Now, thanks to the advent of high output, low power, more affordable LED modules configured to specific wavelengths are beginning to revolutionise the horticulture sector.
LEDs consume less power, are easier to control and last longer. They also generate less heat which means they are cheaper for cooling purposes, and therefore less water is needed. Thanks to the LEDs being cooler, they can be located closer to plants, therefore boosting yields and germination speeds. Additionally, thanks to the lights being closer to plants, space is saved, allowing for multitier production.
Robin Parker, of Cheshire based, bespoke greenhouse designers, Gabriel Ash, believes the use of LEDs could be a quantum leap for greenhouse cultivation:
“Whilst these LEDs are not quite ready for general consumption on the marketplace, it is an extremely exciting development from our point of view. Our greenhouses are the best available, and if this LED technology can enhance our greenhouses, then it is something we will look seriously at investing in when the time comes.”
Field trials of these LED lights have proved to be immensely successful in both large scale commercial greenhouses, and smaller research establishments. They have demonstrated considerable improvements in plant growth when compared with conventional lighting. Measurable results include faster and more reliable seed germination, shorter plant cycles, earlier and more abundant flowering and faster root growth, leading to higher yields and improved quality.
“Whether you are a small, home based producer of vegetables, or a large multinational producer, higher crop yields and increased production is an extremely attractive proposition.”
LED lighting has the potential to make greenhouse and hydroponic cultivation more attractive commercially, will reduce costs and increase crop yields. The future of greenhouse lighting is looking exceptionally bright indeed.