I recently gave the opening presentation at our second US Horticultural Lighting Conference, held in Denver the week of October 17, and I have to say that I am really excited about this market, and from what I saw at the show, I am not the only one.
Strategies Unlimited has been tracking the packaged LED market for more than 15 years, and I’ve been following the general illumination market for almost a decade. I can honestly say that the research I am currently doing reminds me of 2010-2011, when LEDs just started making headway into the general illumination market. There was great potential in this new technology to change the market, but there were still several hurdles – cost, light quality, low quality products and a lot of misinformation, to name a few – but the excitement of where the market could go was palpable.
To me, the excitement for this market is not only driven by how large this particular lighting market can get, but also by the potential disruption LEDs can have on these markets.
In this series of blogs, I’m going to focus on the current market for greenhouse food products, then go over other subjects like LED disruption, cannabis and vertical farms.
From our research into the global footprint of greenhouses in the world for our latest release of our Horticultural Lighting Market Report we see that in 2016 the US, Canada and Netherlands alone, there are almost 900 million ft² of greenhouses, with approximately 27% (235 million ft²) of that area using supplemental lighting.
From this data, we can make some basic estimates on the installed base of luminaires to show the potential for this market. I have taken into account the following criteria and made the following assumptions from these calculations:
· The kind of produce most likely being grown are tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. These products require a Daily Light Integral between 20 and 35 mols/m²/day , which helps us determine how much supplemental light is needed for these plants to grow properly. Additionally, these plants like usually require a 6-8 hours of darkness a day.
· Average DLI in greenhouses – Estimating how much light actually reaches the plants by looking at reflectance of greenhouses, internal shading, and location of greenhouse (latitude, cloud cover etc.), which all affect DLI.
· The most likely lighting technology being used – 1000W Double ended High Pressure Sodium is the most likely technology being installed today in commercial applications in these regions.
Of course this is a very basic model, but if we take all of these factors into account, and make an assumption of one luminaire installed every 40sq.ft. 3 feet from the canopy of the plant, with a goal of 10 mols/m²/day at 10 hours of usage, it would mean that over 22 million DE HPS luminaires would be needed to adequately illuminate this canopy area.
There are many other factors that are taken into account when truly understanding the size of the market and how it will evolve, such as luminaire and lamp replacement rates, LED penetration rates based on technological advancements and price declines, geopolitical situations, and increased plant photobiology awareness – but like I said (If the title wasn’t enough of a giveaway), I want to get everyone to be as excited about the overall potential of the market as I am!
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