People are increasingly realizing the important role that vertical farms will have to play in food production in order to improve the chances of having guaranteed food security in the future. With vertical farming, one can grow whichever crops they want independent of the weather. This, in addition to the fact that this type of farming can be carried out even in urban areas and with a more economical use of space, makes it a go-to means of production that is both affordable and friendly to the environment.
In order to effectively grow crops in a vertical farm, you need to have grow lights. Since you will be setting up your farm indoors, or in a way in which sunlight will be in low supply, these lights will give the crops the light that they need in order to be productive. Here is what you need to know about the different vertical farming lighting options that you will have to choose from.
These types of grow lights are popular especially with people who are running commercial operations. This is mainly because they are great at generating big yields and encouraging fast growth. For a grower to whom yields are a number one priority, these lights are a perfect solution.
Furthermore, if you are a beginner, using these lights is less overwhelming because they tend to come in sets. Since they have been used for growing crops for a long time, using them comes with the benefit of years of information that other growers have gathered from their experiences with these lights. This, in addition to their energy efficiency, has also contributed to their popularity among people who run vertical farms.
The main downside to these lights is the heat that they produce. When compared to other lighting solutions, they generate more heat and this makes it necessary for you to install an exhaust system. It also means that you cannot place the lights too close to the crops. And if you are working with limited space, this can prove to be a drawback that is too hard to overcome.
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Fluorescent grow lights are commonly used in lighting vertical farms because they tend to last long. When compared to incandescent bulbs, these lights are also way more energy-efficient, making them ideal for people who are looking to keep their energy bills under control. And the fact that they are relatively thin makes them ideal for vertical farming since they can easily fit in tight spaces.
However, these lights are not perfect. While their thinness allows them to fit in tight spaces, it also means that they need to be propped up with a stand. This, in addition to the need to regulate current use with a ballast, calls for extra installation costs that may cause the setup process to be capital intensive. Furthermore, they are not the best in terms of offering great yields per watt. They are not as strong as other lighting sources, and so they tend to be ineffective when it comes to encouraging flowering and other types of late-stage development processes in plants.
LED grow lights are incredibly energy efficient, can be easily controlled remotely, emit less heat, and use less power. They are perfect for use in vertical farms where space is limited because they can be placed closer to the plants — they produce low heat.
While the fact that these lights are relatively more expensive can cause some farmers to shy away from them, they tend to make up for the extra cost through their efficiency. In the long term, the savings in energy and the fact that they don’t need extra installations to reduce heat, eventually makes them a cost-friendly alternative that can also guarantee better yields.
Furthermore, LED lights are increasingly becoming cheaper. And since this trend is showing no signs of slowing down, they are soon going to be the go-to solution for vertical farming lighting.