A step beyond just light

Heliospectra’s approach is rooted in creating an efficient, intelligent, and adaptable lighting strategy.

Heliospectra, a Swedish horticulture LED lighting solution provider and AIPH Affiliate Member, explains how its smart LED lighting technology and precision growing maximise energy savings and plant growth. Rebecca Nordin, Heliospectra’s Chief Commercial Officer and Head of IR tells FCI more.

Imagine a greenhouse where lighting adapts seamlessly to the needs of plants, optimising energy consumption without compromising growth. Heliospectra has turned this vision into reality with its high-quality LED lights, equipped with wireless dimming capabilities and integrated sensors, all managed through its innovative helioCORE software.

“Heliospectra’s approach is rooted in creating a lighting strategy that is efficient, intelligent and adaptable,” says Heliospectra’s Rebecca Nordin. The helioCORE software ensures optimal plant growth by automatically adjusting and dimming LED lights based on factors such as natural light levels, fluctuating energy costs, and the efficacy of the light itself. By avoiding using the lights when not needed and prioritising the use of lamps when energy costs are at their lowest, growers can significantly reduce operational expenses.

helioCORE 2.0 has an open API, enabling integration and control of helioCORE from external sources.

Efficiency meets ingenuity

What sets this technology apart is its precision algorithms and ability to establish multiple grow zones within a greenhouse without the need for complex upgrades. Every five minutes, the helioCORE DLI controller calculates the optimal light strategy throughout the day, considering DLI goals, energy prices, historical data, and accurate weather forecasts. This strategic zoning conserves energy and ensures that each plant receives the ideal amount of light for its growth stage.

Nordin emphasised that this ingenious approach can lead to energy savings of up to 30-35 per cent on top of the benefits derived from LED lighting, depending on the light goals and geographical location of the user.

This Danish houseplant nursery features Heliospectra’s LED lights.

Spectrum precision

Heliospectra’s journey in horticultural lighting spans over 17 years, during which they’ve meticulously explored the interplay between light and plants. Their commitment to precision is exemplified by their targeted spectrum portfolio and three levels of spectrum control.

As part of their continuous innovation, Heliospectra introduced the Adelphi, a LoRA-based wireless connector facilitating true wireless dimming and control within greenhouse facilities. This technology saves money as growers avoid installation costs and wires while seamlessly integrating with the helioCORE software, allowing growers to set dynamic light integral (DLI) targets and zone-specific light strategies, all contributing to improved energy efficiency and crop quality.

Nordin highlighted that the game-changer in floriculture lies in the flexibility of their far-red solutions, such as the MITRA X FLEX and CERES FLEX, combining three spectra in one (PAR, PAR + FR, and FR only) with wireless dimming. This enables growers to tailor lighting conditions to specific crop varieties or stages of growth, accelerating growth, boosting flower yield, and enhancing plant quality during periods of low natural light.

Inside Dutch potted plant nursery: the helioCORE software ensures optimal plant growth by automatically adjusting and dimming LED lights based on factors such as natural light levels, fluctuating energy costs, and the efficacy of the light itself.

Customisation at the grower’s fingertips

Nordin elaborated on the remarkable capabilities of helioCORE and precision growth, which allows growers to divide their greenhouse into multiple ‘grow zones’ with customised lighting strategies. This dynamic feature optimises energy use while ensuring consistent growth throughout the greenhouse, adapting to seasonal changes and microclimates.

Zones by Bay, Zones by Climate, and Zones by Crops – these functionalities enable growers to tailor lighting strategies according to their greenhouse layout, microclimate conditions, and crop requirements. The intuitive user interface streamlines the process, allowing the growers to harness light as a precise tool for fostering optimal growth.

“By using a system that is flexible, allowing growers to create and change grow zones and groups easily, they can save a significant amount of money, not only with the use of the DLI controller and dimming down the lights but by simply being able to turn off bays that are not in use,” Nordin explains.

Unlocking hidden rebates

When commercial growers adopt LED lighting technology, they commonly seek subsidies and rebates, which can cover a substantial portion of their project expenses—reaching as high as 40-50 per cent.

What’s not widely recognised is that these growers can also avail themselves of extra rebates by implementing energy-saving solutions like helioCORE, subject to the specific rebate program. Consequently, employing an intelligent lighting system proves advantageous in terms of operational expenses and reducing the upfront capital required.

In conclusion, Heliospectra’s next-generation LED lighting technology and control system stand as a testament to innovation, meeting the needs of modern floriculture while minimising the ecological footprint.

The marriage of energy efficiency and plant growth optimisation is exemplified by wireless dimming, zoning strategies, and spectrum control functionalities. As the horticultural sector has embarked on a journey towards sustainable cultivation practices and heightened yields, Heliospectra’s visionary solutions illuminate the path to a greener and more productive future in floriculture.

This article first appeared in the October 2023 edition of FloraCulture International.


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