The CEA sector, like every other UK industry, was bracing itself for the steep rise in energy costs which were due to come into effect from 1 October. Now that costs will be cut by around half their expected level this winter under a six-month scheme set out by the government further states the case for indoor farming using LED grow lighting, says LST.
The major support package to tackle unsustainable energy prices will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for businesses in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, providing "certainty and peace of mind." This provides a significant opportunity for indoor farmers to seize by adopting a more proactive approach with their lighting choice and making a switch to LED grow lights.
Why switch to LED grow lights?
As more growers reap the advantages of indoor farming from both an economic and environmental stance, they now have the assurance of assistance with energy costs that previously threatened to impact their business's bottom line. Making the switch now to LED grow lights will not only ensure they are gaining the full benefit of this financial support by being more cost and energy efficient but will also improve productivity.
LED vs. HPS grow lights
LED lights are significantly less heavy on energy usage than HPS grow lights, making the energy savings considerable. Their appeal is further increased thanks to a longer life span – anywhere from 50,000-100,000 hours compared with HPS grow lights, which were only expected to last for up to 24 000 hours.
HPS grow lights also convert only 30% of the energy they use into usable light, while LED grow lights convert about 50% of electricity into 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. They 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.
In terms of 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 standard 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.
Long-term cost efficiency
Although the initial setup can be more expensive, this cost cannot be bypassed if growers are focused on a solution that delivers the right results. That said, LED grow lights do consume less power, deliver a better return on investment and cost less to maintain than HPS grow lights. The costs can be measurably managed and reduced over the long term, making it a cost-effective option.
However, for indoor farmers to ensure that they get the most out of the spend, more longevity, and better crop results, LED grow lights must be installed intelligently and applied correctly within the growing environment. However, a poor understanding and application of any lighting solution can lead to anticipated savings being eroded.
The right LED grow light partner
Working with an experienced LED grow light partner means it understands every variable and can help indoor growers to design a sustainable solution that fits their unique growing parameters to help them achieve the best possible results while reducing both CAPEX and OPEX costs.