Costs increase when using artificial lighting

The production of leafy vegetables under artificial lighting is not cheaper than conventional growing, HAS University of Applied Sciences senior lecturer Jasper den Besten told a meeting of Dutch growers last month.

Image: Gavin McEwan
Image: Gavin McEwan

While the technique brings savings of crop protection products, it requires high levels of capital investment and the cost of electricity to power the LED lighting systems.

He put the capital cost per square metre of growing area at EUR1,500 (£1,100), equating to around EUR1 per day over likely production lifetime, while likely electricity use of 3-4 kWh per square metre costs EUR0.18-EUR0.50.

Annual production of Salanova lettuce per square metre in such a system would be 70-140kg, or 350-700 heads.

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