Blog Horticulture News article

Smarter lighting and savings with modulating control of LED lighting

Horticulture
Greenhouse Automation
Priva Connext
13 December 2022
LED Improvement Center
Starting in December, Priva Connext will be offering new options for improving the use of LED lighting. The light and screen control will be expanded with software for continuously modulating control of dimmable LED installations. “Modulating control offers more flexibility in lighting,” says Kevin de Kok, consultant. “Integrating it with energy management gives you additional savings, while plants get enough light.”

Branded content: Hortipoint Mediaproducties in partnership with Priva

The introduction of the modulating control could not be more timely. Many growers are struggling with the high energy prices, which are often forcing them to not use their light installations or to restrict their use. It is impossible to predict how long the overly strained situation will go on. What is clear is that every opportunity to save energy and make installations work more efficiently should be used. Large-scale replacement of HPS lights with LEDs is one example of this.

“LED installations use significantly less power per micromole of PAR light supplied, but the final efficiency also depends on how you use them,” says Kevin de Kok, Priva consultant. "Modulating control offers the greatest flexibility to make optimal use of the lighting installation. A dimmable LED installation is a requirement for this.”

Modulation and dimming

Modulation involves adapting different light sources (solar and LED) to meet the light demand. With separate software, LED lighting can already be dimmed. Connext 914 allows lamps to modulate based on the light the crop is already getting from the sun. The software uses data from the PAR sensor or Solarimeter for this purpose. By dimming LED light, the available amount of light is distributed evenly throughout the greenhouse. That is a big advantage over turning off some of the HPS lamps.

“Such broad functionality is unique," adds Marcel Beekenkamp, Technical Consultant. “But we didn’t stop there. The modulating control is fully integrated into Connext 914’s light and screen control. With this expansion, fixed spectrum LED fixtures and far-red light from almost all common manufacturers can be controlled. Because of the integration in Connext, we can also connect it relatively easily to the company-wide electricity management. This, in turn, opens up new perspectives in cost savings and the optimal use of the available installations.”

Kevin En Marcel Modulerend LED

Taking weather forecasts into account

Modulating control in itself offers opportunities to better balance costs and yields, says De Kok. “On sunny days, for example, the lights can be turned down a notch for a large part of the year. With modulating control, the user can set the setpoints for the lighting duration, PAR light level, light sum and up and down adjustment speed. During the day, it can be set so that the LED installation supplements the natural light, as needed.”

Just like with temperature integration, you can also anticipate sunny or cloudy days coming in the near future. De Kok: “If the weather is dark today and will in all likelihood be sunny tomorrow, you can choose to give less light today than if the weather were to be darker again the next day.”

Electricity management

“By the same principles, energy considerations can be involved in the use of light installations,” Beekenkamp continues. “Optimizing electricity management can result in huge savings. It would be a shame not to include light installations in this. With Connext 914, you can manage that integrally.”

The technical consultant notes that the climate software can also be linked to the national grid. When a customer is told to purchase or supply power, Connext takes care of implementing this, and it is taken into account in decisions about the use of light installations. Since all the relevant installations are connected and smart software is used, you can always determine the most efficient strategy for both energy and light management. That is virtually impossible with separate PLCs for dimmable light installations.

Standardized in Connext 914

In recent years it has already been possible to modulate dimmable LED installations through customization, using Priva Connext. The release of version 914 in December 2022 means that this kind of customization is no longer necessary. Modulating control of LED lighting is now available as an extension of the lighting strategy and offers additional possibilities for optimizing crop lighting and company-wide energy management.

New software version Connext included in Priva Connected

Are you considering purchasing Priva Connext software version 914 to control LED lighting modularly? In that case, Priva Connected may be just the thing for you.

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