Growing Green: Insights from a Leading Energy Expert on Taking Your Cultivation Off the Grid

Bratic Enterprises Cannabiz Connection
Written by: Kevin Currier, Word Currier

With the massive amount of buildout needed to accommodate cultivators in the post MMFLA landscape, one thing on many people’s minds is energy consumption. When dealing with a plant that requires a great deal of indoor and outdoor lighting, added to the humidifiers, dehumidifiers, destratification, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), carbon filters, anything needed for offices, parking, security, you can see the electrical needs add up pretty quickly. Parallel that to our relatively slow-moving climate of renewable resources (LED lights won't cut those types of costs), you have the potential for a money pit.

Steve Bratic, the managing director at Bratic Enterprises LLC, says the potential for a complete off-the-grid grow operation is exactly what they do. “People are unaware there are alternatives," Steve says. He and his team are currently in talks to scale an 80,000 sqft. Class C facility (1,500 plants) OFG (off-the-grid) completely. “There are options (for renewable energy), you just have to structure it properly.” So, there is more than hope, there are actionable steps.

So here are 9 expert insights for all those itching questions you have on how the future of growing can

1. This is Nothing New

Steve, who originally came from the automotive industry, saw the possibility of renewable energy when he was working over in Europe, predominately in France where they have been using one of his technologies for years. "They run their company like a financial institute. If it's not working, then they won't spend the money on it. It's all about efficiency." Mostly, the U.S. is starting to catch up to what Europe has been using for years.

The idea of CHP (Combined Heat and Power or also called Co-Generation ), the primary element to an OTG operation, has been around for a while. Right under our hoods in fact. "It's the same thing your car does. Your engine has a radiator that goes right into the condenser, which powers the battery and the rest of the car. It's old technology, we're just using that technology and implementing it on a massive scale," Steve says.

2. The Green Possibilities Are Endless

The standard, Centralized Power Generators, creates electricity and through fuel generators where all the access heat is wasted through cooling stations. Ultimately delivering only around 40% of energy efficiency.

So, CHP is a relatively straightforward concept. It takes all of that access heat and puts it to good use. Ultimately delivering around 90% of energy efficiency.

Bratic Enterprises Cultivation Sustainability
(Centralized Power Generation stop at the white images, while CHP utilize the rest of the heat with the possibilities in blue)

You can connect the access heat to produce hot water, cooling, heating, just about anything. “The possibilities are really endless,” Steve says about the CHP process.

If you run the CHP off natural gas (which Steve says it cost around 1/3 of the electricity to generate power), couple that with solar panels and energy holding cells (giant batteries): Congratulations, you are now essentially off the grid.

"This is all scalable," says Steve about your cultivation options. "We can go 100% OTG, or scale it back to as low as 300kW or as high as 10mW." It truly is wherever the costumer's comfort level lies.

3. Why You Haven’t Heard About This

In our current political climate, where coal is still being pushed as king and solar, and wind power feels like a luxury instead of a necessity, the idea of going green can feel like an insurmountable goal. Steve has seen that many people are nervous about change, especially if they're the only ones changing.

“There is a lack of knowledge when it comes to this,” Steve says about the energy industry. As most energy companies want to keep you dependent on their grid, many new energy initiatives rarely make it to the forefront of conversations. But rest assured the technology, and the necessity, is out there, and the climate is slowing changing.

4. Energy Companies Love to Hate Us

As this saves money in the long haul for the costumer, it likewise does the same for major electric companies like Consumers and DTE. They know this is where technology and businesses are going, they just hate that individuals are beating them to it, says Steve. “They love to hate us.”

But you have to be careful, Steve warns. As this is a relatively new technology in America's eyes, it's still seen as a threat from electric companies. "If you fully cut yourself off from the grid and want to expand later on, the companies could charge you for all of the revenue loss you didn’t pay when you weren’t on the grid.”

Which leads to one of the most important questions you’re asking yourself…

5. Let’s Talk About Money

Even though there are slight upcharges from the initial cost, the payback is far more significant in the short-term—that's right, payback can be quick on this. The latest and greatest, Solar Glass, can pay itself back within a year, Steve says. And, with the federal tax write off incentives, you can get up to 30% depreciation of the sustainable equipment value plus up to a million dollars (if you have this in taxable assets).
It’s all about how you structure your property. Something Steve and his team are specialists in. “We have a structuring process where we can help gain indirect federal, as well as local, incentives.”
For example, having solar and battery can offset the daytime value. If you can shave off your summer daytime peak hours with the solar and battery, you’ve already cut your annual bill in almost half, says Steve.
And if structured properly and/or licensed, the potential for financing this system and other equipment is possible as well, says Steve.

6. Custom is Key

Everything is custom built. With projects this large and specific, it has to be.
But, Steve says, people think custom means it’ll cost you more. It won’t. In fact, the custom project ensures that nothing is being overlooked or overpaid. So, 'custom' is actually cheaper in the long run.

7. It’s Never Too Late

No matter where you are in your business development or construction process, you can always switch over to CHP and solar & battery. There is wiggle room. Since it’s all scalable to whatever size you desire, it can always be implemented in your current build-out/build-in phase.
But, “The sooner, the better,” Steve says. There is a Cost of Waiting, every day you don’t move forward with being sustainable, is a day you’re wasting a certain amount of money. "We're not trying to push you into anything, just explaining the basic information so you can push yourself into."

8. You’re a Grower, Not an Engineer

But, you’re used to the basic heating/cooling system that you just turn off and on. How do you work something this foreign?
Luckily, when Steve and team offer you a service “we not only guarantee the machinery and maintenance, we guarantee the amount of energy you get. We will service that product for its lifespan.”
So, that takes all of the strain and guessing out of it. And, like any good piece of machinery, you won't even know it's operating on the day-to-day.

9. Let’s look At the Long Haul

Even if you decide not to grow anymore, you can lease out the building and the power as a profit center. "The only thing that won't hold value for other companies is the grow lights, everything else is value added when you go and sell the property." And, as we've discussed, this is pretty straightforward technology, so it's not going anywhere anytime soon.
Between the tax write-offs, being OTG (off-the-grid), paying for itself in time, and being a key player in the green movement, it seems like a no-brainer to at least talk to Steve and his team and see what can be done for you. And with states like Texas, New Jersey, and New York, offering huge incentives to push people into renewable energy sources, it’s nice to know you’ll be ahead of the curve in this wonderful State of Michigan. 

Check out this case study Bratic put together showing the difference:

Bratic Enterprises Case Study
Bratic Enterprises Case Study
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Comments on "Growing Green: Insights from a Leading Energy Expert on Taking Your Cultivation Off the Grid"

Comments 0-5 of 2

Stevan Bratic - Thursday, September 13, 2018

reach out to me on my cell phone at 248.842.1480

- Thursday, September 06, 2018

simply awesome in interested in be coming your electrical contractor

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