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By Tim Haworth, Head of Technical Horticulture
Soaring energy prices mean that farmers and growers are currently facing severe pressure on costs.
As has been well reported in the media, UK gas prices have more than quadrupled during the last year – climbing by 70% in September 2021 alone.
Whilst the UK government hopes that energy prices will eventually settle and stabilise, the reality is that this may not happen for several months.
If you’re a grower who’s concerned about the ongoing surge in energy prices, switching to LED lighting is a simple step you can take to mitigate against rising costs in the meantime.
In our experience, there’s never been a better time to consider using LED light bulbs.
In terms of energy usage, they typically require around 50 per cent less input to achieve a better output – compared to traditional fluorescent or high-voltage sodium lamps.
Yes, the capital expenditure will impact on your balance sheet in the short term.
But the long-term savings you’ll make mean it’s an investment that will eventually make senses for your harvest and the bottom line.
Let there be light: This video shows the 8,000sqm Signify LED lighting system we installed at Flavourfresh Salads Ltd so they can produce tomatoes during winter.
Compared to five or ten years ago, the capital expenditure required to install LEDs is now much more acceptable for commercial growers.
Projects valued at £100,000 or more usually deliver the best return on investment because better economies of scale are achievable in a larger grow environment.
However, we can optimise any lighting set-up to help protect growers against rising energy costs.
Rather than adopt a one-size fits all approach, we conduct an on-site audit – which takes crop type, potential yield and capital expenditure into consideration.
Once we understand your grow cycle, we can tailor an LED lighting solution to your exact needs – calculating the exact optimum distance between each bulb. This will ensure dark spots do not occur near the edge of a growing environment and crops will not suffer from a drop off in quality.
To improve yield at the best possible op-ex price, light and motion sensors can be installed that will switch off LEDs.
We can also provide advice about how automatically regulate the LED’s colour and spectra depending on the different crop demands in the growth and bloom stages.
If you’re a grower who would like to discuss any aspect of horticultural LED lighting, please call 01430 449440 for an informal discussion.