Nectar Farms, an Australian agri-business, has selected LumiGrow as their lighting partner for its first 40 hectares of greenhouse developments, representing the largest greenhouse installation in the southern hemisphere. LumiGrow will be the exclusive provider of LED lighting systems comprised of both LED hardware and software for the facility growing vine crops and other vegetables in Victoria, Australia.
The agri-business aims to transform the Australian farming model by using smart lighting techniques and other advanced technologies. “When considering an effective lighting solution there are a number of variables,” says Stephen Sasse, Managing Director and CEO of Nectar Farms. “Having completed a structured technology and vendor selection process we have chosen to partner with LumiGrow. We believe that their systems and technology are leading-edge.”
Nectar Farms’ lighting strategy promises to go well beyond traditional techniques. The greenhouses will be equipped with adjustable LEDs, controlled through the LumiGrow smartPAR cloud-based software. The spectrum, intensity, and photoperiod of the LEDs will be managed dynamically along with plant growth stages, to elicit beneficial plant characteristics and respond to plant stress. Additionally, the smartPAR software will be integrated with LumiGrow smartPAR Light Sensor Modules, to maximize utilization of the sun’s energy and reduce energy costs.
“After encountering soaring prices for grid-based electricity and gas, electrical efficiency became particularly important for us,” says Stephen. To bolster the glasshouses’ sustainability and to save on electrical costs, Nectar Farms has partnered with French renewable energy company Neoen in the Bulgana Green Power Hub. The partnership comprises a 196MW wind farm and a 20MW/34MWh battery storage facility to ensure uninterrupted supply, which will make Nectar Farms one of the largest sustainably-operated greenhouses in the world.
Smart horticultural lighting will be an integral component of Nectar Farms’ smart farming initiative, beyond simply energy savings from the LEDs. Their high-tech and sustainable model will use light’s characteristics to maximize exportable produce and reduce inefficiencies of supply and pricing to meet growing global demand. Nectar Farms and LumiGrow will be working in close partnership with Costa Group who will provide an off-take marketing alliance for the sales, marketing, and distribution of the produce.
“We know that LED light can profoundly improve our crop production and be used to increase efficiency,” says Stephen. “With smart horticultural LEDs, we also have a tool to direct our crops’ growth and meet our quality and production goals. The partnership with LumiGrow is working effectively already, and we particularly value the support from their in-house research department.”
LumiGrow, a smart horticultural lighting company, will work with Nectar Farms as their lighting partner, a level of designation traditionally reserved for development, design, construction, and distribution entities.
“The future of horticultural lighting is here, and it’s through smart lighting technology deployed by our qualified spectral scientists that growers are going to see exceptional value,” says Shami Patel, CEO of LumiGrow. “As our company drives the industry’s understanding of how plants interact with light, we continue to apply the latest research to our lighting solution. With the release of our newest sensor technology, Nectar Farms will be able to gather and respond to solar data for a largely automated lighting solution. We feel inspired to be working with Nectar Farms. Finding partners who value the impact that technology can make on crop production is key. It’s truly smart farming meets smart lighting, and we’re thrilled to see LED lighting come this far.”
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