With high energy prices here to stay, we’ve seen big changes in the way growers are thinking about their use of light. High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps are being switched off and replaced with LED lights, which are not only more economical but have the option to be dimmed. Growers are learning that they still need to use artificial light, but it must be used smarter to combat costs - preferably without limiting crop growth, yield, or quality.
Two concepts are central to the new approach to artificial lighting: cost-effectiveness and flexibility. Plants need Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR) to grow. The trick to cost-effective growth is to give plants enough PAR light in the right composition of spectrum and intensity at the lowest possible cost to perform well. And just as electricity costs are not constant but can vary from hour to hour, a plant’s light requirements are not constant either. Research and practice have already shown that it can be beneficial for both plant development and energy bills to treat light as a dynamic growth factor. The days when light installations always ran at full power at fixed times will soon be a thing of the past.