In their white paper series, Sollum has covered the definition of truly dynamic lighting and explored how implementing dynamic LED lighting can reduce greenhouse energy consumption, increase crop yield, and improve crop quality. To refresh, a truly dynamic lighting solution must meet the following four criteria:
- Output intensity can be changed effortlessly;
- The light spectrum can be modified at any point;
- Lighting scenarios are programmable and reprogrammable;
- The solution is responsive to ambient light conditions.
This white paper explores how dynamic lighting enables a greenhouse operation to grow and adapt through its modularity and flexibility.
Although greenhouses operate by precisely controlling the growing environment, there are multiple external factors that cannot be controlled and require adaptation. Generally speaking, businesses with the ability to adapt have an advantage over competitors as they can maintain product quality and quantity over time or completely pivot to produce commodities that are in higher demand. For the greenhouse sector, adaptation looks like the ability to implement new technologies to improve operational efficiencies, change crops in response to consumer demands, etc.
Greenhouse growers have had to adapt to the increased demand for local food, the restricted availability of labor, and the increased cost of inputs such as natural gas and fertilizers, all of which were heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to continue intensifying in the long term. Beyond that, climate change presents multiple challenges through unpredictable weather, heat waves, increasingly hot summers, high pest and disease pressure, and the limited availability of high-quality water.
Greenhouse technology has rapidly advanced to address these concerns through advanced environmental controls, energy screens, co-generation, sensors, and imaging technologies, to name a few. However, horticultural lighting has lagged behind. The dominant lighting systems provide growers with little flexibility once installed, thus a limited capacity to adapt over time.
Sollum Technologies is challenging this paradigm by providing an intelligent LED horticultural lighting solution that is modular and flexible on multiple levels, making it resilient and future-proof. It allows growers to adapt to evolving conditions such as the introduction of new crops, changing environmental conditions, resource constraints, and business development objectives.
Modularity: for greenhouses, small and large
A key component of building a dynamic system is modularity, an increasingly popular feature in many systems which allows technology to be implemented at various scales. Modular systems are made of independent, repeated entities that are combined to form a larger unit. These repeated entities can be added, removed, or changed without affecting the whole. An example of this is a solar power system, which is composed of multiple panels that are each a functional unit linked to a power grid that can consequently be scaled up or down. Similarly, light fixtures themselves are modular in that a system can be scaled up or down by adding or removing fixtures. Modular systems are designed for expansion, use at multiple scales, and independent control of units within the larger system.
With legacy lighting, which is predominantly high-pressure sodium (SON-T) and other HID fixtures, the system is only modular in that additional light fixtures can be added to the system. Once zones have been defined by their electrical installations, control is limited to the scale of the entire zone. Modularity is thus severely limited.
Dynamic lighting solutions such as Sollum Technologies’ are modular both at the level of the fixture and the system. As with legacy systems, fixtures can be added and removed from the overall system. However, Sollum Technologies’ SUN as a Service (SUNaaS) distributed platform then allows the grower to group the lamps into zones that can be easily reconfigured without any physical modifications or additional hardware. Modularity is completely preserved.
Read the complete whitepaper here.
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