Choose LED or HPS, or use a hybrid system?

What is a led and hps hybrid system?

Choosing between traditional lighting systems such as high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lighting and newer light-emitting diode (LED) technologies can be a complex decision. You need to consider factors such as energy use, return on investment, maintenance costs, and how they affect plant growth. Many producers are looking to switch to LED lighting technology for reasons such as energy savings and spectral fine tuning. However, given the youthful state of the industry and high up-front costs, the switch can be out of reach and costly. LEDs and High Intensity Discharge (HID) technology have many advantages and advantages, and one of the best ways to use them is to implement a hybrid lighting system.

A hybrid lighting system is where the planting facility installs LED and HPS lighting (or two different styles of lighting, such as a combination of HPS and MH) in the planting space. For hybrid LED / HPS applications, this combination of these two technologies provides the ideal balance between diffuse light distribution and spectral efficiency. In addition, the radiant heating of the HPS lighting can be used flexibly, and the auxiliary lighting time can be extended until spring by using the LED light only when the outdoor temperature and sunshine hours increase. Hybrid systems also reduce initial capital investment and allow producers greater control over their costs by preserving their existing infrastructure.

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Choose HPS or LED, or use a hybrid system?
Growing cannabis under led lights

Lighting overview

Since its introduction, High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting has become a staple of commercial horticultural applications. This spectrum is rich in red wavelengths, which can give plants a day-length perception effect and promote the growth and flowering of long-day plants like hemp. However, this spectrum is relatively poor at the blue end of the spectrum and inhibits stem elongation. HPS lamps also generate a large amount of radiant heat on the illuminated surface. This radiant heat transfers heat very effectively to crops that require high temperatures for their growth and development, such as tomatoes, peppers, and hemp. The heat from the lamps also helps offset the costs of natural gas and electric heating.

Metal halide (MH) and ceramic metal halide (CMH) lamps have traditionally been used by growers during the plant growth stage due to their broad spectrum and high blue emission. Blue light limits the flowering reaction and increases the chlorophyll content, which helps to increase the rate of photosynthesis in plants. Furthermore, UV and blue wavelengths have been shown to enhance the defense mechanisms of plants by initiating metabolic activities involved in the synthesis of terpenes and cannabinoids.

When comparing spectral efficiencies, HPS lamps emit a lot of light that plants cannot use. This makes the HPS spectrum much less efficient than LED, since the spectral output of the LED can only point to wavelengths that are useful to the plant. Generally speaking, LEDs have higher energy efficiency, longer life expectancy, and higher spectral efficiency.

Another advantage is that LEDs do not emit energy in the form of radiant heat, which helps control the temperature of the grow environment. This is because LEDs dissipate heat from the lighting field in the form of convection heat. This is different from HPS lamps, which emit heat in the direction of illumination in the form of radiant heat. The heat is so far away from the crop that the lamp can be placed very close to the crop canopy without burning out. However, due to the lack of heat, this also means higher heating costs during the colder months of the year, especially when using LEDs in northern climates. Studies show that with the additional heat increase, the total cost of energy remains the same.


LED and HPS hybrid system

Having a hybrid HPS and LED lighting system has many advantages such as cost reduction, higher spectral efficiency, and light distribution. From a spectroscopic point of view, HPS lamps have been confidently used as a constantly increasing spectrum for decades. However, there has been a lot of debate recently about the formulation of LED technology. However, there is no conclusive evidence as to which combination of wavelengths is the most suitable for crop production, and this is highly dependent on the strain / variety. Studies have shown that blue light can stimulate the synthesis of terpenes, anthocyanins and THC / CBD, which is also highly dependent on genetics and is ultimately tested to determine if the desired result is achieved. Therefore, it makes no sense to develop a particular lighting scheme for a crop unless you plant only one strain or variety in each planting area.

Adequate temperatures are required for plants to grow and grow normally. Many years of research and experimentation have confirmed the relationship between temperature and plant growth. In HPS lighting applications, the radiant heat from the lamp heats the crop and accelerates its growth. As mentioned above, LEDs do not emit heat that can be transferred to growing temperature, so additional heating is required during cold weather. The hybrid system helps to balance the thermal load of the plantation facility. It provides the plant with the temperature it needs to grow, while helping offset the cost of heating in cold climates. On the contrary, in spring and autumn you need to increase the intensity of the light, but you do not want to increase the temperature inside the room.

Another aspect to consider is how each light source distributes the light. The LED emits light in one direction and the intensity of the light decreases as the distance from the bottom of the light source increases. The light emitted by the LEDs is distributed directionally, so if you are too close to the canopy, the shadows will be large. HID lighting, on the other hand, uses reflectors to guide the light, providing a more diffuse lighting pattern. Because of the way light passes through the canopy, plants can use diffuse light more effectively than directional light. Stray light also tends to cause more growth than light coming directly from above. HPS lighting is installed so that light overlaps to reduce shadows and allows light to pass horizontally.

Therefore, when a proven real HPS lamp is combined with a more efficient LED, the plant can obtain and use the required wavelength (when needed) while providing radiant heat and diffuse light from the HPS lamp. Now you can extend the use of LED lights to springs without increasing the heat load.

HPS and MH hybrid lighting system HPS and MH hybrid lighting system

Another hybrid system that we would like to talk about is the combination of HPS and MH lighting. This is because hybrid lighting solutions also mean adding light with different spectra to the same grow space. In this case, we will discuss a mix of taller red HPS lamps and taller blue MH or CMH lamps. A well-designed hybrid lighting system using MH and HPS lighting enables growers to improve crop productivity and quality.

In flowering rooms where growers are trying to add blue to boost terpenes and cannabinoids, MH lights are cheaper than installing LEDs, and the price of LEDs can be three to five times higher. Some growers also like the mixed vegetative growth spectrum, where the plant gets a balanced growth spectrum but doesn’t have enough red to start the flowering reaction.

in conclusion

The efficiency of LEDs is about 40% higher than current best HPS technology, but the initial cost is 3-5 times higher than 1000W HPS. To install only LEDs, you need to make a large investment and maintain the installation for at least 5-10 years to see the return on investment. By then, LEDs are expected to be even more efficient, so the right time to invest becomes an issue. The total cost of maintenance between LED and HID technology is small and similar. HPS lamp heating uses HPS in the system because it has great advantages for crops like tomatoes and hemp and produces a more diffuse light. The lamp makes sense. .. A space to grow. HPS Lighting is a mature, proven, and easy-to-maintain technology that offers the highest return on investment, lowest initial cost, and life cycle cost.

Read more: Is LED grow light worth buying?

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