A Wave of Growth

The worldwide market for LED agricultural grow lighting surpassed $400 million last year. By the year 2021, analysts at Custom Market Insights have forecast that this will grow to $1.8 billion in total sales. This accelerating growth is due to the combination of performance and efficiency offered by the next generation LED grow lighting systems that have recently entered the marketplace. Commercial growers are always looking for ways to reduce operating expenses, and electricity costs are a significant portion of their overhead. So, we are truly at the beginning of a wave in which established commercial growers with large-scale indoor horticultural operations will be replacing their old lights with new LED grow lights in large numbers.

At this point in the development of LED lighting technology, it has now been perfected for plant growth, delivering the most optimal light spectrum to drive photosynthesis throughout the plant’s life cycle. LED grow lights offer a uniform light pattern with homogenous light distribution at precisely the right wavelengths and color ratios needed for superior photosynthetic response. LED lighting systems can be setup to only emit parts of the visible light spectrum which are most useful to plants. Green plants essentially discard a large portion of the Sun’s total light energy, preferring for evolutionary reasons to use only red spectrum and blue spectrum light to drive their biological processes. The other colors in the visible light spectrum are not significantly utilized by green plants. Thus, it is not necessary to generate these other color ranges at all in an indoor agricultural setting.

The LEDs are far more energy efficient than the conventional high pressure sodium grow lighting that, for the moment, remains the predominant indoor agricultural grow lighting technology, and saves significantly on electricity costs. Not only do they lower the electricity bill, but LED lighting systems produce less heat. Less heat allows the lighting to be physically placed closer to the plants without causing them damage. This further increases efficiency as it allows less overall light to be utilized more effectively by being better targeted at the plant’s leaf surfaces with less lost light.

LED lighting brings the same great advantages to agriculture that it has brought to every other industry segment that it touches. Commercial growers are finding that they can achieve a rapid return on investment from substantially decreasing the energy costs of their operations by deploying new LED based agricultural grow lighting systems. The technology in the marketplace has now matured to the point where LED grow lighting is no longer a product with great future potential, it is very much the product with the greatest advantages right now.