These were nervous months, because Peters is doing pioneering work with his investments in time and money in the latest technologies. But the grower is really pleased with the results obtained using LED interlighting in actual practice. The yield in terms of both quality and volume exceeded expectations. The plum tomatoes were harvested earlier than anticipated and afterwards Peters concluded that he could even have started to use the interlighting weeks before. In addition, it looks as though the energy savings will be even greater than calculated beforehand. With this winter’s harvest, Peters has proved that he can supply top-quality plum tomatoes from his own site all year round.
Wim Peters has been growing plum tomatoes for over ten years. Throughout that period he was faced with the problem that he could not supply his customers with his own tomatoes from his low greenhouses during the winter season. So in winter the company used to import plum tomatoes. The disadvantage of this was that the quality did not always meet the high standards that he demands. Peters therefore examined several options for producing all year round. Two years ago, following discussions with one of his managers and Philips Horticulture, he concluded that LED interlighting offered the best possibilities. Because they emit little heat, the LEDs create a perfectly regular climate in the greenhouse. However, this was the first time that this approach had been put into practice.
The LEDs were fitted on Peters’ site in autumn 2013. It is a hybrid lighting system. The solution is a combination of HID lighting, luminaires made by Hortilux Schréder B.V. with Philips GreenPower 600W lamps, and Philips LED GreenPower interlighting. The HID lighting supplies heat and light, and the LED modules provide the right, highly efficient interlighting for the tomatoes. Altogether, Peters installed no less than twenty kilometers of LED lighting in his greenhouses.
Shorter crop rotation
Hybrid lighting consisting of LEDs in combination with SON-T provides options for high light efficiency, lower energy costs and a better climate with greater possibilities for control. Peters did not need to increase the height of the greenhouse and does not require a growth tube thanks to the heat from the interlighting. The solution produced a crop rotation that was three weeks shorter and cut investment costs by around fifteen euros per square meter. For the initial calculation a reduction in energy costs of about one euro per square meter was estimated. Peters has now been conducting this trial for a couple of months and is pleased to report that he expects that the savings for this item will also be higher than originally anticipated.