Today’s market is a competitive one for cultivators. Top-quality crops are demanded on a tighter timeline than ever and sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate, even for greenhouse growers. Depending on where you’re located and the needs of your crop, supplemental lighting could greatly increase your quality and yields, all while ensuring you remain on schedule and, most importantly, profitable. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why supplemental lighting can be the right choice for greenhouse growers as well as why the MegaDrive® Linear 400 represents the top-of-the-line solution for this type of need.
Supplemental lighting in greenhouses is the addition of artificial lights in the top of the canopy to assist the sun with the growing process. This is particularly important during times when solar radiation is low, ie: cloudy days and overall during the winter. When this occurs, supplemental lighting can be used to ensure your crop gets all the light it needs.
Cost of Greenhouse Supplemental Lighting
While costs can vary greatly depending on just how much supplemental lighting is required, the size of your greenhouse, and the type of lighting used, it is generally agreed that when done properly, supplemental lighting is worth the investment. In regards to the type of lighting used, this is where LEDs truly shine. LEDs use less than 50% of the power of bulb based lighting, making supplemental lighting financially feasible from an electricity-consumption point of view. For even further energy savings, you should check out adaptive LED systems that measure the amount of incoming light and adjust their output accordingly. All of this is to say that with costs properly minimized, supplemental lighting has a remarkably good return on investment.
Daily Light Integral
With supplemental lighting requirements, everything is calculated using the Daily Light Integral (DLI). The DLI refers to the cumulative amount of photosynthetically active radiation received by a plant in your greenhouse each day. The target DLI will be different for each crop and the DLI received without the aid of supplemental lighting will vary greatly depending on the location of your greenhouse. For example, growers in Upstate NY will have much bigger swings in DLI depending on the season than growers in San Diego, CA. So, before you do anything, figure out your target DLI and how much artificial light you’ll need at different times of the year to reach it. Once you can consistently maintain your target DLI, you’ll see your yields and crop quality begin to increase, which in turn will lead to more profit.
Pulling the Trigger
There are many different options out there for supplemental lighting in greenhouses. Given the rising costs of electricity and the massive amounts of it consumed by traditional, non-LED lighting fixtures, LEDs are really the only viable option if you want to increase your profits instead of eating into them.
MegaDrive® Linear 400
Here at California Lightworks, we designed the MegaDrive® Linear 400 to be the ultimate greenhouse supplemental lighting solution. With 30% lower fixture costs and 80% lower installation costs than the competition, overall startup costs are strikingly low compared to systems with similar capabilities. This is all possible due to our patented MegaDrive® technology that separates the fixtures from the drivers. By using our MegaDrive® Power Unit (MDP) you can power up to 27 driverless fixtures from a single power drop, eliminating both the power drops over the canopy and the most common point of failure in traditional LED systems.
MegaDrive® also allows for independent two-channel spectrum adjustment. Red and white can be controlled independently for a total power output of 400 watts and 1,100 PPF. It’s fully customizable for different crops and different stages of development. Automatic light balancing also makes sure you use only the power you need. All of this leads to maximum-paced growth, which in turn leads to higher crop quality, shorter harvest timelines, and more profits.
Supplemental lighting is a great way to increase your yields and profits. However, it must be done properly if you want to realize these gains. LEDs are really the only way to go in terms of making this financially feasible. Traditional grow lights use too much power for them to be cost-effective. Then it’s a matter of figuring out how much light you’ll need and when you’ll need it along with a plan for how to deliver it. Once you’ve determined those, it’s time to find the right fixture. The MegaDrive® Linear 400 from California Lightworks is the perfect lighting solution for those looking for ultimate control, ease of use, flexibility, and significantly lower installation costs as compared to the competition. For more information on the MegaDrive® Linear 400 click here or feel free to reach out here and one of our lighting experts will get back to you as soon as possible.