When setting up a greenhouse, vertical farm or growth chamber, lighting turns out to be of one of greatest expenses. Traditionally, high pressure sodium (HPS), metal halide (MH) and fluorescent lamps have been the go to choice until LED grow lights appeared in the market. LED brings significant energy savings as it lasts years longer and consumes 50-70% less electricity. Futhermore, it makes it possible to have optimized light spectra for different growth stages or species of plants and thus result in greater yields.
Traditional lighting and HVAC account up to 95% of total energy consumption in professional plant cultivation. HPS lighting cannot be placed closed to the canopy and thus requires vast amounts of vertical space and makes multi-tiered farming impossible. LED on the other hand produces minimal heat, can be placed right above the plant and produces greater yields in quicker cycles.
While most growers acknowledge the advantages of LED, they are hesitant to transition due to the high upfront cost of investment into LED and changes in the growing approach required to improve yield. Even though the investment is sure to pay off over time, making the initial payment is off limits for most growers. The Finnish manufacturer of high-end LED grow lights, Valoya is set to revolutionize the market by introducing the Lighting as a Service concept – LaaS.
What growers get with Valoya’s LaaS program is:
- LED grow lights
- Free of charge maintenance and replacement of faulty products
- Free of charge upgrades to the lighting technology
- A comprehensive light plan that specifies positioning of the lights, their density and distance from the canopy at different growth stages.
- Support from Valoya’s team of horticultural lighting and photobiology specialists both on- and off-site
All of this comes at zero capital expenditure by the grower for the duration of 5 years. There are no upfront costs for this turnkey solution. All lights are installed and maintained for you while you are billed monthly with a ‘Saved Energy’ utility payment, based on the kWhrs you saved by going from a traditional lighting method to LED. This model was commonly used to finance building retrofits and is now available for lighting as well. The Lighting as a Service (LaaS) program is at the moment available only in the US and Canada.
These savings are further increased by faster harvest cycles and increased grow space under LED. The light spectra that Valoya has developed are a result of more than 400 trials done in collaboration with some of the largest growers and most known research institutes in the world and are proven to grow above industry average plants in terms of quality. So far, 8 out of 10 world’s largest agricultural companies have been using Valoya lights.
With LED lamps producing little heat growers can place them right above the canopy making it possible to grow in multiple tiers. This gives an opportunity to growers using HPS to double or triple their yields in the same space while significantly saving on energy.
The LaaS program is rolled out in the US and Canada from March 2017 onwards. Contact Valoya’s Business Development Director for North America, Ms.Erin Sharp now for a free initial energy savings calculation ([email protected]).