The largest LED horticultural project in the world is underway as Philips Lighting illuminates a large-scale Russian greenhouse complex designed to grow tomatoes and cucumbers for the domestic market.
Philips Lighting says this is the largest project of its kind ever undertaken and will enable year-round growing and boost volumes, particularly during winter periods, at the greenhouses in Lyudinovo, Kaluga Oblast, 217 miles south-west of Moscow.
Installation over an area which is the equivalent of around 40 soccer pitches will take approximately three months to complete.
Philips says providing Russian greenhouse produce company LLC Agro-Invest with LED grow lights follows an increasing trend towards this type of energy-efficient technology for cultivation under glass.
Growers are switching to LED in order to maximise local production all year round.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously stated he wants the country to become much more self-sufficient, particularly in terms of crops like tomatoes and cucumbers, in order to ease the reliance on imports.
Philips is working with Dutch partner Agrolux and Russian installer, LLC ST Solutions, to equip the greenhouses which, once complete with LED installations, look set to save around 50% on energy costs compared to conventional high-pressure sodium lighting.
Laid end to end, the Philips GreenPower LED toplights and 57,000 2.5-meter long Philips GreenPower LED interlights, would stretch 138.5 miles (223 km) the equivalent of crossing the English Channel from Dover to Calais more than five times.
The company will also be providing training to the Russian greenhouse project as well as what it calls “light recipes” to get the best out of crops.
“We have a reputation for innovation on a large scale and LED grow lights are definitely the future. They deliver the right light for the plant, exactly when and where the plant needs it the most, while radiating far less heat than conventional lighting. This allows us to place them closer to the plants,” says Irina Meshkova, Deputy CEO and General Director, Agro-Invest.
“Thanks to this technology we will be able to increase yields in the darker months of the year, and significantly reduce our energy usage.”
Business leader for Philips Lighting’s horticultural lighting business, Udo van Slooten, says light recipes are designed to boost quality and yields by up to 30% during the dark winter periods.
“Our grow lights are the perfect supplement to natural daylight so that crops can be grown efficiently throughout the year. The project also highlights a growing international trend to replace imports with domestically grown produce, reducing food miles and ensuring freshness,” he says.