Indoor fresh produce growers will suffer the full impact of the steep rise in energy costs forecasted this year but there are energy-efficient solutions available to help combat it, according to agritech firm Light Science Technologies (LST).
As more growers adopt indoor farming for a number of reasons, record energy prices are increasing the financial burden. Indeed, the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) warned that costs “are not sustainable for farmers and will be a blow to all in the industry”.
However, winning back some of the control over costs is possible by making a switch to LED grow lights, claimed LST operations director Craig Price. This issomething which can be achieved through available government funding, he explained
“Indoor growers may not be aware of it, but they are missing a crucial opportunity to become involved in projects to improve productivity and environmental impact in agriculture and horticulture while running more cost and energy efficient operations,” he said.
“Grants such as The Farming Transformation Fund Improving Farm Productivity Grant enable growers to apply for financial assistance with LED lighting which will save them even more long-term.
“LED lights are significantly less heavy on energy usage than HPS grow lights, making the energy savings considerable. Their appeal is further increased thanks to a longer life span – anywhere from 50,000-100,000 hours compared with HPS grow lights, which were only expected to last for up to 24,000 hours.
“HPS grow lights also convert only 30 per cent of the energythey use into usable light, while LED grow lights convert about 50 per cent of electricity into light.
“Research that unpacked the use of LEDs across different climates and applications found that LED grow lights can potentially save10-25 per cent of total greenhouse energy demand.'