Knowing I needed to switch to LED, I still had no idea which light to buy. Before I researched, I already knew about California Lightworks’ great reputation but didn’t know the SolarStorm 880 could be a top contender. It is among the few 1000W equivalents that match HPS yields regarding yield increase.
See Also:Best LED Grow Lights
Actual Wattage and the HID Equivalent
The California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 has 1000W HPS equivalent. Unlike other LED lights, growers yield greater than or equal to HPS.
Some growers still yield lower, though majorly because of the growing differences with LED light and HPS light. As soon as you get used to the differences, then you can expect a yield close to that of a 1000W HPS bulb, or a little less sometimes. Though, the quality is usually higher.
Actual wattage consumed depends on the mode being used: the unit consumes 650W in bloom mode, with a UVB bulb it consumes 680W in bloom mode and draws 475W in veg mode.
I love the fact that power consumption can be reduced, hence saving money at the vegetative stages, when the plants do not need much light.
Grow Light Spectrum
The California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 has got a 5-band spectrum which includes deep blue (440nm), blue (470nm), red (620nm), warm white (3100K), and deep red light (665m). While other competing lights have more bands (some up to 12), the five bands in the SolarStorm 880 will give plants the amount of light needed for any growth stage.
Also, the 880 has 2 T8 fluorescent UVB bulbs. It is the Brand’s major selling feature. The UVB light can only be used in the final stage of flowering, when resin production increases, yielding more.
Does The California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 5-band UVB spectrum work?
Yes, it works. The lights are among the few LED grow lights which match, and even exceed HPS yields in actual grows. The lights are proven to be efficient, and the manufacturers enjoy a great reputation for this.
Coverage Area and PAR
The CLW lights offer single PAR value, without a PAR footprint. Most times, single values will be useless, as they only read directly beneath the light. A fixture can focus all light on a single spot, achieve a huge PAR rating, but be having a low coverage.
This isn’t the case with SolarStorm 880, so we do not know why a PAR footprint isn’t provided. Listed below are the PAR values which they provide:
- 3694 @ 12 inches from canopy
- 949 @ 36 inches
- 1596 @ 24 inches
- 2439 @ 18 inches
Of course, these do not tell much.
Here’s the bottom-line: The California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 offers enough intense light to flower a four by 4 ft area. It will cover a seven by 7 ft area for vegging. It penetrates deeper into the canopy than most other LED lights, which increases yield.
Let me take this moment to appreciate CLW for being honest. They have plainly stated on their website that this light can’t effectively flower an area which is more than four by 4.
Other competitors claim to be able to flower five by 5, but this is not true. They cover five by five plants which do not require much light, but not plants like cannabis which need more light. This has helped CLW’s eat reputation.
If your plants are in a tent or in an area that has reflective walls, this light should cover an area measuring five by 5, because the reflected lights off the walls will provide light to the parts outside the coverage area.
LED Configuration and Type
The California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 is designed with 288 5W Osram diodes. The diodes are among the best quality available, rated to work for 80,000 hours. Most other LED competitors use 50,000 hours rated diodes.
This is cool. But after a deeper research, it was discovered that the output of the diode is about 70% of the actual output after 65,000 hours. The output begins to drop after 50,000 hours to 90%. The California Lightworks have included this detail on their website; only it’s as advertised as the 80,000 figure.
The major advantage of the five watts Osram diodes is their power. They shine brighter than most other diodes. They emit about 15% more light while expending the same power amount as other competitors.
It is amazing that CLW managed to regulate the heat. 3W diodes are not as hot as 5W diodes, which is why producers make use of the smaller diodes, or even mix 5W and 3W diodes.
Clw have manufactured their product using 5W diodes which emit about the same quantity of heat as most competing fixtures that use 3W diodes.
The LEDs are well arranged in the center of the unit in four modules, flanked on both sides by a fluorescent tube. The tubes emit a UVB light in a spectrum range of 285-315 nm. This feature is the most advertised. This is not a gimmick as science has proven the advantages of UVB light on plant growth. It is known that a moderate quantity of light in the final stages of flowering increases THC production.
Personally, I feel the powerful 5W diodes are the greatest feature of this product. I like the additional UVB light provided, but I do not think it is that important-since you can always purchase separate additional UVB light.
As earlier mentioned, California Lightworks have managed to keep their lights’ heat output in check and line with other competitors, despite the use of stronger 5W diodes than most competitors.
If your SolarStorm 880 is situated in an enclosed area, you will need to ventilate during hot summer, but requirements for cooling are minimal when compared to HPS. Also, you may need to heat up the grow room a little during winter, if you reside in a cold climate.
During my research, noisy fans got me concerned. The 880 has four fans which run quietly and constantly when the product is in use and produce the same sound as a computer fan.
Also, I should note that the fans can be used for 50000 hours. This is standard, but this also means the fans will need to be replaced before the LED diodes. Note: 50,000 hours is about seven and a half years if the light is run for 18 hours each day, and over 11 years if run for 12 hours each day.
The California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 is very simple to operate-extremely simple for me. Two switches control everything. One toggle between bloom and veggie modes and the other switch is used to turn the UVB bulb off and on. The two switches can be found on the unit’s side.
This is way too simple, but I usually prefer a complex system, just to have better control and get to customize things. Also, I miss the absence of a remote, although there should be no need for one since there are only two switches.
To get the light set up and running, get it changed and plugged into an outlet as you start growing. Many people like me may be operating the light off 240 volts and will need to buy an extra cord (the package includes a 110/120V cord). Listed below are some details needed:
- Power factor:0.9
- Amperage: 2.83Amps at 240Volts – 5.67Amp at 120 volts
- Operating Temperature: 5 – 104°F (-15 to 40°C)
- Frequency of operation: 50/60 hertz
- Voltage input: 90 – 277V AC
- Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 5 inches
- Weight: 32 pounds
This Lightworks SolarStorm 880 has a decent measurement of 23 x 18 x 5 inches while its weight is pegged at 32 pounds. The weight of the solar storm 880 is lighter than those of several similar brands.
When you purchase the California Lightworks SolarStorm 880, you will also get a standard 110/120V power cord, heavy-duty and easy-to-use hangers. This light can be run at a maximum of 277V, but you’ll have to buy an additional power cord.
They offer a 3-year warranty. In fact, they pay for return shipping- this isn’t common in the industry.
They also provide a ninety-day money back guarantee, though you‘ll need to pay for the return shipping and also provide a reason for return. But so far, I haven’t seen a report of any rejection of returns.
The California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 is a wonderful light and California Lightworks is a reputable company in this industry. The panel delivers what they claim it does, and they produce yields almost equivalent to HPS in quantity but beat HPS in potency terms. Do you want better yields with less stress? Go for California Light works Solar Storm 880!