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The Up-Trend: Grow Light Science LLC - Interview with Founder/CEO

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Article Published: January 20, 2020 by Cannabis Collective Magazine (Republished here with permission)

Written by: IG @RoseCityGrower

Edited by: IG @theoneaboutcapebreton

Welcome to The-Up Trend, a monthly feature in the Cannabis Collective Magazine.  In this section our primary focus is to highlight one company each month that has demonstrated strong performance, consistent product quality, and outstanding social outreach. The secondary focus of this section is to connect consumers with new and affordable products. 

The Up-Trend Company of the Month for January is Grow Light Science LLC, a brand new Troy, Michigan based-company with primary focuses on delivering the highest quality light output (PPF per Watt) and, dramatically lower price per PPF. The Grow Light Science staff has major connections with key lighting component manufactures such as Samsung, Osram, Cree, and Meanwell. It’s rare to see smaller companies with extremely established connections. Using these connections, they are able to manufacture very high-quality products at affordable costs.

By now you must be wondering, what does PPF mean? PPF stands for Photosynthetic Photon Flux, this is the portion of emitted light that your plants need to create energy and to more importantly, grow!  The Grow Light Science staff focuses on the science behind your plants, they engineer their lights to offer you the best spectral distribution of PPF on the market at the lowest cost. With an optimal spectral distribution (mix of wavelengths) your plants are able to properly photosynthesis.

Pairing the sheer science behind these lights with their ability to reduce energy consumption by fifty percent makes Grow Light Science LLC a great option for any consumer. The price point is uncanny, you’re getting an “Electric Sky” quality light for $300 to $400 USD. On top of that, you’re incurring fifty percent less electrical costs in comparison to their immediate competitors. 

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of Grow Light Science for a brief interview. I asked him eleven questions, here’s what he had to say: 

⦁ What is your name and company? Where are you from originally?

My name is Kevin Givens. I am the CEO and founder of Grow Light Science LLC. I grew up in the Detroit area and graduated from Michigan State University. I have worked in the lighting industry for 12 years and in horticulture lighting for the last six years. We have a great team at Grow Light Science. Our members have had the opportunity to work with many of the leading North American horticulture lighting fixture manufacturers as well as key component manufacturers including Samsung, Osram, Cree, and Meanwell.

⦁ Where is your company located and who is your primary target market?

We are based in Troy, MI (Detroit metro area). Our key market focus is lighting for cannabis cultivation. It is an extraordinarily exciting time in the cannabis industry as state after state in the US enact legislation to allow cultivation and both medicinal and recreational use. It will be interesting to see how quickly the US follows Canada’s lead and enacts federal legislation to really open things up and allow this amazing beneficial plant to be grown and used by all who choose to.

⦁ Are you marketing towards Canada, USA or both? Other parts of the world?

We are marketing primarily in Canada and the US with sharp focus on the states that permit cultivation.

⦁ How many different Grow Light Science LED Light Fixtures are you currently selling and how many watts does each model consume? What does each unit retail for?

Two models currently with two additional models in the pipeline and scheduled for launch next quarter. Current models are:

⦁ GROW 200, $269.00 USD, 206 Watts

⦁ GROW 300, $419.00 USD, 321 Watts.

⦁ What are your primary objectives as a company?

We have a fairly straight-forward set of objectives. First, we want to deliver proven, high quality light spectrum. This is so important for obvious reasons. Plants that are not getting the proper mix of wavelengths are not going to yield  exceptional results. Like industry leaders Fluence and Gavita, we design and build our LED modules using a mix of light emitting diodes that includes Samsung 301B white LEDs and 660 nm red LEDs. The white portion of the recipe is composed of a precise ratio of warmer and cooler correlated color temperature (CCT) LEDs. The result is a broad-spectrum power distribution ideal for full-cycle cannabis cultivation with or without CO2 supplementation.

Second, we want to deliver high-level efficiency (>2.5 micro-moles/joule).

Third, we aim to offer considerably lower LED fixture cost. This is the hard part—how to engineer a fixture that delivers the same high-quality light output without adopting the same high overall fixture cost.

We believe we are achieving all three of these objectives.

⦁ What separates your products from other grow lights? What makes you different?

More than anything, it’s that we are achieving the third objective just mentioned above. Our team’s extensive background in general lighting over the past 10 years, and our close work with many of the industries leading fixture manufacturers, has taught us many ways to reduce design and manufacturing costs. If you consider commercial industrial LED lighting 10 years ago, it was very similar to horticulture lighting today—very expensive and over-engineered in ways that do not really add needed value. We are applying knowledge gained from general lighting to help accelerate cost reduction in the horticulture lighting segment. And we are on a mission to reduce one of the major costs (grow lighting) that hamper growers who are trying to get started.

⦁ What is Photon Flux (PPF) and why do your products give us the most PPF per Dollar in comparison to other Brand Name LED Grow Lights?

When you shop for a lightbulb at Home Depot, everyone usually considers two things. The brightness of the light and the color of the light. Brightness is measured in lumens. Color is measured in kelvin. For example, 2700 kelvin (warm white) or 6500 kelvin (cool white).

Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), measured in micro moles per second, is the horticultural equivalent of luminous flux, measured in lumens. Remember, “lumens are for humans”. Is the chart below shows, we offer an exceptionally low cost per PPF it’s just over $.50. The reason is simple really. We start with high-quality light output and high level PPF and add to that a relatively low overall fixture cost. The rest is just simple math.

⦁ How much is the annual expected electrical cost of operating each of your grow light products? Is it above or under market average?

Annual electric cost is function of fixture efficiency and cost per kilowatt hour in your home market. Fixture efficacy is measured in terms of micromoles per joule. In other words, it is how much light comes out of the fixture for every watt that goes in. The most efficient LED grow lights are north of 2.5 µmol per joule. How much of an impact this has on her monthly electric bill depends a lot on where you are. The national average in the US it’s about $.12 per kilowatt hour. In Michigan it’s $.15 in California it’s more than $.20. So while everyone knows LEDs are more efficient then HID fixtures, the difference from one LED to another can be significant if you’re in an expensive area for electricity and you have a decent sized grow.

⦁ Is it true that your product boasts an equal quality light output and efficacy (PPF/watt) with industry leaders Gavita and Fluence?

It’s true. TBH, it’s not that hard to know what the leaders are doing to achieve high level light output. The hard part, as I mentioned earlier, is to do it in a way that is affordable up front.

⦁ Is it true that your products offer dramatically lower Price per PPF and Price per Watt than industry leaders Gavita and Fluence? 


⦁ If you could tell the consumers one thing about your product and overall company message, what would it be?

We truly do want to make it easier for folks to afford to grow cannabis. Not everyone has the kind of money laying around that’s needed to get going. We’re giving folks away to get started without sacrificing necessary light quality. Combine that with our 120 day satisfaction guarantee and were confident anyone who invests in Grow Light Science fixtures will not be disappointed.

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