When Louis Brun visited Sollum Technologies’ Montreal office in 2016, he knew he had found his next big project. The serial entrepreneur is now partner and CEO for a company that he believes is poised to revolutionize commercial lighting for indoor gardening – with other potential applications to follow.
Brun officially joined Sollum in the summer of 2016, at a time when their intent for the technology was still in its formative stages. “I could see that the technology had great potential. But at some point a startup has to focus on a vertical where their innovation can bring the most value to the biggest pain point.”
They decided on the agriculture industry, he adds. “Sustainable food production is an issue around the world, and producing food locally has been a big challenge. We knew we could bring something very new and very disruptive compared to what was in those markets.”
Sollum technology is different from more conventional LED technology in terms of how it can be programmed to replicate sunlight to a 99 per cent accuracy level based on different times of the day and regions of the world. Through a lighting-as-a-service model, growers can access a full library of sun “recipes” and reprogram their lighting at any time. Multiple variations can be programmed for a single building, allowing growers to tailor their lighting to the individual growth stages or needs of specific crops.
“We haven’t seen a lighting solution with that level of programmability and level of light spectrum quality,” Brun says. “You could produce Vancouver, California or Mexico sunlight from sunrise to noon to sunset using the same fixture. Imagine having 1,000 lights, and being able to say that only these 200 need to produce Tuscany sunlight.”