How can you make LED grow lights more affordable? – Urban Ag news
Geographic location is an important factor in determining who qualifies for a utility discount and how many discount dollars are available for specific projects. Photo courtesy Hort Americas
Article originally published by Hort Americas
Hort Americas is partnering with Current to ensure its customers get the maximum power discounts on their LED grow light purchases.
The benefits of using LED grow lights with plants in a controlled environment are well documented. One of the reasons some growers are reluctant to invest in these grow lights is because of their affordability. Horticultural distributor Hort Americas works with LED grow light maker GE Current, a Daintree company, to ensure its customers are making the right choices to meet their lighting, production and profitability needs.
“Hort Americas and Current are continuously monitoring what financing solutions are available for our customers and their projects,” said Lee Levitt, North American utility director at Current. “This includes discounts, grants and loans from federal, state and local governments or the contribution to solving energy supply problems in deregulated markets with the option of creative financing solutions. Our team supports and trains the horticultural market by keeping their finger on the pulse of what is happening in this market.
“In my role at Current and in my more than twelve years of experience with supply discounts, with Hort Americas we deliver an approach that maximizes the customer experience in supply engagement. We can work with our customers to take advantage of the largest discount dollars they can possibly have.
We have a proven track record of rebate rewards with countless customers in the United States and Canada. Over the years, with the support of our partners like Hort Americas, we have paid millions of dollars in utility discounts to our customers who have completed lighting and / or lighting controls for renovation or new build projects. “
As the market becomes saturated with traditional lighting upgrades, indoor growing is a new area that is very attractive to utility companies trying to meet their annual energy saving goals. Photo courtesy Current
Geography is a discount driver
Levitt said geographic location is an important factor in who qualifies for a supply discount and how many discount dollars are available for specific projects.
“Geography is absolutely a driver of these discounts,” said Levitt. “Government agencies, be it state or state or utility companies, and the traditional rebate programs people are familiar with, offer producers different options based on what they produce, the scope of their work and where.” Their facility is located all over North America. “
Levitt said the scope of work relates to what the project might look like.
“It can be a greenhouse, a warehouse, a renovation or a new building,” he said. “This also includes whether LED lamps or tubes are replaced or new lights are installed. We also support our customers in ensuring that they take advantage of any eligible discount measures. A project could be on a much larger scale and an entire building analysis could be useful if it is HVAC or just lighting and control.
“Current is working with Hort Americas to support and leverage the greatest opportunity to qualify for discounts, based on what the customer might qualify for. This applies to any type of facility or location and what obstacles, if any, based on the geography of the facility that may be present. “
Levitt said the landscape of utility rebate programs is constantly evolving. There are about 20 states with at least one utility company in that state that has a specific horticultural program incentive. There are also about a dozen states that don’t have a specific horticultural rebate program, but rate energy-efficient growing projects using a custom or other rating mechanism to determine eligibility.
“My analysis of the easy horticultural discounts offers a wide range of labeling options depending on geographic location,” he said. “Geography can be an important factor in how and whether a program recognizes a horticultural project or not. The topics that affect the discount eligibility and the surcharge value are diverse and can include things such as daylight use, energy savings, renovation vs. new construction, operating times, type of indoor grow system, replacing lamps / tubes vs. upgrading the entire luminaire and more .
“Utilities can be very complex in how their rebate program algorithms work, which means they can be based on a one-to-one swap of devices or based on energy savings calculations in the order of kW or kWh. It’s not really black and white. These are some of the factors that can determine the size of the discount. For all of these reasons, Current and Hort Americas are helping growers steer the process so they can maximize their rebate premiums. “
Current is working with Hort Americas to support and take advantage of the greatest discount eligibility opportunities based on what the customer could qualify for regardless of the type of manufacturing facility. Photo courtesy Hort Americas
More discount options for horticulture
Levitt said that just like any other energy efficiency project, producers are entitled to discount programs.
“Horticulture is a unique area and there are and can be significant discount programs available to growers,” he said. “Depending on the size of a project, a greenhouse or warehouse that is considered smaller can be eligible for a discount of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which can be a lot of money given the project’s cost. There could be multi-million dollar farms of enormous size and scope, where much larger discount opportunities can bring in significantly more dollar discounts.
“Consumer discounts have been around for years, and the traditional low hanging fruit has always been the light. As the commercial market landscape saturates from traditional to LED upgrade solutions, indoor growing, a new area, is very attractive when it comes to energy saving goals that utilities try to achieve each year. “
Utilities can be very complex in how their rebate program algorithms work. The programs could be set up around a one-to-one change of luminaire or based on energy saving calculations. Photo courtesy Current
Levitt said utility companies are always looking for energy saving opportunities that can be recognized within the guidelines of their discount programs.
“Utilities are becoming increasingly aware of the horticultural industry and controlled environmental agriculture,” he said. “Some of these projects can generate a unique analysis of the entire building that can affect someone doing lighting or lighting control. The lighting benefits can also translate into HVAC utility discount benefits. There is the potential for energy saving options for everyone involved to stack around an entire building, depending on the
Project that leads to considerable discount dollars for the customer. “
While sizable discount dollars may be available, Levitt said that utility discount programs can be difficult to manage because of their complexity.
“Many utilities require pre-approval and collaboration with the utility in the early stages of advancing energy efficiency projects,” he said. “The benefit of getting involved in utility programs early on helps utility companies know that a potential energy efficiency project is being completed in their area. Utility programs are structured with a limited amount of dollars. When those dollars are used up, the rebates end. Obtaining pre-approval, where applicable, and handling pre- and post-inspection are all requirements in most utility rebate programs.
“We offer discount processing and support solutions that allow farmers to focus on growing. Every project and every scope of work is unique, as are the requirements for discount processing and the support that is required depending on the customer, what he is working on and the individual needs of the customer. Current and Hort Americas are familiar with the needs and goals of their customers and support them in completing and submitting the discount forms in order to take advantage of these supply discounts and accelerate the adoption of LED. “
This article is owned by Hort Americas and written by David Kuack, a freelance technical writer based in Fort Worth, Texas.