At least one vendor continues to defy the downturn in the horticultural lighting business, as Canada’s Sollum Technologies is providing variable spectrum LED lighting to Jarvis, Ontario–based propagator Proplant Propagation in a small deal that could lead to more.
Proplant grows early stage cucumber, tomato, pepper, and eggplant. It is trialing Sollum’s SF-PRO toplights over roughly an acre in a greenhouse in Jarvis, mixing the LED fittings with conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights in part of the installation, and going with only LED only in another part.
The grower is controlling the LEDs with a Sollum system that can alter spectral content depending on the crop and conditions.
“A successful trial will see the owners of Proplant determine how large the permanent installation will be,” a spokesperson for Montreal-based Sollum told LEDs Magazine.
This is not the first time that Proplant has tapped LEDs, as the Sollum SF-PRO toplights replace existing LEDs in the greenhouses. They also replace some of the existing HPS lights, creating a checkerboard of LED/HPS lighting, as well as an LED-only section. The trial area has about 100 lights installed.
Neither company would elaborate on the reasons for swapping out LEDs or name the provider of the earlier LEDs. But in announcing the installation, they both emphasized that Sollum technology can dynamically deliver and change light recipes, both in spectral content and intensity.
"What I like about Sollum's dynamic LED solution is that we can tweak the spectral output so that it's exactly what our plants need to thrive,” Proplant owner Paul Berkel said.
Proplant dials up the light recipes via controls that Sollum provides on a service basis, called SUN as a Service (SUNaaS).
"We are excited that more and more growers are investing in dynamic LED lighting solutions,” said Nick Occhionero, Sollum’s senior sales director, Canada, noting the “important role that light spectrum plays in plant morphology.”
Sollum has been landing deals in recent months, during a time in which other LED lighting vendors have struggled to sell into horticultural settings as growers balk at upfront costs on artificial illumination that will subsequently incur significant energy costs. One vendor, Fagerhult, recently took the drastic step of pausing its horticultural business.
Sollum declined to say how much Proplant paid for the SF-PROs and the service.
MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).