California Lightworks SolarSystem Review

With the rising popularity of indoor hydroponics gardening, growers are on the lookout for quality led grow lights more today than ever before. While there are plenty of options to choose from, it’s not an easy task to find one that has the right blend of performance, functionality, and affordability. Well, we may have found the perfect light for you: the California Lightworks SolarSystem 550. Here is our California Lightworks SolarSystem review to help you determine if this is the right grow light for you. 

California LightWorks SolarSystem

w/ Controller

4 drop rating

uPONICS Rating

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Image result for green checkmark  High Power Osram LEDs
Image result for green checkmark  Programmable spectrum control for all phases of growth
Image result for green checkmark  Touch screen controller w/ 24-hour and weekly timer
Image result for green checkmark  Great Coverage: 3 X 4 area in bloom/up to 6 X 8 area in veg
Image result for green checkmark  Will replace a 600 watt HPS
Image result for green checkmark  Commercial grade light with tons of functionality


Image result for red x mark  Cannot control the spectra without the controller
Image result for red x mark  Controller is sold separately in some cases

Benefits of LED Grow Lights

California Lightworks SolarSystem 550

As you may have read in our Best LED Grow Lights article, LED grow light technology has many advantages over HID, High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), and fluorescent types of lighting. To start with, LEDs emits far less heat than the other options. LED lighting is also more energy efficient (less expensive to operate), has a longer lifespan (another cost advantage), and its targeted wavelengths allow for better light absorption. Over the long term, cost and performance advantages of an LED grow light (like the California Lightworks SolarSystem 550) make it a superior choice.

Overview – California Lightworks SolarSystem Review 

California Lightworks’ SolarSystem 550 is the first of its kind.  Manufactured just outside of Los Angeles,  this model is a cost-effective and highly modernized product designed in a way that allows for plenty of customization. As such, this light is a perfect fit for most hydroponics growers.

Although it’s small in size, the SS 500 puts out more light than larger LED grow lights while simplifying the entire growing process. Plus, it comes at a lower overall cost. Now let’s get into some of the details.

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California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 –  Ins and Outs

Because it’s lightweight and compact design, the SolarSystem 550 is a breeze to install (even for beginners). A big bonus for me was the great customer service from California Lightworks as they offer free advice and instructions on how to set up the light. Check out the dimensions and features to get a better idea:

  •  The size is a compact 18 x 8.5 x 4 inches 
  • It weighs just 13 pounds
  • Up to 400 actual watts
  • Will replace a 600-watt HPS system
  • Powerful enough for veg or bloom
  • Covers up to a 3′ X 4′ area in bloom and up to 6′ X 8′ area in veg
  • Fully programmable spectrum control
  • 171 x 3W High Power Osram LEDs – 400 watts actual draw at full power
  • Automatic voltage recognition from 90 volts-277 volts, can run on any voltage you want
  • Compatible with all standard North American household power outlets
  • Waterproof (65 IP rating for damp & wet conditions)
  • Temperature range from 0-310 degrees Fahrenheit – more efficient and wider variety than traditional lamps
  • Ability to Daisy Chain up to 100 lights!
  • Can hang as high as 4 feet in veg
  • 50,000 hour rated water resistant fans
  • 5 year limited warranty with customer support

Some other great attributes of the SS 550 are that it uses 40-50% less electricity. This means you’re spending less on utilities as well as the added benefit of not having to change bulbs. You can also customize the system’s light spectrum to adjust to the optimal settings for your particular plants and stage of growth. 

Advanced LED Technology

LED will be the primary light source in the coming years and the SS 550 demonstrates the best use of LEDs to date. The creators at California Lightworks worked for over 7 years to combine their technical knowledge with their understanding of nature to perfect the spectrum control. With fixture costs going down every year and the durability of an LED, it just makes more sense to pay a little more upfront for an LED system. You’ll be making the money back in the future with slashed utility bills and more free time thanks to less maintenance when it comes to the bulbs.

One of the greatest features of the SS 550 is the ability to customize the lights so that you can fine-tune your reds, whites, and blues in a way that best meets your needs. The led bulbs have a 50,000 hour rated lifespan and due to its adjustable power, it is the only light you will need for all stages of growth –  from germination, seedlings, and mature plants. The LEDs are secured in a sleek, waterproof case meaning you don’t have to worry about humidity and other water damaging the light.  The SolarSystem 550 is built to last in any environment—especially a greenhouse. Some greenhouse growers reported the production of 8 lbs. from a single light! Traditional lighting systems yield a mere 2 lbs.

You don’t have to worry about shadows and can even tone down lighting spectrums on a scale from 0-100% so if you’re working and prefer the white (natural light) then you can turn down the reds or blues as you like. This system is not only far more advanced than others, but this type of light will likely replace traditional lighting systems in the near future.


Weight: 13 lbs.

Dimensions: 18″ x 8.5″ x 4″

Led BrandHigh Power Osram LEDs (50,000 hrs)

LEDs: 171 x 3W LEDs (red, blue, white)

Actual Draw: 400 watts actual draw at full power

Par ValueHigh intensity PAR output of 620 μuMoles/s

VoltageAutomatic voltage regulation – 90 – 277 volts

Max Heat Output: 1200 BTU

Coverage Area:  Up to 3′ X 4′ area in bloom and up to 6′ X 8′ area in veg

Warranty: 5 year limited, local support

Origin: Manufactured in California USA

California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 

Advanced LED Grow Light


✓  Programmable spectrum control for best results in all phases of growth (SolarSystem Controller required)
✓  Low heat output – No ducting required
✓  Optimal spectrum for both veg and bloom
✓  High-performance custom LED drivers
✓  Bulletproof active heat management
✓  Waterproof (65 IP rating for damp & wet conditions)
✓  UL listed

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California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 Controller

While you can operate the light in basic manual mode, my favorite feature is definitely the programmable spectrum control. The controller is what makes the California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 so versatile and functional and the heart of this lighting system. Not only is it incredibly easy to use – even for new growers – but it allows you to play around and find which lighting spectrum works best for your plants. It gives you the freedom to explore different settings and automates your grow for ease of use. And whether you need access to one light or 1,000, all the functionality can be accessed from the one single device. It’s a real workhorse!

Another cool feature is the sunrise/sunset simulation. You can increase or decrease light power at the start or end of the day to replicate natural light transitions so that your plants don’t experience stress and can start to photosynthesize.

The touchscreen controller is chock full of useful features that will make even a casual home grower feel professional. With the controller you have access to these features:

  • 4-hour clock with minute by minute programming
  • 0% – 100% three band spectrum control (red, white, blue)
  • Day/Week/Month/Season Calendar
  • Ability to save/program multiple routines
  • 1-touch view mode provides natural white lighting
  • Battery power back-up capability
  • The green backlit screen is ideal if light deprivation is a priority
  • Network an unlimited number of lights from a single controller
  • Uses RJ-11 data cables for secure networking
  • Micro USB port for downloading programs and system updates

This versatility allows you to save several routines for specific crops and strains and the ability to switch between light spectrums for accelerated growth. If you’re using the light system in a space that allows for natural sunlight during the day, you can connect your controller to an indoor light sensor which will automatically reduce the amount of light coming from the system if it detects there is adequate natural light. All and all,  this controller allows you to conserve energy and save you money in the process.

Having a lot of settings is a great feature, but I was worried about what would happen if there was a blackout or I lost power for even a short time. I was relieved to see that California Light Works guarantees that the controller will automatically resume its last setting in the event of power loss.

Check out this video for a full rundown of the controller:

What Sets the CLW SS 550 Apart?

Why choose the SS 550 over traditional lighting systems (or LED grow lights for that matter)? The super-high-quality LEDs are over 40% more efficient than traditional bulbs and have a much longer lifespan. The California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 is highly customizable so you can ensure plants get exactly the light they need when they need it.  And it does so while operating at a low operating temperature. In the end, this LED grow light has so much going for it that the decision is an easy one!

The Takeaway – California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 Review

What it all boils down to is the advanced capabilities paired with the compact, convenient size and high power output. All in all, the SS 550 costs less, requires less work, and delivers bigger and better results. This is the perfect option for indoor growers with little space or greenhouse growers trying to reduce their shadow effect. The California Lightworks SolarSystem 550 – along with the controller – offers a fully automated, low cost, and highly controllable growing system for 1 to 1000 grow lights. Its advanced functionality, overall efficiency, low cost, and ease-of-use are a game changer for both individual growers and commercial operations.

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Thanks for reading our California LightWorks SolarSystem review.  Feel free to browse through other uPONICS pages, such as Hydroponics System, Hydroponics System ReviewsBest Grow Tent, COB LED Grow Light Reviews, Best Grow Lights for Weed, and AeroGarden Marijuana Growing.