Industrial vegetable growing in protected ground is one of the key segments of the agro-industrial complex of the domestic economy and is currently developing rapidly.
According to the “Teplitsy Rossii” (“Greenhouses of Russia”) association, the total area of industrial greenhouses in the country is about 2,500 hectares, more than 500 hectares of which are equipped with technological lighting systems that provide the possibility of year-round vegetable growing (fig. 1). The intensive construction of new greenhouses is facilitated by high consumer demand for fresh vegetables during the off-season and the state ban on the import of greenhouse vegetables to Russia. Russia’s agriculture development program for 2013 - 2020 puts projects on the establishment and development of greenhouses using artificial lighting in the list of priority areas of financing. In 2017 alone, the size of the area under lighting increased by 1.5 times.
60% of greenhouse production using lighting is the culture of cucumber (30% are tomatoes and 10% are green crops), since it is the cucumber that is most sensitive to changes in the illumination level. The modernization of greenhouses with the lighting system increases the cucumber yield indicators from 40-50 kg / m2 to 120-150 kg / m2. Therefore, the main growth occurs in winter, when prices for fresh vegetables are the highest.
Greenhouse lighting is one of the most energy-consuming areas of lighting. A significant level of illumination (from 10,000 to 30,000 lux) is required for normal plant growth and high yields. In terms of power consumption, large greenhouse complexes are comparable to small cities and towns. Their light is visible at a distance of many kilometers. Obviously, with such power consumption, electricity costs make up a significant part of the production cost, reaching up to 30-40%. In this regard, increase of the light sources and optical systems efficiency has become one of the most important challenges for manufacturers producing lighting equipment for the greenhouse industry.
LLC Greenhouse Combine “Maiski” (Kazan) was one of the first enterprises to conduct experiments on growing plants using supplementary lighting systems in Russia more than 20 years ago. The management of the combine was interested in Reflux sodium reflector lamps, which at that time had only appeared on the greenhouse market. The first lots of lamps showed good results, after which they became the main source of light for plants at the combine. Today the Greenhouse Combine “Maiski” still choose reflector lamps manufactured by Reflux Ltd. By now, the combine has installed more than 120,000 luminaires with Reflux lamps with a power of 600 W. This power could illuminate ten Moscow ring roads.