3 grow area, similar to a 400 watt HPS light. The SolarStorm covers up to a 5X5 space (4X4 is recommended for flowering) similar to a 1000 watt HPS light.

HOW LONG DO LEDs LAST?

California LightWorks uses only premium LEDs made in the U.S. and Europe.  We do not use the cheaper Chinese LEDs. The rated life on all of our LEDs is over 50,000 hours (more like 80,000 hours.) This equals from 12 to 15 years of normal grow cycles.

HOW LONG IS THE PRODUCT WARRANTY ON SOLARSTORM AND SOLARFLARE LIGHTS?

California LightWorks warrants that SolarStorm and SolarFlare grow lights will be free from defects in material and workmanship for a period of 3 years from the date of purchase.

DO I NEED A BALLAST WITH SOLARSTORM OR SOLARFLARE?

SolarStorm and SolarFlare LED grow lights are equipped with built-in power supplies and require no additional ballasts. The installation takes a couple of minutes; just hang, plug in and you’re done. SolarFlares even provide the additional daisy chaining benefit when using the piggy back cord further simplifying installation by allowing up to 8 SolarFlare units to use the same power outlet and timer.

DO I NEED TO COOL SOLARSTORM WITH A FAN OR AIR CONDITIONING?

In most setups SolarStorm and SolarFlare LED grow lights should require no additional cooling. In rare occasions, depending on room configuration and number of units running in a confined space, some venting may be needed to keep the grow room temperature within acceptable range.

HOW DOES UVB HELP PLANT GROWTH?

UVB has been shown to significantly increase potency in certain flowering plants (Just Google “UVB research by Pate, David W.” or “UVB Lydon, John and Teramura, Alan H.”)

Most traditional grow lights and LEDs do not produce any UVB. SolarStorm is the first grow light to integrate supplemental UVB light into the spectrum for increased potency.

DO OTHER GROW LIGHTS HAVE UVB?

HID lights do not deliver any significant levels of UVB since it’s filtered by their outside glass. No other LED grow light in the market covers the UVB spectrum to our knowledge since LED emitters are narrow band and focus their light in a narrow range. There are no cost effective LED based solutions to deliver UVB today. That’s why the SolarStorm employs T8 based fluorescent lights for UVB.

SHOULD I HAVE THE UVB ON ALL THE TIME?

UVB has proven very effective in the last four weeks of flowering.

HOW DO I INSTALL THE SOLARSTORM?

SolarStorm and SolarFlare LEDs require no special ducting, cooling or electric wiring. The can hang from secure ceiling hooks screwed into a stud. Just plug into a normal 120 volt outlet and start growing.

HOW DOES SOLARSTORM COMPARE TO OTHER LED LIGHTS ON THE MARKET?

Most LED grow lights in the market are made at a couple of factories in China and look identical. There are imported and marketed by various US or Canadian based retailers and e-tailers under various brands under much fanfare often on eBay. They typically employ low power, low quality 1 to 2 Watt LED emitters, often packaged in China. Most of them do not deliver enough PAR light for flowering. SolarStorm and SolarFlare LEDs feature 100% five watt LEDs from leading LED brands name suppliers from the U.S. and Germany. All other manufacturing is done 100% in California, USA.  SolarStorm delivers high levels of PAR light in the highest absorption parts of the spectrum to yield high quality crop.  Other unique features of the SolarStorm include a switchable spectrum that optimizes the light output for each stage of plant growth and the supplemental UVB lights to maximize potency.

WHEN DO I USE BLOOM/VEG/UVB SETTINGS?

The Veg setting is recommended for the early phases of vegetative growth from initial seeds or clones through medium size plants. The Bloom setting is recommended for late vegetative phases and all bloom and flowering phases. The UVB setting is recommended for late flowering and finishing.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TESTIMONIALS FROM GROWERS OR RESULTS INFORMATION?

SolarStorm and SolarFlare LEDs are the culmination of over 6 years of R&D. They have thoroughly been tested by growers worldwide.  Hundreds of grower journals can be found at the LED grow light forum:  www.LedGrowLightForum.com


All of our products are manufactured in the United States of America.

MadeInUSA

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