Grow light systems deliver so much added value that two-thirds of growers expect to be able to recoup their investment within the desired time. That was the result of a Hortilux survey of 130 growers, the main conclusions of which have been compiled in a knowledge document.
The Hortilux survey of 130 growers of pot plants, cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, and medicinal cannabis, as well as breeders and propagators, shows that growers are positive about the payback period of their grow light systems. Two-thirds of the growers expect to recoup their investment within the desired time, one-fifth is uncertain about this, and one in ten do not think that the expected payback time is feasible (see graph).
Multiple factors involved
According to the growers surveyed, there are various factors involved in recouping the cost of a grow light system: the investment, the cost of the fixtures, the technical reliability, and the maintenance costs. The energy price and energy consumption are also important, as well as the additional yield and quality gains that a grow light system delivers. A number of respondents also mentioned the higher prices that can be realised with grow light use as a determining factor.
More insight into returns
A short payback period is of crucial importance, as developments in grow light are currently moving so quickly. Growers expect to gain more insight into the returns offered by a grow light system by monitoring and collecting data carefully, doing tests and calculations, exchanging experiences with fellow growers, and reading professional literature.
The use of PAR meters also provides growers with extra knowledge. “We hope that this will give us more insight into the performance of our grow light installation. These sensors enable us to measure the precise light output of the installation and determine whether there are 'dead spots of light' in the cultivation environment," the manager of a strawberry and leafy vegetable business says.
"A data platform giving real-time insight into the relationship between light and production, and insight into the places where there are inefficiencies and delays in plant growth, could also play a role here.”
Calculate the financial returns periodically
In practice, Hortilux account manager Kurt Zwemstra often sees that grow light business cases are not up to date. In many cases a one-off business case is drawn up with a payback period of five to ten years. After that the business case and the associated operational costs are rarely or never held up to the proverbial light.
"In the ideal situation, your grow light installation and the associated business case will change as a business develops," Zwemstra explains. “Is the grow light system still aligned with current energy prices? Do clients have new requirements or can a grower see new opportunities in the market? Do they have a new cultivation strategy? Perhaps there are new grow light techniques that could improve the business case? All these types of questions are relevant to growers."
Hortilux sees it as a responsibility to proactively inform growers about the possibilities for their business, using a specially-developed calculation model. "The model takes a large number of data elements into account, including factors like spectrum, production, and energy prices. This model also enables users to calculate several scenarios simultaneously based on their specific situation and requirements."
Request the knowledge document
You can request the knowledge document on the Hortilux website. After downloading the knowledge document, you will receive a knowledge article on an aspect of grow light use once every few weeks. These articles take a closer look at the issues raised in the knowledge document and/or offer concrete ideas for optimal use of your grow light installation.