Growing Green

May 28, 2021 | 2:30 pm | 301 | Cultivation

As energy demands continue to increase on the national level, the booming cannabis industry is expected to face challenges in energy costs, as well as sourcing of that energy. Increases in energy demand from emerging markets coupled with the aging energy infrastructure of the US will lead to limitations in the amount of energy pulled from the existing utility grid. One solution that aligns well with the cannabis industry is solar power. Solar power can range in scale from supplemental energy sources to wholesale energy demand replacement. Historically upfront costs have been a deterrent for commercial solar installations. In the span of 10 years (2008-2018) the price of solar installations has fallen some 60%, and the trend has continued into today’s market. As prices have continued to come down, the overall efficiency of solar panels has gone up. A September 2020 report found that in the past five years the average panel conversion efficiency has increased 15-20%, reflecting an increase in overall wattage produced per panel. This decrease in upfront cost and increase in panel efficiency make now a great time to invest in a solar system as the overall payout time for systems has dropped significantly. Recent regulatory restrictions on energy consumption by cannabis facilities in Massachusetts have also led some to look into solar power as a supplement for energy consumption. As state (or federal) regulations continue to evolve and change, the cannabis industry will need to be ready to look to other sources of energy for operations.


Kelsey Putman Hughes, CEO, Wind River Resources LLC

Ms. Putman-Hughes graduated from UW-Oshkosh with a BS in Geology in 2008 and from the University of Missouri in 2010 with an MS in Paleoclimatology and a graduate minor in College Science Teaching. After graduating Ms. Putman-Hughes worked for Samson Resources, Apache Corp., Orca Resources, and Staghorn Petroleum I-II. In 2020 she leveraged her experience working in privately owned companies in energy to moving into the growing renewable industry. During her tenure in the energy industry she helped manage the sale of assets over $640 million for Staghorn Petroleum, lead the science data gathering for her companies, and efficiently managed staff in the office and field.