Is it possible to have too many grow lights?
We see this mistake a lot. The thinking goes that more grow equipment is better, right? If light equals yield, then let’s go crazy with our lights. But wait. Is there a downside to having too many grow lights in our grow rooms? The answer is yes, and there is economic and scientific evidence to back it up.
First, we need to consider what is cost-effective and ecological. Many grow rooms are set up with a lot of grow lights and ballasts that need to be purchased up-front. Additionally, all this equipment will need to be replaced over time. Plus, we have the ongoing replacement costs of all those grow lamps. And, to top it all off, we have the monthly electrical costs of all of this excess.
Second, in addition to the fact that using too many grow lights in our grow room setup is horribly expensive and icky for the environment, you can actually get substantially poorer results by using too many grow lights. As a first point of reference, there is an actual limit on the amount of light a plant can use, known as the photosynthetic light-response curve. Should you reach the saturation level of light, or even go beyond it, you may see decreases in efficiency or yield. As a second point of reference, in nature, the sun interacts at different angles over the course of a day. Plants have adapted to this over millions of years, and receive the light at a better rate if plant lights can mimic the sun’s movement. That’s because photoreceptors respond more when the light is very intense, but need to reset. This reset occurs normally when the sun goes off-center for a period of time and then comes back.
How to get around these problems
Grow room lighting doesn’t need to be static. Much like track lights for your kitchen, you can have lights that also move freely to mimic the motion of the sun. By having fewer, more mobile lights, you can cover a larger swathe of the plant canopy with more even illumination. By using grow light movers you can outright remove nearly 30% of your grow lights. Maybe even more.
Realistically, we want to solve two growing problems at once. Grow light systems need to have sun-like intensity, but not cause serious overheating at the canopy level. Many growers may solve the light intensity problem by using too many grow lights at a greater distance.
Instead of relying upon an excess of lights, let’s design the grow room to use fewer lights but more efficiently. And, on top of that, let’s get our grow lights to better mimic the sun. We can get our grow light systems closer, but on a rail system so that heat and light intensity don’t build up too rapidly for the plants. This was the inspiration for our Light Rail system.
Fewer lights, better results
When we use too many grow lights, we can create unnecessary issues. But, with strategic movement systems, we can use fewer lights to receive the same, or even better results. Those results may include faster growth, even canopies, better light penetration, and higher yields. In other words, nature is ideal, and getting as close as possible to nature in the grow room will give us the best results.
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About the Author
Gualala Robotics Inc first came to light in 1986 in the small coastal town of Gualala, CA and then after seven years, the mover light facility relocated to Steamboat Springs, CO where it remains today as the world’s leading manufacturer of indoor grow light movers for indoor gardening and indoor grow setups.