How a MA Cannabis Company is Tackling Its Industry's Sustainability Problem

Solar Cannabis in Somerset, Massachusetts is the only 100% solar-powered commercial cannabis cultivator in the United States

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As the cannabis industry continues to expand it is on track to become one of the most energy-intensive industries in the nation.

Often demanding 24-hour lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, cannabis producers are responsible for 10% of the state's energy consumption.

But one local company is doing things differently. Solar Cannabis in Somerset, Massachusetts is the only 100% solar-powered commercial cannabis cultivator in the United States.

“The cannabis industry historically has been pretty wasteful and quite a big draw on the power grid,” said Brendan Delaney, the director of operations at Solar Cannabis Co..

According to Delaney, who has over 10 years of experience growing marijuana in California and Massachusetts, companies will need to pay more attention to how much waste they're producing and where their waste is going.  

"The emphasis on sustainability is becoming more prevalent now than it was in the past, So at Solar here we strive to do every step of the way as sustainably as possible," he said.

The cannabis industry is second in energy consumption, behind date storage centers, which is why Solar's microgrid is so important to them. With their 67,000-square foot array of solar panels on their roof and adjacent fields, they are able to generate five megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 5,000 houses and qualify their facility as a registered power plant.

From there they take it a step further with high-efficiency natural gas cogeneration units, a technique for 90% water reclamation and a kitchen that ensures all edibles are created with organically produced products.

“The power didn’t always work, we weren’t 100% on time by any stretch” CEO Ed Dow said while explaining that going off the grid didn’t happen without its share of hurdles.

Outside of what they are currently doing the team hopes to lower their carbon footprint even further by starting a composting program when state guidelines allow for it. As Solar Cannabis Co. looks toward the future, Director of Brand Development Kyleen Keenan tells NBC10 Boston, “it’s important for us to be sustainable for our partners, for our state, for the health and well-being of our country and hopefully the world at large.

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