‘Focus on Energy Efficiency White Paper’

12-05-2022    14:53   |    HortiBiz

In this exclusive interview with Hortibiz Daily News Editor Ece Polat, François R. Moisan, CTO and Co-Founder of Sollum Technologies shares his valuable insights about SOLLUM’s latest ‘Focus on Energy Efficiency White Paper’ and dynamic LED lighting solutions for growers.

ECE POLAT: Tell us about yourself and what Sollum Technologies does.

FRANÇOIS R. MOISAN: I co-founded Sollum Technologies back in 2015. Sollum is a Canadian company that designs and manufactures a state-of-the-art dynamic LED grow light solution for the horticultural industry and enables growers cultivate crops year-round regardless of the location of their greenhouse.

ECE POLAT: What is the Sollum’s latest white paper about?

FRANÇOIS R. MOISAN: It’s about pushing the boundaries of energy efficiency! Everybody can see the value of reducing our energy consumption both from an environmental and economic standpoint. What we see in the lighting market is that all the fixtures are getting more and more efficient. Traditionally in greenhouse, HPS lights have been used, which they consume excessive amounts of electricity. When LEDs came on the market, they enabled energy consumption to be reduced by 40%! That’s quite a success. By adding another layer of control to LED lighting systems, we can see additional benefits in energy efficiency. For example, as we already know, far-red is not always needed during crop growth. By having a dynamic lighting system, growers can turn it on when it is needed, and turn it off when it is not –This small change enable an additional 5% of energy savings.

As the day progresses, the availably of the sunlight varies. Let’s say it’s a sunny day and your greenhouse does not need as much supplemental light. By having a dynamic lighting system, you can dim your LED lights the necessary output. If you have a cloudy day, or even if a cloud is passing over your greenhouse temporarily, by having a dynamic lighting system, you can compensate for all natural light conditions by increasing the intensity or shifting the spectrum, ensuring your crops are – in effect – always seeing the Sun. Over the course of the year, control measures like this can add up to 15% more energy savings.

If we consider how sunlight changes throughout the year, in the Northern Hemisphere there is less sunlight available in the winter, and more available in the summer. A dynamic lighting system allows growers to accommodate these seasonal changes with their lights as well as those daily changes. If you take all those numbers, it adds up pretty fast.

ECE POLAT: Who should read ‘Focus on Energy Efficiency White Paper’?

FRANÇOIS R. MOISAN: Every grower that has a greenhouse and that is interested in having a supplemental lighting system or updating their existing system should read this white paper. The energy efficiency of LED lights is increasing over time, so many growers are tempted to hold off on purchasing a system today under the assumption that there will be a better product available the next year. All the products on the market can be disorienting for a consumer who needs to consider what fixture will work for them in terms of spectrum, intensity, and efficiency. Our solution is the complete package, providing growers the most cutting-edge technology that can meet their needs now and in the future in a fully dynamic way; this white paper, as well as our past white papers, clearly outline why this is the case.

ECE POLAT: What is the benefit of ‘Focus on Energy Efficiency White Paper’?

FRANÇOIS R. MOISAN: It’s an easy and accessible resource for growers who want to learn about what is possible in terms of energy savings when it comes to greenhouse lighting. With most lighting options on the market offering fixed spectrum, the possible improvements in energy efficiency are very limited. With our dynamic LED lighting solution and its many levels of control, we ensure that no energy is wasted when it comes to greenhouse lighting.

ECE POLAT: How are you making sure the growers are successful?

FRANÇOIS R. MOISAN: At Sollum, our work with growers is very hands on – our investment in a grower does not end after the lights are purchased. The grower becomes the part of SOLLUM family. We are there for the first steps of planning and installation, when we ensure that all the lights and software are running smoothly. After installation, we work closely with the grower to ensure that they understand what tools are available to them through the SUN as a Service® (SUNaaS) platform.

We strive to ensure that the grower benefits from our solution to the absolute fullest: that’s in our DNA.

The partnership between our company and growers is of the utmost value to us so that we can guarantee them success with our product, and they can share with us their wealth of knowledge and experience. When we founded Sollum, we knew very little about horticulture, but we have built so many relationships with agronomists, researchers and growers along the way. Our motto is: “We don’t know how to grow but we know how to build lights so let’s see how we can work together”.

ECE POLAT: What’s the vision of Sollum Technologies for the next 5 years?

FRANÇOIS R. MOISAN: It’s definitely to be the leader in the lighting industry for dynamic lighting. What we’ve learned during the pandemic and with the current global energy crises we are facing, is that sustainable models for producing local and fresh food are more important now that ever. We want to be at the forefront of building local, sustainable, food production systems in every city in Canada and around the world.   

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