$150 Million Available to California Growers for Energy-Saving Upgrades

An emergency proclamation has sparked new motivation for California growers to make facility upgrades. 

Early last year, the California Public Utilities Commission introduced the Market Access Program (MAP), a grid reliability program that encourages energy savings — especially during peak summer demand — by replacing inefficient equipment. 

Multiple utility companies participate in the program, including Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric. A few smaller municipalities and co-ops are also involved.

The state made $150 million available for the program. Yet to participate, there are requirements.

First, MAP is different from traditional utility rebate programs that issue checks based on qualifications after making LED lighting or technology upgrades. MAP focuses on electric grid reliability through energy-efficiency upgrades/retrofits and evaluates energy savings over a 12-month period after installation.

So not only do you need pre-authorization to participate, your incentive reward is based on actual energy savings over the prior year. You must also work through an authorized aggregator, rather than directly with your utility.

The payoff can be well worth the extra effort and patience.

“What’s flattering is that when I compare scenarios of lighting upgrades, as an example, I’m seeing the incentive award for the MAP program being in upward of 20%-30% greater through the MAP program,” said Lee Levitt, North American Utility Director for Current Lighting (formerly GE Current, A Daintree Company and Hubbell Lighting). 

This is because your award is disbursed over a year and is based on verified energy savings. California utilities do their energy evaluations similarly, but they may be slightly different as most make incentive payments each quarter, meaning you can receive up to four payouts. 

The MAP program’s main purpose is to increase reliability on California’s energy grid, as well as reduce the risks of blackouts or brownouts. For growers, the challenge is that California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted this program as an emergency proclamation. So there’s a limited pot of dollars available and a small window of time to make energy-saving upgrades.

“These program dollars will be committed working with an aggregator partner like Current on a pre-approval, first come-first serve basis,” Levitt added. “Projects need to be installed by August 2023, and no one yet knows if the program will continue with new funding or end permanently.” 

For now, the program is expected to run through at least September or October 2023. 

Besides being Hort Americas’ exclusive lighting provider, Current is also an authorized MAP aggregator. So participating in the program is easy. 

To get approved, simply contact your Hort Americas sales representative with a copy of your utility bill. This is required to validate your eligibility, which takes 2-4 days.

Or, if you’re new to Hort Americas and want to discuss a lighting upgrade at your growing facility — so you can benefit from these payouts — contact us today at 469-532-2383 or visit www.hortamericas.com.

Finding the balance to improve crop performance maintaining high energy efficiency levels

Annually, indoor and greenhouse growers produce significantly more lbs/ft3 of canopy compared to open field. It is a fact that we have learned how to improve crop productivity over the years and we are still expecting an exponential increase in this area. Now the most important challenge is to find the most energy efficient way to keep increasing crop productivity.

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Controlled Environment Agriculture Complex Opens at The Ohio State University with Industry Support and Enthusiasm

DALLAS and COLUMBUS, Ohio — Oct. 11, 2022 —When The Ohio State University opened its new Controlled Environment Agriculture Complex (CEARC) on Friday, Sept. 30, it represented a culmination of efforts between the school and industry. Companies such as Nationwide Insurance, Current (formerly GE Current), Priva and General Hydroponics (to name a few) made donations of both money and product.

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Starting seeds indoors with LED grow lights

Whether you grow indoors or in a greenhouse, proper plant development is profoundly dependent on the quantity and quality of light your crop receives. The photoperiod, light intensity, and light quality are key lighting properties in regulating plant growth and development. Yet whatever setting you grow in, using the proper grow light for seed starting presents an opportunity to begin your crop on the path to higher yields and a quality product. 

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Cultivate‘22: What You Can See (and Get) from Hort Americas

This year at Cultivate’22, we’re showcasing the latest in LED grow light technology from GE Current, a Daintree company.

While at our booth (#2421), you’ll see a variety of LED horticulture lighting products up close and in use, including:

We’re also introducing our new Intra-canopy lighting and a new higher output LED grow light.

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Free Download: Key Aspects about the Use and Management of LED Lighting in Crop Production

As LED grow lights continue to become more affordable, an increasing number of greenhouse growers and vertical farmers are considering whether the lights would benefit their production systems. Several studies and growers applications have demonstrated the development of new lighting technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can increase the capability to provide ideal light conditions to crops, making possible the improvement of crop performance and product quality.

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Photons and Yield

Light incidence over our crops will have a direct effect on yield. Photosynthesis is the most important process in plants to produce energy. But how can we relate photons of light to yield? Based on research we know now one mole of photosynthetic photons is required in order to produce one gram o dried biomass (yield).  

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