When it comes to growing cannabis or any other crop, nothing beats the efficiency of the sun. Natural sunlight is free and plentiful, and plants respond to it with lush and healthy growth. However, the sun isn’t perfect. The intensity of sunlight fluctuates seasonally, and even during the course of the day. Inclement weather can also slow the growth of plants every time the sun is hidden behind clouds.
Dealing with this reality for greenhouse cultivators is a challenge that has been taken on by Fohse, a Nevada-based company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of premium LED grow lights for horticulture. The company got its start providing fixtures for indoor cannabis cultivation that are setting the industry standard, and that success is now available to greenhouse growers with the Pleiades 320-watt LED grow light fixture.
Optimized for Greenhouses
The Pleiades is engineered specifically for use in greenhouse cultivation operations. The slim profile of the fixture is designed to be installed directly to the trusses of the structure so that they do not block the sunlight and no additional shadows are cast on the canopy below. With its highly efficient diodes, the Pleiades supplements the natural sunlight coming into the greenhouse to provide the optimal light intensity for growing plants.
The Pleiades in-house engineering team, led by Fohse Chief Technology Officer Alex Gerard, designed the LED fixture to be seamlessly integrated into greenhouse cultivation operations. Because they run on less electricity than the conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) light fixtures often used in comparable applications, several fixtures can be powered together by wiring them in sequence.
“Because it is a lower power fixture, we’re able to daisy-chain the power,” Gerard explained. “So, you only need one outlet to run several light fixtures.”
When the variable voltage Pleiades is operated at 110 volts, up to five fixtures can be connected together and powered by one outlet. And at 480 volts – the highest voltage the Pleiades is designed to operate at – the number of fixtures that can be linked in a daisy chain increases to 22, greatly reducing the electrical infrastructure required for the system.
“It definitely cuts down on the amount of electrical work that has to be in the building, which decreases your install cost,” Gerard noted.
Because he comes from a family with roots in horticulture, Gerard is well versed in the challenges faced by greenhouse cultivators. That knowledge and experience are built into all of Fohse’s LED lighting solutions. While traditional fixtures are subject to dangerous intrusion of moisture and dust inherent to any greenhouse situation, Fohse products boast the highest ingress protection ratings in the industry, ensuring years of efficient and productive operation while safeguarding the grower’s investment.
Consistent Light Intensity
One key to an efficient and profitable greenhouse operation is ensuring that all plants grow at a consistent rate so that they can be harvested at the same time. Among other factors, this requires ensuring consistent light intensity, which can be a challenge, especially in massive operations where half of a greenhouse can be bathed in sunlight while the rest is shaded by clouds.
Fohse tackles the challenge of maintaining consistent light levels with a feature the company refers to as “light harvesting.” Sensors placed throughout the greenhouse detect the natural light entering the grow, and the fixtures respond to fluctuations by automatically dimming or increasing power to maintain target light levels throughout the operation.
While the sun has been a reliable light source since the dawn of agriculture, it can still use a helping hand from time-to-time. And thanks to Fohse technology and the Pleiades LED grow light, greenhouse operations can stand up to the sun’s challenges, confidently providing the best growing conditions for their plants.