AgTech firm Light Science Technologies (LST) is urging glasshouse growers to ditch HPS lighting for LEDs as indoor farming feels the pinch from rising energy costs.
As lighting is now switched on for the shoulder season, it is also a time when HPS lighting can fail, potentially hampering crop growth in glasshouses. With energy costs continuing to crawl skywards, LST is urging growers to replace HPS lighting with LEDs now, and also upgrade any old LED grow lights to new to exploit the benefits, citing it as a "wise move".
LEDs are a far more energy efficient light source than some traditional options, with less power use and cost per unit of light output. The average LED grow light lifespan is also up to 50,000 hours, compared to HPS grow lights which, due to the rapid light level drop off, are recommended to be changed around 8,000 hours to maintain more consistent light levels. This is welcome news for growers who are considering making the switch as they begin to feel the squeeze from increasing energy prices and the cost of living.
Traditional HPS grow lights typically only convert 30% of the energy they use into usable light while LED grow lights convert around 50% of the energy into usable light. Research that unpacked the use of LEDs across different climates and applications found that LED grow lights can potentially save 10-25% of total greenhouse energy demand. These lights are also far better for the environment in the long term as they can be managed and disposed of safely compared to HPS grow lights.
Craig Price, Operations Director of LST, said: "When you look at the current HPS lighting, a typical 600W product will deliver around 1185umol/s so the switch to LED offers significant energy savings when used correctly. With products achieving up to 3.3umol/j (subject to emission spectrum), then the equivalent energy requirement could be as low as 360W, effectively offering up to a 40% energy saving when compared to the traditional HPS lamps. In addition to this, the ongoing maintenance is almost halved when you compare the life of an LED product versus a typical HPS product. During a time when energy use increases as we head into the shoulder season, making the switch or upgrade now is a wise move.
Price freeze to support growers
Craig continued: "We believe that in these challenging times it's crucial we support growers and businesses. That's why we have taken the decision not to increase pricing for all our lighting products, for the first quarter at least. As global cost and supply chain issues are ongoing, we'll review pricing in March, and we'll continue to offer best value across our lighting range as we navigate through the current economic climate.
"However, it's not just about choosing the right lighting to be more cost and energy efficient. A poor understanding and application of any lighting solution can lead to anticipated savings being eroded. Therefore what's also important is for growers to work with an LED grow light partner that understands every variable and can help them to design a sustainable solution to custom-fit their unique growing parameters to help achieve the best possible results, while reducing both CAPEX and OPEX costs."
About Light Science Technologies Ltd
Light Science Technologies Ltd delivers lighting, science and research-proven plant monitoring technology and software in partnership with world-leading university research teams. We work across multiple indoor applications including vertical farming, greenhouses and poly tunnels across different plant species, delivering the right solution no matter what environment. Our integrated technology solution for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) applications for next-generation scalable farming helps customers grow more with less. For further information, visit: www.lightsciencetech.com.
About Light Science Technologies Holdings plc
Light Science Technologies Holdings Plc brings together market-leading controlled environment agriculture technology (Light Science Technologies Ltd) and quality led UK based electronic manufacturing (UK Circuits and Electronics Solutions Ltd) to help our customers grow more with less. We specialise in creating and manufacturing bespoke solutions for global clients across agriculture, electronics, audio, automotive, AI technology and pest control industries.