Horticulture lighting is a new explosive potential for LEDs to penetrate. HID metal halide and high pressure sodium lights are the main light source for horticulture lighting as well as fluorescent. However, like in the general lighting space, the benefits of LED lighting caused many companies to look at this technology as the new way forward. LEDs are much cooler than HID and therefore companies can save on cooling costs. Also, because of their low heat, you can place the light much closer to the plants allowing growers to stack more products in vertical farms. Having the ability to control the LEDs, either by being able to dynamically tune the lights, have them on set schedules, or collecting data through the lights on growth progress and environmental conditions is another added benefit.
Cost is the biggest inhibiting factor but also the light quality and quantity. In horticulture lighting, different metrics are used and what’s more important is the actual photons emitted from the light and reaching the plant. A lot of research is being done on the quantity and quality of LED light as well as how tuning the spectrum of the LEDs can optimize growth for certain species of plant.
PennWell’s first report on this market, Horticulture Lighting: Market Analysis and Forecast 2016, will show the amount of greenhouse square feet and indoor vertical farm cubic feet lit by traditional light sources vs. LED. These will be split by the main verticals of fruits & vegetables, ornamental plants, and cannabis with a 5-year forecast. A cost comparison will be provided showing the $/ft2 and $/ft3 of LED vs. traditional light sources.