Signify will help Topline Gerbera transition to full LED lighting this autumn. By doing so the company from Tuil in the Netherlands can drastically reduce their energy usage and produce better quality gerberas. The company selected the Philips GreenPower toplighting force, which will give them 55% more light than their current HPS lighting. The combination with the GrowWise Control System offers the option to dim the lights as needed, allowing the company to better manage its energy usage and speed of production.
As energy prices continue to rise, the cost-benefit analysis was easily made for Topline Gerbera. The opportunity to invest in LED lighting has never been this attractive. “We weren’t ready as a company before,” says Rino Mans, co-owner of Topline Gerbera. “Not even when we were building a new greenhouse in 2018. We felt there was not enough practical experience with LED in gerbera cultivation before.” But developments moved quickly over the past couple of years. A great deal of knowledge and experience was gained, with trials as well as in practice.
Dramatic decrease in energy usage
The current energy market won Topline Gerbera over. “We have set a certain gas position for the two coming winters, but that is not enough to turn on all the HPS lights,” Mans says. “That means you have to buy additional gas, but you can’t earn that back with the current prices. You can then choose to turn off half the lights, but that would decrease the quality and we don’t want that for our customers.” Mans found the solution in LED. “That allows for an instant decrease in energy usage”, the grower says enthusiastically.
Topline Gerbera and Signify discussed the plan extensively beforehand. Multiple calculations and scenarios were discussed in order to make a well-informed decision. Signify customers often appreciate this level of advice and commitment.
Topline Gerbera decided to invest in Philips GreenPower toplighting force. This is the ultimate LED grow light for gerberas and other light-loving crops. Moreover, this can also replace HPS lights one to one. “By doing so, we will add a considerable amount of extra light to the greenhouse, which we expect to produce better quality flowers,” Mans explains. “The light level will go up from 135 to 205 µmol per square meter. At least, that’s when the lights are turned on for 100%. Because we have also chosen the GrowWise Control System, giving us the option to dim the LED lights to a desired percentage in order to save even more energy.”
Steering on production speed and energy usage
Another reason for the transition at this time is the EHG subsidy which Topline Gerbera uses. One of the conditions of this subsidy is that the company uses a maximum of 60 watt per square meters of power in LED lighting. The GrowWise Control System allows the gerbera grower to steer the production speed and adapt the lighting to their two CHP installations. This also gives them the option to return power to the grid. “When the energy prices allow, we can turn the lights back on for 100%.”
With 3.9 hectares of greenhouses, this September Topline Gerbera will install a large number of LED lights. Installation partner Stolze will replace the current HPS lights and install the dim components needed. “Stolze was involved with our new build in 2018,” Mans says. “Together with Priva, they will make sure that the LED lighting can be controlled by our current climate computer.” Mans trusts the good cooperation with Signify as a supplier. “Signify is a solid party that takes their responsibility seriously.”
Growing gerberas for a good cost price
The payback period for the complete installation will depend on the developments in the energy market. “But we won’t have to buy any extra gas the coming two winters,” Mans says. “That makes this investment viable in the short term. In the coming two years we can grow gerberas at a good price. Furthermore, we are preparing our company for the future. I expect HPS to be out of the picture completely in a couple of years. We will have to manage with less energy going into the future.”