- Long-life LEDs that retain 90 percent luminosity after 50,000 hours
- Individual LED lensing to direct light to penetrate the plant canopy
- Four 90 percent efficient 90-277 VAC drivers
- Switchable dual spectrum to optimize for vegetative and flowering stages
- Two switchable 18″ T8 fluorescent bulbs that add UV-B spectrum
- Six bands of spectrum total
- Size – 15″ x 18″ x 5″ depth
- Weight – 18 lbs.
- Input voltage – 90 to 277 VAC
- Power consumption – 235W to 350W depending on spectrum selection
- Nominal coverage area – 3′ x 3′ up to 4′ x 4′ at 24″ height
- Spectrum – 5 bands of red, blue and 3100K white plus selectable UV-B supplied by 15W T8 bulbs
- PAR output at 18″ – 1,389 µmoles m-2 s-1
- High-efficiency and long-life OSRAM SSLs
- Spectrum switch to enhance veg and bloom stages
- 5 band spectrum plus UV-B
- 3-year limited warranty and 90-day risk free trial
- Fans are unfiltered and somewhat noisy
- No daisy-chaining of units is possible
Details of the CLW SolarStorm 440W
This light is designed to suit all stages of plant growth for grow beds between 4′ x 4′ and 3′ x 3′ sizes, for vegetative and flowering stages, respectively. The 144 LEDs provide five bands of PAR spectrum from the deep blue to the deep red bands – 450nm, 470nm, 620nm, 665nm – plus a warm white spread from 430nm to 700nm. Turning on the T8 fluorescent UV-B tubes in the final weeks of blooming supposedly increases flower potency. The SolarStorm series offers the only LED or non-LED grow light to include UV-B emission.
How Spectrum Switching Works
Veg and Bloom modes are controlled by a single switch. Blue spectrum increases vegetation, whereas red spectrum stimulates plants to flower. However, the grow modes are not simply supplying one set of spectrum versus another.
As the illustration demonstrates, both Veg and Bloom modes supply the same intensity of red spectrum, but in Veg mode the amount of blue spectrum is increased. Another switch turns on or off the T8 UV-B bulbs. UV-B added while in Bloom mode gives the flowers an extra kick.
The SolarStorm’s wide-range LED drivers handle input power from 90VAC up to 277VAC, which means the light is suitable for mains voltages in any country. Long lamp life is also ensured by CLW’s use of large heat sinks, 92mm fans and a 0.040″ aluminum core PCB, which wicks away LED heat.
What Buyers Are Saying
California Light Works has unnecessarily created confusion by producing two LED grow lights of the same name but using different components. One 440W uses 88 5W LEDs, whereas the one described here uses 144 3W OSRAM SSLs. Perhaps it would be better to call the latest version the 440W+. When studying reviews, be sure which sub-version is being talked about.
While the vast majority of buyers are pleased with the grow results, it is common to read complaints about excessive fan noise especially compared to other grow light brands. It could be important if your grow room is a bedroom closet.
SolarStorm 440W reviews also question if five spectrum bands are enough given that other LED grow light manufacturers offer twice as many bands. Debate about the usefulness of the UV-B tubes is inconclusive. Some reviewers claim significant potency improvement by adding UV-B but others consider them superfluous.
CLW made a great move in upgrading this light with OSRAM SSLs. They boast a lifespan of 80,000 hours and more with only a 10% degradation of luminosity at the far end of the lifespan. They outperform even CREE LEDs in this regard. California Light Works’ recent extension of their 2-year warranty to three years may be a reflection of this improvement.
Either version of the SolarStorm 440W is an excellent, energy-efficient replacement for a 600W MH or HPS system, which are often used for medium size home grow operations.
Given its dual spectrum nature and the light spread at different heights, keeping it at 24″ for the Veg stage and 18″ when switching to Bloom mode should provide great results.
The SS 440W is a good all-purpose light that pays for itself in a short time. When ordering, be sure to ask for a set of grow light glasses, which some distributors are providing free of charge with this light.