Energy consumption can account for between 40-50% of production costs in vertical farms and lighting costs alone can account for 25-30% of the operational costs. LettUs Grow, has integrated an Agile Business tariff into its Ostara management system that enables indoor farmers to adjust their plant’s growth cycles to align with lower energy costs.
The partnership with Octopus Energy has just won the Best Energy Efficiency category of the Zenith Global Vertical Farming Awards.
Jack Farmer, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of LettUs Grow explains that the crops are given ‘down time’ between 3-7pm when electricity is in high demand and most expensive. “This can ultimately cut down on costs, reduce the environmental impact of vertical farms and also takes some pressure off the electrical grid at times when the UK usually has to call on fossil fuel generators to meet demand. Octopus have developed a tailor made tariff ‘Vertical Power’ especially for vertical farms.”
Optimising performance minimising cost
Ostara is a farm management toolbox which can provide agile, closed-loop control and be used to optimise plant growth.
Vertical farming – growing crops indoors under fully controlled conditions using LED lights – is undoubtedly an energy-intensive process, however vertical farms are steady and predictable energy users that have been proven to integrate well with renewable energy production. If supplied by renewable energy, vertical farming can have a carbon footprint of zero, which will help the UK work towards its goal of net zero by 2050.
Jack continues: “Our two research and development vertical farms, based in Bristol, are both powered by Octopus Energy’s 100% renewable energy. We have also teamed up with Octopus Energy to integrate our very own farming management software platform Ostara with their Agile Octopus smart tariff, which received recognition at the Global Vertical Farming Awards and the Better Society Energy Awards this year.
By integrating an Agile Business tariff into Ostara, indoor farmers can adjust their plant’s growth cycles to align with lower energy costs.
Here at LettUs Grow, we are dedicated to reducing carbon footprints, as well as food waste; we are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact and reliance on fossil fuels. We are thrilled about winning two energy awards this year with Octopus Energy, and hope our collaboration can continue to bring forth more positive impacts.
Agri-TechE has an event on 22nd February 2022 about the use of light for agriculture and it will feature a number of energy-efficient technologies. More information Let There Be Light – Powering Plant Production