Artificial light has been an integral part of horticulture for over 30 years and growers are accustomed to High Pressure Sodium (HPS), fluorescent tubes, metal halide and incandescent lights. Industrial LED solutions for horticulture have only recently become available, but now the whole artificial light market for horticulture is on the verge of a massive technology disruption, as LEDs are replacing the old technologies.
LED technology in general offers several benefits to horticulture. LEDs offer a more options in designing the light spectrum compared to traditional High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights or fluorescent technologies. However, the spectral richness of generic, off-the-shelf, LEDs is limited to colors, typically in highest demand by white light industry or LEDs in general industrial use. Thus the tool-set to drive and control plants with generic LEDs is very limited.
LED luminaires do not radiate heat in the direction of light as the generated heat is transferred away from the LED diode to ensure high output and long use life. This means that luminaires can be brought very close to plants, thus enabling e.g. dense multilayer installations. Valoya’s wide spectrum technology provides growers a light that saves energy, increases production and improves the quality of plants e.g. more flowers and better taste. Valoya lights even enable pollinating bees to operate without sunlight.
The key technological innovation of Valoya was to create and use a wide light spectrum for optimal plant growth. Based on research, this could not be achieved with generic LEDs, so new special light sources had to be developed. This was achieved by Valoya’s proprietary wide spectrum LED, which provides a very good continuous light composition of all visible colors and beyond. This LED is developed and manufactured by Valoya, and for Valoya only.
The Valoya fixtures are robust and designed to ensure a long lifespan in tough horticultural applications. The high power LED luminaires are passively cooled with high humidity protection while maintaining a small size. The fixtures offer a minimal shadow footprint with minimal maintenance needs.
Insufficient cooling leads to lowered light output levels from the start and ultimately premature deterioration of LED diodes. LEDs from several manufacturers are actively cooled with fans or with water and some lack cooling completely (LED fixtures without fans or aluminum heat sinks should be treated with caution). Active cooling is not suitable for horticultural purposes, due to high maintenance. Fans have proven to be unsecure in a greenhouse environment as moisture and dirt gets into the electrical parts (fans) of the product causing hazards. Insufficient cooling or malfunction of active cooling components may result in melting of plastic parts. This could lead to discharge of harmful gases with devastating results on the crops.