Supplemental lighting can be beneficial or even necessary for the year-round production of high quality plants. Many greenhouse crops benefit from supplemental light in the winter months when there is relatively little sunlight. For production of horticultural crops in plant factories, supplemental light is critical, since crops are grown inside buildings, where they may not receive any sunlight. Unfortunately, supplemental lighting is expensive, because of the large amounts of energy required for electric lights.
The goal of our research is to help the controlled environment agriculture industry get the most value out of their lighting system. Lighting is expensive; both the initial capital expense and the operating expenses are high. Incorrect decisions related to purchasing and operating a lighting system will reduce profitability. To help our stakeholders make optimal decisions for their particular situation, we collaborate with other plant scientists/horticulturists, engineers, agricultural engineers, and data scientists. This collaborative work is done under the umbrella of project LAMP, funded by the USDA’s specialty crop research initiative.