After many years of unrealistic performance claims, LED grow lights are finally outperforming HPS
Just a couple of years ago I remember discussing LED lights with the Dutch Passion team over a coffee in Amsterdam. We were all in agreement, LED (Light Emitting Diode) grow lights were getting better each year but were still not good enough. They grew good bud directly below the light, but yields were not that impressive in general.
But after seeing some truly amazing results over the last 12 months and after seeing some remarkable recent progress in LED technology we have finally realised that LED is now competing with HPS lights. I never thought I would be saying that in 2012, but Dutch Passion are finally convinced about LED.
Things really changed when we saw LED pioneer Seymour Buds produce an amazing 350 grams of top quality bud from a single 300watt LED panel using a DWC (deep water culture) grow. That was with last-years LED technology using 1 watt diodes, and the performance was the equivalent of 600w – 1000w of HPS. He now has an even better panel (using the latest more intense 3 watt diodes) for the world’s first public grow diary of our stunning new AutoFem called Think Different. You can follow his grow diary here, it is on the highly recommended AutoFlower Network which is the best forum for AutoFem enthusiasts. Dutch Passion also have a dedicated forum there to communicate with our customers.
The electronics industry traditionally manufactured the LED diodes in 1 watt units. In the last 12 months we have seen the arrival of 3W diodes in the full range of colours. These 3 watt units are the ones used in Seymour’s current Think Different LED grow. They are allowing previously unseen rates of growth in the plant and rootball. This in turn is supporting lavish levels of bud production. The future looks bright, with LED manufacturers working on 5W and even 10W diodes for the future.
Research and technical advancement in LED is giving rapid progress, far faster than any of us realised. The intensity of light produced from a diode increases by a factor of 20 each decade. In the same time period the cost of production falls by 90%. It is called Haitz’s law. Just think for a moment about where that will put LED grow-light technology in a few years, and how cheap it will make them. The death of HPS lights has been predicted before, but this time it really looks like the end is near. The only reason LED grow lights had a historically poor reputation is because of some early silly performance claims. Here is an interesting technology review of LED from the LED market leaders Hydrogrow.
HPS lights waste 75%+ of their energy producing heat. With LED the opposite is true, most of the energy is used to generate light, not heat. That gives the grower more lumens per watt of power used and gives LED new levels of efficiency. That is not the only benefit of LED. LED grow-lights use a mix of different red, blue and other carefully blended LED colours to get the perfect wavelengths of light for the cannabis plant. HPS lights, for example, waste a lot of energy producing ineffective yellow wavelengths. LED is so efficient and long lasting it will eventually make even domestic fluorescent lights obsolete.
Right now you are witnessing the start of a silent revolution in grow-light technology. LED uses less electricity to grow great quality weed, LED lights last longer and give off less heat making grows cheaper to run and stealthier. LED growers don’t need to worry as much about heat extraction for example. And Haitz’s law tell us that LED performance will continue to improve dramatically while prices drop. And we know from the results that Seymour has achieved that LED produces top quality bud in large amounts.
The world of cannabis continues to surprise even the Dutch Passion team. When we started 25 years ago we never knew that feminized seed and AutoFem varieties would be dominating sales today. We never imagined that LED would be giving the results we see today. LED will mean there will be more surprises in store future of indoor growers. Perhaps greenhouse AutoFem growers of the future will use solar panels to harvest solar power during the day to run LED panels at night. Perhaps the ability to tune the spectral output of LED to the ideal requirements of the cannabis plant will have an impact on the types of cannabis that will be grown and the future varieties which we will be breeding for you. Maybe finely tuned LED lights will influence the cannabinoid profile of the variety being grown.
No-one knows for sure what the future of the cannabis seed business looks like but we are now looking more closely than ever to see what LED will mean for Dutch Passion, and more importantly what it will mean for you, our customers.