Choosing a Reflector: Effect on Revenue

When setting up a controlled environment garden, there are many choices to make--engineers, contractors, facility design, growing style, climate control, lighting...you get the picture.

October 22, 2015

When setting up a controlled environment garden, there are many choices to make–engineers, contractors, facility design, growing style, climate control, lighting…you get the picture.

Growers will endlessly debate the merits of growing in rows versus growing in a sea of green, what nutrients work best, what CO2 levels to maintain.  While it is generally agreed that the most efficient climate control option for your money is the best option, advances in bulb technology mean there is always new research to read before making a decision (though many growers have a preferred bulb type that they swear by already).

When it comes to reflectors, however, there are many choices, some of which take cooling into consideration  – air-cooled, water-cooled, no cooling – and others that take growing style into consideration – greenhouse lights, indoor lights, sea of green lights. Many gardeners have used reflectors before and generally know what they like and don’t like, sometimes resulting in less research going into choosing a reflector than goes into other decisions for the grow.  

Old, reliable technologies have their comforts, but recent advances mean it is time to reconsider the same old reflector options and rethink what is important when choosing a reflector.  Failure to explore new technologies often means leaving money on the table.

One big factor to consider is upfront investment versus long-term return on investment from power savings or increased yield.

Up-Front Costs

A typical double-ended HPS reflector costs around $200 each and uses 1,000 watt bulbs. Assuming a garden is installing 100 lights, this brings the total upfront cost for reflectors to $20,000.

A Vented Surna Reflector (which is compatible with any cooling solution used in a garden) costs around $650 each for commercial growers (with a volume discount). A grower installing the same 100 lights is looking at an upfront cost of $65,000.

This price difference is often where many people make their choice. However, it is important to also consider the long-term effect on your garden of choosing one reflector over the other and how long it will take for the Surna Reflector to pay for itself.

More Light = More Yield

For starters, all versions of the Surna Reflector have been shown to increase light output by 9.1%, without increasing power consumption.  Studies have demonstrated clearly that an increase in usable light correlates directly to an increase in yield in cannabis plants  Another benefit of the Surna Reflector is the collimated light distribution that allows the Surna Reflector to distribute approximately 92% of the light created by the bulb to the plant canopy, which can result in an additional 3-6% increase in light delivered to the plant canopy (depending on growing style) over other reflectors.

[pullquote]After accounting for upfront cost differences, choosing a Vented Surna Reflector brings in $86,040 more revenue than a traditional reflector.[/pullquote]

One more factor that contributes to extra light reaching the plant canopy is the cleanliness of the reflective material within the reflector. WIth many reflectors, once glass is placed on them, dirt and dust start to build up on the glass, reducing the amount of light that can reach the plants. With the Surna Reflector, all air entering the reflective cavity is first filtered in order to minimize the amount of dust that can settle on the reflective material. This small change can improve light delivery and plant yield by 2-4%.

Return on Investment

WIth those factors in mind, let’s take a look at how long it will take to see a return on your reflector investment for both a traditional reflector and the Vented Surna Reflector.

In order to create this calculation, here are the assumptions we used:

  • Base yield: 1.5 pounds per light
  • Harvests per year: 4
  • Revenue: $1,500 per pound

To reiterate, here are the numbers used for the initial cost calculation:

  • Lights: 100
  • Watts per light: 1,000
  • Traditional reflector cost: $200 each
  • Vented Surna Reflector cost: $650 each

First, let’s look at how much revenue a cultivation center can expect to make on a monthly basis using the above numbers and the following calculation:

monthly revenue=(pounds per light * number of lights * harvests per year * revenue per pound) / months per year

monthly revenue =(1.5 * 100 * 4 * 1500) / 12 = $120,000 per month

So, using the above assumptions, a cultivation center can expect to bring in $1,440,000 per year, or $120,000 per month using a standard reflector. WIth the increased light produced by the Surna Reflector producing more yield per plant, one more calculation is needed. To make it easy, we will just use the 9.1% more light created by the additional light output due to the reflector design.

additional monthly revenue using Surna Reflector = (additional light produced * monthly revenue) – monthly revenue

monthly revenue = (1.091 * 120,000) – 120,000 = $10,920 additional monthly revenue

With this additional revenue from increased plant yield, a cultivation center using a Vented Surna Reflector can expect to bring in an additional $131,040 a year for a total of $1,571,040 revenue per year, or $130,920 per month.

Surna Vented Reflector Break Even ROI

Now going back to the original price difference of $45,000 for Vented Surna Reflectors over traditional reflectors, it will take just over 4 months (4.1 to be exact) to make back the additional money spent on Vented Surna Reflectors. That’s less than 2 grow cycles. After those 4 months, all additional revenue brought in from the increase in yield produced by the Surna Reflector goes towards producing product at a lower cost than your competitors, giving you a competitive advantage.  Keep in mind also that we didn’t even quantify the potential for yield increases resulting in light on target improvements–the ultimate number could actually be even higher.

When researching which products to purchase for your cultivation center, consider all factors involved, not just the up-front cost.

For more information on the numbers and calculations for this post, or to have ROI calculated specifically for your grow, call the sales department at 303.993.5271.

*All numbers used are estimates. Results will vary.

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