“Full spectra and UV are essential when it comes to indoor cannabis cultivation, from the plant’s cannabinoid production to its morphology,” says Donato Lucia, Account Manager of Valoya. The Finnish company manufactures LED grow lights based on years-long research with universities and other institutions. Together with Mika Linden (Vice President of Sales) and Brian Gandy (Technical Sales Director North America), the Valoya team explains the research behind their products, as well as future opportunities. “We are waiting to see what will happen in Germany, as we think it will result in a tidal wave in Europe.”
Cannabinoids as sun protection
At the forefront of Valoya’s company is the research behind their products. Donato explains: “We started doing research and trials on cannabis in 2014, in collaboration with an Italian institutional research center called Crea. Ever since, we have continued our trials and research with other institutes and customers, such as Hohenheim University in Germany and AGES in Austria.” And one of the important things they worked on for over 5 years is finding out how to increase cannabinoid production through lighting. “The cannabis plant originates from the Himalayas, where the plant produces cannabinoids (that for the plant work as antioxidants) as a sunscreen to protect itself from the excessive light. Through our research we have come to know how to use light to stress the plant into producing more cannabinoids. UV, for example, is an important component, which we have adopted into our lights.”
Donato Lucia, Brian Gandy and Mika Linden
Why full spectra?
As cannabis growers know, light is an essential aspect when it comes to indoor cultivation. However, Donato explains that it is important to choose the correct spectra. “Many companies sell grow lights that are monochromatic or dichromatic, meaning that they have red, blue, white, and combinations. However, this is like giving a child only sugar and fats. He will survive, but he won’t be able to express his full genetic potential. With full spectra, however, the plant is able to reach its full potential.”
And with their spectra, Valoya has come to know how they can guide the growth of plants, both in terms of cannabinoids and in terms of morphology. “Using our spectra, you can have plants producing lots of flowers while remaining relatively compact. While in nature the cannabis plant can grow up to 2-3 meters, in our multi-tier installation they normally remain under 1,5 meters.”
Lighting efficiency, on the other hand, should not be the only grower’s priority, the team explains. “Many competitors boast of having an extremely high efficiency. However, efficiency does not correspond to the quality of the end product. Something can run quickly and efficiently out of the box, but what is the quality of the lighting like after a couple of years? Therefore, quality consistency and full spectra should be the key aspects a grower is looking for instead,” adds Gandy.
According to Valoya, there is still a lot of market development for them to look forward to. “In Europe, we focus primarily on the pharmaceutical, high grade cannabis, whereas we focus more on medical and recreational production in the US. Our fixtures are compliant with GMP and GACP, which are prevalent standards in Europe. And we are looking forward to the future developments in the European market and the opportunities that will bring us. We are waiting to see what will happen in Germany, as we think it will result in a tidal wave in Europe. Also in the US, with more and more states becoming legalized, we are able to sell our products to states we have not yet been able to sell to before.”
Luckily, the overall demand for their products has been growing steadily. “While our products might be considered expensive, we have patented spectra and lasting quality, which are important assets of our products. In addition, we provide photobiology support for our customers, to personally assist them with the best light intensity for different phases, for example. This is something that differentiates us from the competition and that growers appreciate.”
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