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Economic Advantages of Choosing LED Lighting for Energy Efficient Grow Operations

By switching to LED grow lights, your indoor grow operations will produce healthier plants and profit margins.
By switching to LED grow lights, your indoor grow operations will produce healthier plants and profit margins.

Some indoor farmers choose not to make the switch to LED grow lights because of the capital expense involved. A recent economic analysis proves growers that upgrade to LED lighting quickly recoup their investment and generate more profit than those who use HPS lights.

The key to maximizing the profits from your greenhouse, indoor grow room, or hydroponic farm is to reduce energy costs as much as possible. Why? Energy expenses typically account for at least 20 to 30 percent of crop production costs. Since lighting and climate control systems usually consume the most power in indoor farms, using the most efficient systems allow you to optimize the net profits from your operations. A new economic analysis comparing the cost of using LED lights with the expenses associated with using HPS lighting systems.

Slash Your Power Bill with LED Lighting

Studies show that indoor plant growers who switch to LED lighting reduce their energy consumption by as much as 70 percent, which significantly reduces their production costs. While LED grow lights require less electricity to operate than fluorescent and HPS lights, they allow growers to save money in other ways as well.

Some of the ways transitioning to LED grow lights can shrink your power bill include:

  • LED lights generate little to no heat, which reduces the need for cooling systems. In addition, since the soil and plants are not exposed to high levels of heat, less water evaporates, thus reducing the water bill.
  • Since LED lights produce the specific light spectrum plants need, they drive photosynthesis with exceptional efficiency, which enhances growth. As a result,fewer lights are required for optimal performance.

LED Light Effects on Plant Growth

In addition to cutting energy costs, using LED lighting allows growers to improve the quality of their crops by allowing modification of the light spectrum and intensity at different stages of the growth cycle. The table below illustrates the effects of different wavelengths of light during the growth cycle.

2The Economics of LED Lighting

The results of the economic analysis comparing the costs associated with LED grow lights with the expense of using HPS lighting include the following:

  • For the same crop yield, LED lights cost 75 percent less than HPS lighting.
  • Plants can use only 30 percent of HPS light compared with 50 percent of the light generated by LED systems. In addition, 30 percent of the energy used by HPS lighting is lost as heat.
  • The typical lifespan of an LED light is as long as 19 years, whereas HPS lights need to be replaced every few years.
  • The cost of using LED lights for a 12X12 foot plot is approximately $1,500 per year. The cost of using HPS lighting is a whopping $4,829 annually.

Since the operational costs of using LED lights are a mere fraction the expense of running HPS lights, growers report they quickly recoup their investment in LED lighting systems and then realize significant bottom line improvements in their grow operations.

Can you afford not to make the switch to LED grow lights?  

Sources:

Singh, D., Basu, C., Meinhardt-Wollweber, M., and Roth, B. (2015). LEDs for energy efficient greenhouse lighting. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 49:139-147.

 

Laimer, J.G. (2009). Dealing with the high cost of energy for greenhouse operations. Virginia Cooperative Extension.

N.A.(n.d.) Plant Growth as a Function of LED Lights. Bates College.

Correction: originally, the post said The cost of using LED lights for a 12X12 foot plot is merely $15.00 per year. It is actually around $1,500 a year. Still much cheaper than HPS!

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