A good year for CEA

Approaching the end of a very shaky 2020 from a general business perspective, we went looking for horticultural market data that might show that sector to have overperformed relative to business in general and that might portend positive opportunity for players in horticultural lighting and AgTech. S2G Ventures has published one such report that projects leafy greens grown in vertical farms, which are dependent on LED lighting, will soon be a $1B (billion) market in the US.

The 2020 Global CEA Census Report from Autogrow and Agritecture Consulting reported that 20% of respondents of its survey founded their controlled environment agriculture (CEA)-focused companies during the pandemic year of 2020, and 95% have an excellent or good outlook on their business for the next year. In the cannabis sector, legal sales in Oregon have surpassed $1B for the first time in 2020.

The clear message is that there is significant opportunity in the horticulture space, and particularly for manufacturers in the solid-state lighting (SSL) and broader AgTech sectors. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy, because new vendors have flooded into the space in part driven by what we called the greenrush at the start of 2020. Many were motivated by legalized cannabis, although vegetables will remain a larger market long term. For either, manufacturers will need solid science and high-quality products on their side to succeed.  

Let’s review some details of the market projects we led with. S2G Ventures is a multi-stage, venture-investment fund focused on food and agriculture and what the firm has described as a “healthy and humane planet.” For example, the fund is invested in AppHarvest, a Kentucky tomato greenhouse operation we have written about.

Read more at LEDs Magazine (Maury Wright)

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