Stories & Features

Growing demand for our LED horticultural lighting incentive

Image of an illuminated greenhouse
A new standard for LED horticultural luminaires and incentives from BC Hydro can help growers make the switch.

New LED horticulture standard: "a game changer"

If you're a regular reader of our articles about industrial energy management, you'll know we encourage the use of LED lighting. And as part of that, we offer various incentives to help businesses make the switch and enjoy the benefits of this more efficient type of lighting.

However, when it comes to using LED lighting for horticulture, we've been a lot more cautious. Unlike general lighting applications, LED horticultural lighting is quite complex. We've explored it in depth, but have been reluctant to promote it until now.

BC Hydro engineer David Rogers, a world expert in hydroponics, with decades of horticultural lighting experience has been watching all this closely: "There are so many critical biological factors at play, such as plant species and photo-morphology and the role of lighting intensity and spectra on plant photosynthetic light absorption rates. We also have to consider environmental humidity, airflow and temperature management," he says. "In addition to the biological complexity, LED horticultural luminaires have had no industry standard benchmark until now."

Recently, the Design Lighting Consortium (DLC) has introduced a new standard for LED horticultural luminaires. "The new DLC standard is a game changer," says David. "This is a big learning curve for customers, though. There's a lot of science behind horticultural lighting, but if you're prepared to go on that journey, we think the results could be amazing."

5 steps to upgrade your lighting

While the science of LED horticultural lighting can get complex, the incentive program is very straightforward. Your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager will help you apply for up to 75% of your project cost – up to a maximum of $500,000.

Here's how it works:

1. Assess your lighting system and find savings

The first thing to do is work with an approved vendor from the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals to understand how well your current system is performing and see what sort of savings you might be able to make with LEDs. To be eligible, you'll need to meet these requirements:

  • Your horticulture lighting upgrade will save a minimum of 50,000 kWh/yr.
  • You're working with a Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager.
  • Your horticulture luminaires are:
    • approved by the Design Light Consortium
    • have a minimum efficacy of 2.3 μmols/J
    • have a minimum Power Factor of 96%
    • have a maximum Total Harmonics Distortion of 12%

2. Confirm your eligibility

If your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager is satisfied that you're eligible, they'll set up a pre-engagement meeting with BC Hydro Engineering and BC Hydro Alliance, who will review your eligibility, explain the technical requirements and answer any questions you might have.

3. Apply for your incentive

Once you've had a chance to review the project summary and your estimated incentive, ask your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager to submit your project for you. You'll also need to submit any necessary supporting documents from you or your vendor.

4. Get approved and start your project

When we've reviewed and approved your project and incentive, your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager will be in touch to confirm. Remember – it's important not to buy any new equipment until you get your approval.

5. Complete your project and receive your incentive

Once your new lighting is installed and your project is complete, just complete the schedules in your agreement and email them to us along with your itemized invoices. You should receive your incentive payment about six weeks later.

So why would you change? "Because it's the future," says David Rogers. "It's a fascinating new area to explore. Just as long as you understand that changing from sodium to LED changes so much more than just the light. It changes everything."

Is your facility ready for LED lighting?

To find out more about LED lighting for your horticulture facility, contact your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager, or call 604 522 4713 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.

Get the latest COVID-19 advice for your business

Make sure your team and your business are benefitting from the latest BC Government advice on COVID-19, including their Support for Businesses information.

And of course, BC Hydro is here to help. Reach out to your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager if you have any questions or concerns.