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.
Benefits of LED Grow Lights
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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!