By Cosmos Burnigham

Jonathan Cachat PHD, CEO at CCV Research, has settled the score pertaining to the age old argument about which buds are better, indoor or sun grown. His solution–SunGrown Indoor,

utilizing what he calls Dynamic Supplemental Sunlight (DSS). By implementing sun capturing, Solatube System technologies into the indoor grow ceiling and roof (even really tall ceilings) Cachat is able to bring upwards of 900 PAR of pure sunshine into the canopy at peak sun, on a clear day. The proof is in the jars of Grape Ape pictured on these pages–full sun outdoor grown on the left page and SunGrown Indoor on the right, grown under the exact same controls in every other respect. Utilizing Heliospectra LED’s to supply the rest of the desired PAR in the canopy, he is able to harvest heavy, beautiful colas with all the indoor bag appeal, while cutting costs across the board, drastically reducing electricity & water consumption and gaining those characteristics and terpene profiles that some argue can only be achieved under the sun.

Doctor Cachat and the CCV Research Team have dedicated themselves to researching and developing this concept for over two and a half years and recently disclosed their secrets at the NEW West Summit this fall in Oakland, California. The event boasts about its “focus exclusively on the game-changing, disruptive developments in technology, investment and media within the cannabis space,” and here’s why Cachat was among the guest speakers. From a business standpoint, if a grower can manage to get his/her cost of goods sold down below $500 per pound, not only is that a significant accomplishment, but it allows for a potential viable margin in the equation, in an increasingly competitive space. As prices of flower continue on the downward trend, the future implications of CCV Research’s homework point directly to the dollar signs. They have successfully achieved a cost of goods sold price around $100 per pound, not to mention the mega-potential of significantly reducing a grower’s burden on our mostly coal-based, U.S. energy infrastructure.

The core of the DSS system is the crystal clear collector that sits atop the grow roof capturing sunlight from sunrise to sunset, with the ability to capture low angle light closer to dusk and dawn and then transfer it into the canopy. Furthermore, it only sends the visible light spectrum; “we’re not bringing heat into the room just the visible light spectrum,” said Cachat. The light is actually caught by “Spectral Light Infinity,” an advanced material developed by 3M and Solatube. It allows only a fraction of the light to be lost through diffused reflection and sends 99% downward, running up to 100 feet and even horizontally. From there, the light enters the amplifier that projects a focal point across the canopy over the course of the day.

The “Dynamic Supplemental Sunlight” system isn’t the only component of his disruptive recipe. CCV has coupled their technology with Grownetics custom network hardware, which is constantly monitoring (via electronic sensors) the PAR and Spectrum in the canopy (among other aspects of the grow) and adjusting the LED lights to supplement only the necessary lumens to achieve their desired specifications based on how much sun is or isn’t shining on a particular day.

The spectral control possible with Heliospectra LEDs also allows them to steer plant development and morphology, increasing far red spectrum intensity at points in the flowering phase, mimicking the sunlight that naturally occurs shortly before harvest. As Dr. Cachat puts it, “We fuel plant growth with the free, natural sunlight, and steer with the spectral control possible in LEDs”.

The Boulder, Colorado based Grownetics is creating the next generation grow optimization platform and the world’s first fully integrated, hardware diagnostic and CEA optimization platform offering full facility automation. Their custom mapped dashboard lets you see what’s going on in your facility spatially in real-time. Get a phone call and SMS if anything gets out of range–3D crop sensing allows you to track live and historical conditions around each individual plant. Run your sub-systems and get micro climate control based on what’s happening in your canopy, not on the wall, and learn about your system for better optimization with each harvest.

The team at Grownetics design, install, train, and maintain your entire system or just those components you don’t want to deal with. The team at CCV Research are also building SunGrown Indoor facilities, of all sizes, from the ground up utilizing Heliospectra LED’s or the lights of your choice on sensors integrated into the Grownetics solution.