Large scale commercial grow

To start off with, I’m beginning the journey down a long path that will hopefully allow me to grow full spectrum cannabis plants in the future. Right now that’s not an option so I’m doing the next best thing and starting out doing a cbd farm since I have the land and a large building at my disposal. I have quite a few questions and any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

I am having to go very small based on financial availability. If it proves to be successful I plan to reinvest profit back into the farm. My first big questions for starting operations would be planning electricity. Right now 2 100 amp breakers are what I have to work with for a 32 x 45 foot area. I am leaving this mostly open bar the flower room for R&D to determine which phenos I want to run. This room is a 9 x 17. I plan to run a 60 amp flower room along with 40 amp utility room (to be used for whatever the need might be) on one 100 amp breaker and then 2 40 amp rooms on the other with 20 amps dedicated for the 20 amp well.

One of the 40 amp rooms will be a cloning area that is 11x 45. I plan to have 6 shelf carts (maybe 5 shelf) that will hold trays and humidity domes with lights running below the shelf above each set of trays. Each cart will run independently on a timer controlling entire cart (roughly 500-700 clones per cart) with 5-15 carts first year.

My initial question is what lights would work well for the cloning carts? F series by Samsung? T5s? Would T5s be less efficient? 500-1000 lumens per square? What voltage would work best as there seems to be some options here? Any ideas on where to buy in bulk?

@dbrn32 @blackthumbbetty @kw_Bat @Cyle1 @Mrcrabs @elheffe702 @Loki @Countryboyjvd1971
I’ll tag a couple people who I know have been extremely helpful in the past - feel free to remove yourself as you’d like. I’ll add some photos and try to keep updating them with progress. Right now still removing walls, iron rails, vines, trees, and just cleaning up in general. Thanks all!!


Nice that’s going be sweet

1 Like

Hopefully we eventually see that are flourishing with weed lol.

As much as I want to start spewing out led parts, I feel a need to deflect to some electrical training. Your circuits shouldn’t be loaded to 100% ever. When you get to lighting big rooms you’ll definitely want a light controller. They act as a soft start to keep all lights from pulling inrush current at the same time. I understand you’re not there yet, but will be a couple hundred bucks you’ll want to plan on spending.

If you’re willing to DIY your lights, that will be highest electrical efficiency. You can run more efficient by dropping current, but you’ll have to buy more in order to meet total light output requirements. T5ho run about 95 lumens per watt, and Samsung f series at standard current run about 180 lumens per watt. That’s kind of a no brainer if you don’t mind spending the cash.


Absolutely correct.
There’s a bit more to the calculations, but in general - maximum load is 80% of the circuit breaker rating. Motors, length and number of wires, conduit, etc. affect the calculations but 80% is typically the figure. You can read more here:

ILGM does have a team of consultants that can give commercial support. @latewood can supply you with more information if you like.


very nice! i am looking to start commercially here too. the laws have recently changed and i want to grow and retail cbd flower which is legal to be in a better position once laws catch up. the funding is the most difficult part. :smirk:

1 Like

Thanks @Cyle1 we shall see!

Great info @dbrn32 - I’m having my electrician over tomorrow to hone in what can be done and the best way of doing it as I am a complete layman when it comes to electricity. Basically we have a 200 amp box at the other end of the building and figure running the 2 100 amps would be the best way to ease into it. I think moving up anymore would require a whole other level of commercial wiring. If we have to go back we will but after we show we can turn a profit. The plan now is to keep everything at 80% load just to be safe and not run flower room if running two vegs. I’ll definitely invest in a few softeners just to be on the safe side. Most of the work will be done in the fields under sunlight but I would just like a way to have a head start when we go to planting (I’m in NC). I really think the flowering room will be empty most of the time but I wanna know what to expect in the field come harvest time with the genetics I go with

1 Like

Yes exactly - if you start with cbd atleast you have some of the infrastructure set in place and can switch with minimal investment. I’m lucky not to have to start from scratch as we farm cows now so we have tractors and some other equipment already. I was thinking of doing super soil but am hearing that doesn’t work scaled up so I’ll have to think about either doing raised beds (expensive since I’ll have to hire that done) or go no till. Water comes out at 7.5 so I’ll have to dial in my lime as a ph buffer


I would love any help I can get I just have to minimize costs first year so the majority of my money goes into the soil. IlGM has been fantastic on all fronts so would be an easy choice if I make it to that point. I refer all my friends to these guys for a reason :slight_smile:

I would not remove all the concrete walls because they could come in handy down the road. On shelf carts, I would go with T5 4’ 4 bulb units, unless you have tons of money to invest in LED. Even them I believe I would go with T5’s,

2 - 100 amp breakers split into a 60, 40 amp breaker/s and the other with 40amp, 40amp would be OK because you most likely will never need 100% of the amperage at the same time. Otherwise; Listen to Dbrn…

As far as buying in bulk, it depends on where you are, and I suggest you find a regional af supply source or do a search for lighting warehouses, etc.

I do consult for commercial farms for a fee. The advice today is free. Happy growing.


I have always used florescent for cloning with success strips and power supply is much higher start up for a low necessity situation… clones live the 6500k lights and there super cheap to get you off and 100 watts per cloner is ample in my opinion

1 Like

100 watts per cloner would be what rough sq footage? I’m liking the ease of T5s and availability but I have a need in stacking to save space hence the carts. What spacing above plants have you done @fano_man 6inches or so?

Well that’s perfect because over 6 inches fluorescents greatly loose there effectiveness so there the best for the job I do about 3 sq ft per 115 watts of squiglys 23 watt 6500k so t5hos of 100 watts would probally be easy and cheap and very comparable definatley perfect to attach to bottom of a self and put a tot underneath for multi lvl cloning … that’s exactly what I’m gonna be doing but with carts of 2 cloners on top 2 on bottom 10 cells in each I want 15 to 20 a week for perpetual comming out and going in so half the cloner pulling out half the cloner going in every week

Been working crazy on building - cleared out everything but concrete walls on right side. Working on 200 amp box installation and giving some tlc to structural areas around the exterior as well as widening the door next weekend. Will throw some pics up.

I’ve tried sourcing some materials that are pretty cheap thought I’d throw them on here just in case any one could use this down the road as a reference on what to expect costs to look like

I’ve ordered a couple of each just to test - will I still need a ballast for this light? Comes with bulb already so hoping can just daisy chain (6.77$) and wire into a plug but may not be that simple. Was thinking of just going with hlg quantums since I’m familiar for flower test room and mother room. Most of work will be done outside I would just want to maintain mothers and have a flower room to test new genetics down the road. Clones are really the main reason to even have the building.

Outdoors planting - I’ll have to do inorganic for the first couple of years. I might have a workaround but we did apply synthetic herbicides in the past 36 months which would disqualify from obtaining organic license through usda. We will be running plasticulture over 2 acres of pasture with 2 drip lines 2” underneath plastic. Local co op rents the bedder for 50$ a day (3day Max) and you get half money back if return on time clean. Not as focused on that quite yet but I knew that could be a significant issue looking down the road

I would assume that fixture comes with ballast, but there should be description that says for sure.

1 Like

I’d assume so too but based on pricing the nay sayer in me says there’s gotta be a catch. Nothing in the description from what I can tell

I’m thinking 2 of these per 2x3 shelf for cloning/ couple weeks of veg?

1 Like

It’s fluorescent, they’re not that expensive. Amazon has 8 bulb fixture for about $75 I think. Two would probably be good for what you’re looking to do.

1 Like

They sell 4’ , 4 bulb t5ho fixture’s at home depot for $92 bucks… you just need to ad an electrical chord to it for an additional $8 bucks …


Unfortunately I’m using shelving to maximize space so a 8 or 4 bulb unit won’t work. Looking either 2 single 2 foot fixtures or one 3 ft. (2 perpendicular or 1 parallel) above each shelf with trays. You think that would be a good option instead of quantum’s for mother room? Way cheaper than 4-6 hlg 600h’s.

I was just giving you an example because you thought the fixtures you found were cheap. They’re actually kind of expensive for single bulb 2’ t5.


I use them in vegg and when cloning…for clones my light is hung 2’ above rdwc clone unit that is 4’ long by 12 inches wide with great success…
Then I move them to a rdwc with a 5’ lid x 3’ deep x 4’ wide …
Works like a charm…
You just need to figure out how to make your space work for you… :wink: