Sollum Technologies has landed two new deals to light large greenhouses in Canada and the U.S., providing a glimmer of recovery for the horticultural lighting industry.
Montreal-based Sollum said that it will provide LED toplights covering a hectare of beefsteak tomatoes growing (about 108,000 square feet) inside a 1.5- hectare greenhouse operated by grower Les Serres Bertrand in Lanoraie, Québec. Les Serres Bertrand currently uses only natural light in the greenhouse. It plans to begin installation by mid-October in time for mid-December planting, a Sollum spokesperson told LEDs Magazine. The installation will include Sollum’s “Sun as a Service” controls allowing the grower to dynamically alter the light recipe.
Sollum declined to reveal how many luminaires it is providing and how much it is charging. The installation could lead to further LED deployments at Bertrand, the spokesperson said. Bertrand has a total of 10 hectares (over 1 million square feet) across three sites in Lanoraie and Mirabel, both in Quebec.
In a separate deal, Sollum said that Loudon, N.H.–based plant nursery Pleasant View Gardens will replace high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights with Sollum’s SF-PRO LED fittings at Pleasant View greenhouses in Loudon and Pembroke, N.H., initially over 30,000 square feet.
Pleasant View operates around 1.3 million square feet of greenhouses in total, growing a variety of crops including annuals, perennials, shrubs, and houseplants for nursery retailers and brands including Proven Winner, stocked by Home Depot. It grows at both the early “liner” stage and the later “finished” stage. The first lights will cover liner crops starting in January, Sollum told LEDs.
Between the variety of crops and the different growth phases, Pleasant View wanted to optimize its ability to vary light spectra and intensities, which Sun as a Service provides.
“In this context, the capability of Sollum's LED light fixtures to handle an unlimited number of light recipes, especially enabling different lighting recipes for liner and finished product, is instrumental to our success,” Pleasant View operations manager Mike Goyette said. “This gives us a tremendous amount of operational flexibility and helps us be prepared for any changes required by our customers.”
The horticultural lighting industry has been slumping as high energy prices discourage growers from starting new lighting installations and also paying for heat in greenhouses. High interest rates and inflation are not helping.
Sollum explained that electricity prices have been stable in Quebec, the location of its Bertrand tomato installations. Pleasant View in New Hampshire was already using HPS lighting; replacing the fixtures with LEDs should cut electricity costs.
Signify CEO Eric Rondolat in late July said he did not expect a recovery in the horticultural lighting segment this year.
Most of the news from LED horticultural lighting vendors has over the last year or so focused on research and education and on underscoring the positive results of earlier installations.
One swallow does not make a summer, nor do two for that matter. But Sollum’s pair of new contracts provides some hope that business could start to pick up again across the industry.
MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).