If you are thinking about starting a vertical farm, there is no better time to start it than now. Advances in technology have led to the development of grow lights that give more yield. They have also made fixtures that are needed to start a successful farm more affordable. This has reduced the barriers to entry, and as a result, it is possible for almost anyone to start their own farm without having to break bank.
Your Crop of Choice
The type of crops that you choose should play the most significant role in determining which types of light you choose. This is because different crops need different levels of intensity , coverage and spectrums. As a result, going for a lighting solution that does not feature the spectrum that is most ideal for your plants will only lead to poor yields. Therefore, before you even start buying lighting fixtures, you need to first decide which crops you intend to grow.
It is important to note that your lighting needs may also vary depending on what you want to achieve with your crops. Even in cases where you are growing the same crop, you may need to use one lighting solution if your goal is flowering, and a different one if you are not interested in optimizing for flowering. You may also need to use different types of light frequencies if you want to change the color of the crop in question.
If you have not yet settled on a given crop, or if you intend to grow multiple crops, then you should probably go for LED grow lights. Most leading companies in the grow lights space, like led ibond, take advantage of the latest technologies to ensure that they provide high quality LED lights with highly customizable features. As a result, with such lights, you can be able to change the spectrum or intensity of the lights depending on your needs without having to buy extra lights..
The Space at Your Disposal
The size of the space that you have should also play a role in determining the most effective lighting system to use. If you plan on running a small operation, you can get away with using lighting systems that emit a lot of heat because controlling for heat at a smaller scale is easier. Therefore, you can use cheaper lighting options like fluorescent bulbs. In such cases, lighting solutions like HID lighting may not be ideal because these lights usually need extra fixtures in order to provide productive lighting. If your space is too small, HID lighting may thus not be the ideal solution.
However, if you are planning on growing crops on a large scale, HID lights may make the most sense. They are usually extremely bright and they also have a proven track record of delivering higher yields. Their downside is that they are generally expensive to purchase. They also tend to generate a lot of heat. Investing in extra fixtures to control for their downsides may prove to be too expensive and space-consuming for some, but if you have the money and the space, they are a viable solution.
Amount of Money at Your Disposal
HID lights are generally bright. Since they emit a lot of heat, they also call for a grower to heavily invest in heat control and aeration. Therefore, while these lights may provide higher yields, you may not be able to use them on your vertical farm if you have limited access to capital.
If you are planning on having just a few plants on your farm and you have a limited budget, fluorescent lighting will be attractive for you. They are relatively inexpensive, and even though they produce a significant amount of heat, managing this on a small scale may be easier for you.
However, cost considerations do not stop at just the initial amount of money required to purchase the lighting system. You also have to consider the cost of installing extra features, and more importantly, the energy consumption of the lights. Highly inefficient solutions like HID lights and fluorescent lights can lead to extremely high energy costs. Therefore, if the increase in energy costs that using these lighting options cause is enough to affect the financial viability of your operation, then going for highly energy efficient lighting solutions like LED lighting is always recommended.