The agricultural industry has been changing fast – and especially over the last year. This is in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on typical growing practices, but there are also other unrelated changes in the industry that are making LEDs poised for growth.
In fact, a recent study by Reporterlink.com predicted that the horticultural segment of the LED industry is expected to grow from 1.2 billion in 2021 to 4.9 billion by 2026. This same study named California Lightworks a key player in the industry.
While LED horticultural lighting has long been seen as a somewhat niche interest, it is now gaining mainstream momentum in the wider horticulture industry due to their efficiency, effectiveness and lower long-term costs.
Changing Times Call For Innovative Solutions
Initially, the pandemic actually put constraints on the LED industry. Production of horticulture lighting in general was stunted due to COVID-19 shutdowns, and many indoor grow facilities had to cease or slow operations. This meant many companies fell short on shipments. At the same time, both domestic and international demand slowed down.
However, this downtick proved to be short lived. Longer term changes to our world are now increasing the demand for innovative technological solutions.
Climate change and rapid population growth have been driving factors in the rise of LED lighting in the horticulture industry. There is an increasing demand for fresh produce to feed the growing population – especially in the APAC region – but changing temperatures and environments are reducing the amount of arable land.
As a result, there have been a surging number of vertical farms and greenhouses. These structures often require supplemental lighting to thrive.
Why LED Lighting?
A driving factor in the rise of the LED industry is increasing awareness of the benefits of LED lighting. Their long lifespan, adjustable spectrums, and energy efficiency are all making them an increasingly popular choice for professionals now realizing indoor growing will be around for the foreseeable future.
When crops were not grown indoors year-round, it made less sense to invest in more expensive lighting. Companies often relied on options like HPS lights, which were much cheaper to install upfront. This is now changing.
A Rise In Software Services
Software services related to LED lighting are also predicted to rise quickly between 2021 and 2026. In fact, software services are expected to have a higher compound annual growth rate than even the hardware segment.
It is easy to understand why. As more and more horticulture companies rely on LED lighting to produce crops, technological advancements allow for more efficient setups that ultimately boost plant quality. Creating and maintaining optimal lighting is one of the biggest advantages of supplemental lighting.
At California Lightworks, we have been striving for continuous improvement in our software to improve customer experience for years. We recently rolled out our MegaDrive™ Lighting Technology. MegaDrive fixtures feature Bluetooth control. This cloud-based data communication system allows you to control light functions from anywhere in the world from any Internet device.
Looking Into The Future
Growing fruits and vegetables was once primarily done outdoors, but more and more major companies are moving their operations inside. Reporterlink predicts the fruit and vegetable segment will constitute the largest size of the grow lights market from 2020 to 2025.
We can expect to see strong international growth in the LED industry. Again, the APAC region in particular has been hit by land loss and population growth. This has led to an increase in the adoption of advanced farming technologies to adapt. The Reporterlink study predicts that the APAC region will be the fastest growing international market from 2021 to 2026.
However, growth extends well beyond the APAC region. New installations are expected to rise considerably from 2021 to 2016 across the world. There is rising worldwide government support for controlled environmental agriculture. This fact combined with increasing evidence of the benefits of LED lighting means more and more agriculture and horticulture companies will be making the switch to full-spectrum LED lighting in the coming years.
The Bottom Line
At California Lightworks, we have always prided ourselves for being on the forefront of innovation. For years, we have been telling people the benefits of LED lighting for horticulture. Now, it looks like our predictions are coming to pass. In a rapidly changing world, new technology is rising to the occasion to help the population adapt to climate change and find sustainable means to grow food.
We look forward to continuing to find new ways to increase the efficiency of our LED lighting technology in the coming years. As the world faces unprecedented challenges, we continue to have hope that technology will help us thrive in the future.