Plant grow light industry research: the industry has a bright future

Plant grow light industry research promote efficient planting, the industry has a bright future

In recent years, the indoor planting industry has gradually become hot. A large number of enterprises have entered the related planting industries such as marijuana planting, vertical planting, greenhouse planting, and plant factories. The rapid development of indoor planting makes many industries realize that indoor planting lacks a light source with high light efficiency, long service life and suitable for plant growth. With the development of science and technology, all kinds of plant grow light have been piled up, but they are far from the needs of growers. Generally speaking, the prospects of plant grow light are broad, but we still have to wait for breakthroughs in technology and production technology.

Artificial light sources change planting patterns, and the plant grow light market continues to expand

  1. Improve the utilization rate of light energy, and lighting promotes the efficient and high-quality growth of plants

Plant grow light refers to the use of artificial light environment instead of sunlight to ensure the healthy growth of plants. The growth and development of plants are inseparable from the role of light. Light acts as an environmental signal to regulate a series of plant growth and development behaviors, such as seed germination, form formation, flowering, and the synthesis of secondary metabolites. At the same time, plant photosynthesis absorbs sunlight and converts it into chemical energy to store it in the form of sugar, and then uses this energy for growth.

Spectral analysis shows that among the seven-color light, plants mainly absorb red and blue light for photosynthesis. Greenlight, yellow-orange light, and far-red light, and other trace light are involved in other metabolic processes of plant growth. The photosynthetically effective radiation available to plants lies in the range of visible light. Compared with the sun, the biggest advantage of plant grow light is its controllability. It does not change its intensity with day or night, summer or winter, rainy or sunny days, and can provide plants with stable and consistent light.

The “recognition” and “preference” of different plants to light provides theoretical guidance for artificial light cultivation of plants. The sunlight remains the same forever. Plants can only adapt to sunlight. The sunlight does not favor a certain plant. Plant light grow can accurately design and tailor the light formula of plants for each plant or each developmental stage, so as to cultivate plants more efficiently and provide sufficient “light fertilizer” for plant growth.

Plant grow light has opened up a broad and lasting downstream market for the application of the lighting industry in the agricultural field. It can not only promote the utilization of light energy of plants, increase the yield, but also improve the shape, color, and internal composition of plants. Therefore, it can be used in food production, fruit and vegetable cultivation, flower cultivation, medicinal plant cultivation, edible fungi, algae factories, and mosquito repellent Insecticide and other fields have been widely used. Suitable and efficient plant lighting fixtures are equipped with intelligent and optimized light control strategies, so that crop cultivation is no longer restricted by natural light conditions, which is of great significance for enhancing agricultural output and ensuring the safety of agricultural products.

  1. The rapid development of plant grow light and the continuous growth of market scale

Driven by multiple factors such as the legal commercialization of special cash crops in North America, the epidemic has promoted global awareness of food crises, land shortages, and the rise of plant factories, plant lighting has developed rapidly in recent years. According to statistics from Frost & Sullivan, the global plant supplement light equipment market has increased from USD 1.76 billion in 2015 to USD 3.79 billion in 2019, with an average annual compound growth rate of 21.1%. Frost & Sullivan predicts that from 2020 to 2024, the compound annual growth rate of the global plant grow light equipment industry market will remain at 25.5%, and the market will reach 11.50 billion US dollars in 2024.

There are currently four main types of plant grow light on the market: LED lamps, fluorescent lamps, high-pressure sodium lamps, incandescent lamps, and halogen lamps. According to MOKOLight Industry Research Institute, by 2021, the global LED plant growth lamp market will account for 60%. It is expected that the penetration rate of LED light sources will further increase in the future, occupying the mainstream of the plant grow light field.

The current global LED plant grow light downstream application market is still mainly concentrated in Japan, the United States, the Netherlands and other countries. According to the statistics of the LED Research Institute of Advanced Industry Research, my country’s LED plant lamps exports in 2020 will exceed 500 million US dollars, an increase of 426.3% over the same period of the previous year. According to data from Zhiyan Consulting, the output distribution of my country’s LED plant grow light systems and lamps market in 2019 was 108,300 sets and 409,900 sets, while domestic demand was only 14,957 sets and 59,846 sets, and overseas market demand accounted for seven-eighths.

my country’s LED plant grow light stock market is relatively small, and there is huge room for growth in the future. Compared with the same period last year in 2018, the market demand for LED plant grow light systems and lamps in my country grew rapidly in 19, with year-on-year growth rates of 21.94% and 22.46% respectively. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences predicts that according to the current scale of my country’s agricultural industry, the demand for agricultural LED lighting fixtures and their control equipment will reach several billion yuan in the next five years.

Core components drive innovation, plant grow light matures

  1. LED light source

Because of the low cost of traditional plant lights, they are still used in plant grow light. However, as artificial light source technology matures, LED light sources with more advantages gradually replace traditional light sources and gradually become the main light source for plant lighting.

There is a fundamental difference between LED light sources and traditional lamps in the light-emitting principle. Incandescent lamps emit light by heating the filament, which will waste most of the electrical energy. The spectral characteristics of gas discharge lamps such as high-pressure sodium lamps, metal halide lamps, and fluorescent lamps are mainly determined by the characteristics of the gas composition. LED is a solid-state light source. The core is a PN junction made of semiconductors, which emits light through the migration and recombination of electrons and holes in the PN junction. The compounds used to make the PN junction have different light-emitting characteristics.

LED light source plant grow light is more efficient and energy-saving. The use density of lamps for agricultural lighting is extremely high compared to general lighting. MOKOlight’s research shows that plants with high light demand require up to 500-1000W of electrical power per square meter of planting area, which places stringent requirements on the electrical-to-optical conversion efficiency of plant lights. At present, the electro-optical conversion efficiency of LED plant lamps is more than 20 times that of incandescent lamps, three times that of fluorescent lamps, and nearly twice that of high-pressure sodium lamps. The LED light source lamp has strong light and low heat. It can touch plants at close range without burning plant leaves and operators. It is suitable for indoor multi-layer planting and other scenes.

The LED spectral band covers a wide range, it is easy to obtain monochromatic light and full-spectrum, and the spectrum is highly tunable. LEDs can cover the wavelength range of 200-950 nm, and there are dozens of monochromatic LEDs. This is conducive to improving the utilization of red and blue light by plants, and can realize the spectrum customization of different plants. By exciting the phosphor by the monochromatic LED chip to expand the half-wave width of the monochromatic light, a full-spectrum white light can be obtained; the current size of the LEDs of different light colors can be controlled separately, and the spectrum can also be adjusted.

LED has long life, low light decay, strong controllability, and great potential for intelligent control. The theoretical life of LED lamps is as high as 100,000 hours or more. According to the data of MOKOLight, the light decay of high-end LED plant lights after 36,000 hours of operation is still less than 10%, and they can still work normally under fast switching conditions of 30,000 times per second.

Unlike the 360-degree light-emitting of traditional light bulbs, LED encapsulation is generally 180-degree single-sided light. It is easier to form a small-angle light-emitting spotlight to focus the light on the plant, and it can also be made into a short-distance light that still emits light. Especially uniform panel type plant light.

  1. Drive power

The LED driving power supply refers to a power supply that converts the external primary electric energy into the secondary electric energy required by the LED. The input power of the LED driving power supply includes alternating current and direct current, and the output power is generally a constant current that can change the voltage with the forward voltage of the LED.

LED driving power is mainly used in the fields of LED lighting, LED display, and LED backlight. Among them, LED lighting has the highest requirements for driving control technology. It is currently the most important application field of LED driving power and has the broadest market prospects.

The requirements of LED plant grow light drive power in conversion efficiency, temperature control, precise dimming, and warranty life are more stringent than other LED drive power sources.

In terms of conversion efficiency, the higher the efficiency of the LED plant grow light drive power supply, the lower the power loss and the loss efficiency in the form of heat dissipation. For terminal planting, it can not only save electricity expenses, but also control the temperature in the plant factory, so that excessive temperature will not affect the optimal growth of plants.

In terms of precise dimming, the LED plant grow light drive power supply provides functions such as adjustable spectrum and intelligent programming to realize that the plant lighting system finally outputs the light required by the planted plants according to the spectral requirements of different plants.

In terms of warranty life, plant lighting needs a longer warranty life of the power supply, so there are higher requirements for the reliability and quality of the drive power supply.

Divided according to the power range of the product, LED drive power can be divided into three types: high power, medium power and low power. In general, it accounts for a relatively high proportion of the overall cost of medium and high-power LED lighting products. LED drive power sources to account for approximately 20%-30% of the overall cost of LED lighting products, and LED plant grow light drive power sources generally account for 30% of the overall cost.

The downstream market demand broke out, plant grow light entered the fast lane of development

  1. Legalization of cannabis in North America


The dominant addictive component of marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), THC can make users addicted while gaining a sense of pleasure. The THC content is currently the direct standard that defines recreational cannabis, medical cannabis, and industrial cannabis. The content of tetrahydrocannabinol in industrial hemp is extremely low, generally defined as less than 0.3%, the THC content of medical marijuana is between 0.3% and 0.5%, and the THC content of recreational marijuana is higher than 0.5%.

The medical effect of cannabis can be effectively used for many diseases. The countries and regions where medical cannabis can be legally used currently include: some states in the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland, Thailand and other countries and regions.

In the past decade, the recreational marijuana industry has gradually begun to legalize. Most countries prohibit the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. In addition to prohibiting the cultivation, sale, and smoking of cannabis, the law also imposes heavier taxes on businesses and individuals that legally grow and sell cannabis. But the Netherlands has always implemented an informal decriminalization policy on cannabis. In 13 years, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the sale and cultivation of cannabis; in October 18, Canada followed closely. Currently, recreational cannabis is legalized in countries such as Canada, Georgia, and Uruguay, as well as some states in the United States.

By 2019, nearly 12% of American residents are steadily consuming recreational marijuana. In recent years, the active potency of cannabis products in the United States has increased significantly. According to a survey report by Mehmedic et. al., the percentage of THC in the cannabis products sold in Washington State is as high as 20%. A higher THC ratio means a stronger addiction and a higher growth rate in the demand market. Cannabis is expected to be widely used as a substitute for alcohol and tobacco in the future.

From a policy point of view, 38 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana, and 18 states have legalized recreational marijuana. In May 2018, 30 states in the United States legalized medical marijuana, and 9 states legalized recreational marijuana. This year, New York, New Mexico, and Virginia have legalized recreational marijuana for adults. The recreational marijuana legalization bill created a licensing system for marijuana producers and distributors. According to forecasts, Alabama is expected to become the 39th state in the United States to legalize medicinal marijuana. In the future, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Hawaii will also be able to legalize recreational marijuana.

When New York State begins to legally sell marijuana for adult use, it will become the largest recreational marijuana market in the United States. New York State has substantially expanded the medical coverage of marijuana and will allow medical marijuana companies to enter the entertainment market. According to a study by the New York Medical Marijuana Industry Association, the New York cannabis market demand supported by adult residents and tourists aged 21 and above is about 4.6 billion U.S. dollars, and is expected to grow to 5.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2027. In addition, the states of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut will cause a domino effect on the east coast and inland of the United States, creating one of the world’s largest adult cannabis use areas.

Just to meet the needs of cannabis cultivation in New York City, the area of ​​cannabis cultivation needs to be expanded to 139 square feet in 22 years. It is estimated that the area of ​​cannabis planted will need to double 42 times from 2022 to 2027 and increase to 6 million square feet by 27. The vast majority of cannabis needs to be grown indoors, and these increased demands will drive the growth of plant factories, thereby driving the demand for the plant lighting market.

The United States is the world’s most important consumer market for cannabis. According to data from Solar Botanicals, the size of the U.S. cannabis market in 2020 is approximately US$15.7-190 billion, of which the market size of medical marijuana is approximately US$5.5-6.8 billion and that of recreational use US$102-122. It is estimated that by 2023, the legal cannabis market in the United States may reach 30.4 billion U.S. dollars. Among them, recreational marijuana used by adults is expected to reach 22 billion U.S. dollars, and medical marijuana will account for the remaining 8.4 billion U.S. dollars.

The explosive demand for recreational cannabis in the North American market will drive the continued high growth of the plant lighting market. According to BDSA statistics, the global legal sales market of cannabis in 2020 will be close to USD 21.3 billion, compared with USD 14.4 billion in 2019, an increase of 48% year on year. It is expected that with the advancement of the legalization of recreational cannabis in the United States in the future, by 2026, the global cannabis demand market will reach US$559.

  1. Vertical farm

The vertical farm is a kind of controlled environment agriculture. It is a new type of agricultural development model that uses technical means to simulate the growth environment of crops such as water, sunlight, and temperature in a completely enclosed environment, and uses soilless cultivation with bio-organic fertilizers, and makes full use of renewable resources and greenhouse technology.

Vertical farms can grow 10-100 times more products per acre compared to traditional agriculture, and they can play an important role in the food system that adapts to climate change. The climate-independent indoor cultivation environment allows crops to grow throughout the year and almost all can be harvested.

According to estimates by the World Food and Agriculture Organization, in order to feed 9 billion people around the world by 2050, global food production needs to be increased by 70%. The reduction of resources, the limitation of arable land, and the increase of population force human beings to adopt more efficient ways of growing food. The Netherlands, where 80% of the arable land is grown in an indoor controlled environment, only owns 1/270 of the land in the United States, but its agricultural exports are second only to the United States. One acre of vertical leafy farms in the Netherlands can produce 10 acres of farmland outdoors in a year.

Vertical farms can reduce operating costs. According to the ARTEMIS Indoor Agriculture Survey, the use of software systems in smart farms can reduce the cost of about $0.05-7 per square foot per year. Among them, there is less room for flower planting costs to decrease, while hemp planting has a higher cost compression space. . Vertical farms can grow agricultural products closer to the point of consumption. Growing agricultural products close to the consumer market can not only save transportation costs, but also reduce food deterioration during transportation and reduce the loss rate.

There are more than 40,000 indoor farms in the United States that grow traditional crops. These farms can generate about $14.8 billion in economic value each year. Since vertical farms can shorten the growth time of crops

Risk tips


The legalization of marijuana for entertainment is less than expected: the promotion of marijuana legalization in American States is related to the short-term outbreak of plant grow light market. If the legalization of marijuana in American States is less than expected, the growth rate of the LED plant grow light industry may be less than expected.

Intensified industry competition: at present, the market scale of plant lighting accounts for the downstream applications of LED is relatively small, and the whole LED industry chain has been relatively mature. Global LED leading manufacturers are focusing on plant grow light. Intensified market competition may have an adverse impact on the profitability of companies in the industry.

Product price decline: the price of electronic products generally shows a downward trend year by year. In the long run, with the intensification of market competition, the impact of supply and demand, the improvement of production efficiency and the decline of production cost, the product price of the LED light sources and driving power supply company has a downward trend. If the company cannot offset the risk of price decline by effectively reducing the product production cost, or cannot continuously upgrade the product structure, The decline of the company’s product price will lead to the decline of the product gross profit margin and ultimately affect the profitability.

Written by ——
Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes
Double Bachelor's degrees in Architecture and Electrical Engineering, 5+ years of experience with LED lighting, intelligent moving lights, and conventional fixtures. Reach Me Now>>
Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes
Double Bachelor's degrees in Architecture and Electrical Engineering, 5+ years of experience with LED lighting, intelligent moving lights, and conventional fixtures. Reach Me Now>>
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