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Today, I take a look at the California Lightworks 440W Solar Storm LED grow light. A striking, red LED grow light that is designed to replace a 600W HID.
The thing that really stands out for me, is the built-in fluorescent UVB bulbs. LED grow lights commonly offer a full spectrum light source, but none of them offer UV-B light-bands that enhance bud production during the bloom stage. This makes the California Lightworks Solar Storm unique.
On top of that, you get a two-way phase switch for veg and bloom stages. Two high-performance cooling fans that keep the 144 3W LED bulbs cool. Finally, the Solarstorm is built in the US, so you can expect a good quality, lasting manufacture.
|Covarage Area||6 x 4 foot|
|Dimensions||36″ x 12″x 3″|
|LED Quantity||300x3w US Made|
Coverage can sometimes be a tricky measurement in terms of visualising how many plants you can grow. The truth is, plant sizes vary depending on the strain, the stages of growth and the conditions that you provide. I believe that a single plant needs a minimum of one square foot to cover all the stages of its growth.
In the initial stages of growth, the California Lightworks Solarstorm covers an impressive 6 by 6 foot. I can use this light to foster up to 36 young plants. Once those plants start blooming though, the coverage is significantly reduced to 3 by 3 foot.
If I wanted to get a large project on the go, I would definitely consider 3 of these models, two for the bloom and one for large scale veg production.
Strength and Efficiency
Generally speaking, the California Lightworks Solar Storm is 50% more efficient than a 600W HID. The phase-switches allow you to reduce consumption during different stages of growth. In the veg stage, you’ll be using just 235W to nourish your crop. Once you reach the bloom, you’re looking at 320W of energy consumption.
In the final stages of growth you’ll want to maximize your yield by engaging both the bloom mode and the fluorescent UV-B. With both engaged, you’re using 350W of power. In my view, the extra consumption from the fluorescent is more than made up for by the increase in yield.
You can use the California Lightworks Solarstorm for all stages of growth and it’s great for a 4 by 4 grow tent. The only issue for me, is the gap between coverage in veg and bloom stages.
It can be tempting to grow as many plants as possible but tricky to move plants around once they bloom. Then again, if you’re working on large projects you’ll likely be using more than one light anyway.
Extra points are given for the UV-B flurescent which I think is a game changing feature in grow light technology. I expect to see fluorescents incorporated into many more grow lights in the near future.
I like to judge value by cost against yield, rather than product against product. The Solarstorm will give you a top yield every-time by giving your plants exactly what they need to flourish. I’ve taken a few points off based on energy consumption, but overall, this is a sound investment.
The advantages of US built products are significant, better customer service, easier to replace parts and easier to send out for repairs. You get a 3-year warranty as standard, plus a 90-day return policy.
If you are still unsure whether this is the right LED grow light for you or not, read our best LED grow lights page.