LED Lighting in Greenhouse Farming

By WPG AmericasOctober 29, 2018

The global greenhouse horticulture market is likely to witness a CAGR of more than 11% by 2022. Technavio report, 2018

Greenhouse Horticulture, a Global Leader

Greenhouses are currently the most popular and widely practiced method of alternative cultivation in the world. Particularly in the developed world, where consumers are increasingly demanding seasonal, locally-grown food year round, greenhouse farming has become a major way to meet the rising demand. This type of farming is also allowing growers to produce fruits and vegetables of higher quality and better yield for a wide variety of crops, even in climates that do not support their growth.

Consequently, the US greenhouse produce industry has been experiencing steady growth over the past decade. This growth is driving sales up to more than $3 billion and is expected to exceed $4 billion by 2020, according to Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group.

The Influence of Light

There are two major types of greenhouses: soil-based and hydroponic. Both types of greenhouses are designed to trap solar light and humidity, creating perfect conditions for growing various types of plants.

Efficient lighting is one of the key factors that must be in place to increase the yield and quality of crops grown in a greenhouse environment. Ideal greenhouse lighting provides the essential color spectrum for optimizing the growth cycle, emits less heat, and consumes and wastes less energy, resulting in overall increase in profitability.

Since traditional greenhouse growers heavily rely on sunlight, they miss out on the opportunity for better production and higher quality yield by using artificial lighting, like LED-based grow lights. Innovations in LED greenhouse lighting have uncovered the “sweet spot” for plant growth; specifically, how to optimize photosynthesis and improve upon physiological functions of plants of various species to yield better crops.

LEDs are Driving Growth

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), energy costs are the third largest expense for most greenhouse growers, and lighting costs make up a significant part of it.

LED horticulture lighting systems are currently the most energy-efficient lighting solution on the market. Not only do they save on energy consumption, they reduce a host of other costs as well. Greenhouse LEDs produce less radiant heat, which allows growers to use less water because there is less evaporation. And, where keeping a greenhouse environment cool is a challenge, as is the case in many parts of the US, LED grow lights can create significant energy and cost savings because they reduce the need for additional cooling.

Technavio's market research analysts have pointed out that the usage of LEDs is a key driver of greenhouse horticulture market’s growth. This is despite the fact that there are still a large number of growers who do not use supplemental lighting in their facilities.

Clearly, the power of LED lighting is yet to be fully harnessed by greenhouse growers. Considering the benefits of farming in controlled environments, coupled with the impact that LED grow lights can have on the production and profitability of such facilities, LED-powered greenhouses pose promising opportunities for farmers.    

Download “Farming in the New Light”, our new horticulture lighting eBook, to know more about market trends, lighting design considerations and the leading horticulture lighting products for your greenhouse project.