Approximately 10 years ago, before the crisis, LED was presented at trade fairs as the replacement for assimilation lighting (SON-T) and it was the intention that this would happen in the short term. In practice, however, this was different. LED was highly praised, but in practice the energy saving and results were disappointing. The confidence in LED was not really there yet and due to the crisis no large investments were made. After the crisis, the confidence has been building up slowly and recently more and more entrepreneurs see the advantages of LED and dare to take the step to switch fully to LED (Full LED) or to supplement the SON-T with LED lighting (Hybrid).
Advantages of LED
Through years of research and tests at several nurseries with various crops, there is increasing knowledge about LED and its possibilities. For example, more and more is known about the different light recipes for different types of cultivation, and confidence in LED is growing.
Compared to SON-T, LED provides higher efficiency in light output, has a longer lifespan and there are greater possibilities to design crop specific lighting programs. The energy and CO2 savings make it a sustainable and environmentally friendly product.
Tom Markus of Stolze mentions another advantage: "The low heat emission is, depending on the type of cultivation, also an advantage of LED. Because of the low heat emissions, you can have lighting longer and realize a higher light output with a short distance between the crop and the luminaire. That is why LED is also very suitable for, for example, low greenhouses and second cultivation layers."
Increasing confidence in LED
LED is applicable in different situations. Tom: "A choice can be made for Full LED, which we have already installed at, among others, our customers Ter Laak, Hazeu and De Vreede in the second crop layer. Chrysanthemum nursery Denim Fleur has opted for a test at one department with Full LED, where positive results have already been achieved. Ter Laak has chosen for HortiLED from Hortilux, while the other two companies opt for Philips GreenPower LED toplighting."
The potential for LED is also still with the Philips GreenPower LED Interlighting. For the high wire crops, a hybrid installation is a possibility whereby LED Interlighting is combined with SON-T. Tomato cultivation plays an important role here, but we have already realized large-scale projects in blackberries, for example.
More and more entrepreneurs have confidence in LED and switch to a combined installation with LED and SON-T. Last year, for example, Linflowers was the first chrysanthemum nursery in the Netherlands, for which Stolze has realized a hybrid installation on a large scale as well as a large scale hybrid installation at Yilmaz as the first radish grower.
"At tomato nursery Den Boschkant from Belgium, we also realized a hybrid installation last year. Because of the positive results, this year they chose to replace 50% of the SON-T by Philips Green-Power LED top lighting. They have confidence in LED and consider it a responsible investment," according to Tom.
Philips LED Horti partner
In 2011 Stolze was the first Philips LED Horti partner and, through many years of collaboration, they have great confidence in Philips. Tom: "Together we have gained a lot of knowledge and experience in the field of LED and we have been fortunate to be able to realize many LED projects for our customers in the past. In this respect, the wishes of the customer are always central. Together with Philips and our customers we design and realize a tailor-made customized solution."