It may be cold outside, but Maine’s cannabis industry is heating up - and some companies are using sunlight to do it!
Just last week, Sweet Dirt, a Maine-based cannabis company, and ArchSolar, a national provider of environmentally sustainable greenhouses have partnered to build out the largest cannabis greenhouse in the state. Once completed, the grow site will be a state-of-the-art 32,800 square foot extreme-light deprivation greenhouse.
The new grow site and headquarters will be located in Eliot where last November, voters overwhelmingly approved an ordinance and licensing procedure, opening up opportunities for adult use cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and retail stores. Located in lower York County, a popular tourism area, the town embraced the opportunity for economic growth. Perhaps this innovative and big project will help influence other municipalities to be more open minded about welcoming cannabis businesses to their towns.
“Sweet Dirt is fortunate to have partnered with ArchSolar as we embark on this exciting high-growth phase of our business and we are thrilled to be breaking ground on this new facility which will allow us to deliver year-round, sun-kissed, organically-grown artisanal cannabis to the Maine market,” says Hughes Pope, president and founder of Sweet Dirt.
Optimized for harsh climates, the multi-bay greenhouse will feature exceptional thermal performance, best-in-class snow and wind load capacity, an automated louvered intake and exhaust system, and an even automated light-deprivation (shade) system.
While a lot of companies in a variety of industries are embracing sustainability as both a means to address climate change and reduce their energy costs, the cannabis industry is particularly ripe for sustainability practices due to its high energy requirements. Leveraging natural light to reduce electrical load means Sweet Dirt will be able to continue its commitment to sustainability while reducing their energy usage. It was a key factor in their decision to partner with Portland-based ArchSolar.
“We are pleased to be working with Sweet Dirt to build out what, to our knowledge, is the largest cannabis greenhouse in Maine” says Tony Kieffer, president and founder of ArchSolar. “ArchSolar clients have a proven track record of growing year-round in 20-below winter weather or 90-degree summer weather in a greenhouse that uses about a third of the energy required by a traditional indoor operation.”
ArchSolar has brought its greenhouse and growing expertise to the cannabis space, creating grow rooms that lower electricity costs and literally let the sunshine in (when appropriate!). Their 50-foot span bays provide a higher percentage utilization of planted space over traditional greenhouse designs, ensuring growers can earn as much per square foot as possible.
As the magazine focused on Maine’s emerging cannabis industry, it’s also great to see two local companies partnering up to build such a sizable project. It demonstrates clearly that Maine is on the precipice of a remarkable growth industry when adult use - finally - takes off.