Although most people are putting 2020 behind them, many agricultural companies have managed to find a silver lining in this challenging year. Sollum is one such company whose perseveration has led to an exceptional 2020, and a promising 2021.
Sollum™ is a Montréal-based company that manufactures smart LED lighting solutions for greenhouse applications. Sollum advertises their lighting solution as the most dynamic system on the market, as it analyzes ambient light conditions then provides complementary lighting to mimic natural sunlight conditions – and the grower gets to choose which geographic region to use as a base model. "This is especially interesting for winter greenhouse production, which has historically been plagued by lower sunlight levels."
Louis Brun, president and CEO of Sollum, spoke with HortiDaily about the company’s recent successes and its projections for the coming years.
“In 2018 and 2019, Sollum implemented multiple pilot projects which all went well. So 2020 was about applying our lighting solution on a large scale.” The company did exactly that, as Sollum installed its smart LED lighting solution over two hectares of greenhouse area, namely at Allegro Acres (1.5 ha) and Productions Horticoles Demers (0.5 ha).
Such installations were made possible, in part, by the $12 million secured from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Technoclimat and various private investors. This financial support facilitated the adoption of Sollum’s smart LED lighting solution by early adopters. According to Louis, the adoption of Sollum’s technology is also supported by the research partnerships with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Québec’s ministry of agriculture (MAPAQ). Growers can benefit from the research results, which will be open access.
Another highlight of 2020 was being granted the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label, a designation meant to highlight technological solutions that are economically, environmentally and socially beneficial. The label, which has been granted to only 1000 solutions worldwide, is further proof of the company’s commitment to sustainable development.
“Sollum is bringing industrial IoT to the agtech world. Our smart LED lighting solution is opening a new world of possibilities for greenhouse growers. The system is future-proof, with the ability to evolve over time according to crops, new research and environmental conditions,” says Louis.
“The greenhouse lighting industry is still in its infancy. We’re expecting lots of innovation in the coming years, so we want to be a key player. We want to help accelerate the innovations that address food security. At the end of the day, that’s what it is about.”
Looking ahead to 2021, Sollum plans to continue implementing its lighting solution for the commercial production of peppers and further customize its solution for different greenhouse crops. “We initially targeted pepper production because it is more complex than tomatoes or cucumbers, for example, and there were few solutions to address this. Being able to produce peppers during the winter really piques the imagination.” When it comes to tomatoes and cucumbers, Sollum is hoping to work with growers who want to improve fruit quality and taste by perfecting greenhouse light conditions.
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