April 4, 2022
Sollum Technologies, a Canadian company providing dynamic LED grow lights solution for greenhouse producers, breaks into the international market with Maarel Orchids in the Netherlands. With close to 22 acres of greenhouse facilities producing more than 115,000 orchids weekly, Maarel Orchids is a key player in the worldwide hub of horticulture with a strong focus on innovation and sustainability.
Maarel Orchids’ state-of-the-art facilities use a fully automated flower sorting system that maximizes efficiency and minimizes costs. Maarel is no stranger to putting cutting-edge technology at the forefront of their business strategy. “We pride ourselves on aiming for perfection in our greenhouse operations so we can consistently produce the highest quality orchids,” says Rene Vissers, Managing Director, Maarel Orchids. “Sollum’s dynamic LED lighting solution gives us the ability to control every aspect of our lighting so that it continuously meets the needs of our plants, even as they change.”
As a global hot spot for cut flower cultivation, the Netherlands presents a highly soughtafter market for the top horticultural lighting companies. Sollum was recommended to Maarel by Ledgnd, a brand independent lighting advisor company based in the Netherlands that matches LED light providers to growers. “As a strategic partner of Maarel Orchids we recommended Sollum because they had the most complete lighting solution for the needs of this project,” says Ramón van de Vrie, director of Ledgnd. “Now we intend to make sure that the integration of the lighting is successful so we can work towards the results in the cultivation that we and Maarel Orchids are aiming for.”
Louis Brun, CEO of Sollum Technologies, sees the events as a key breakthrough for Sollum on the international market, saying “Maarel provides the perfect example of the high- quality ornamental production we have come to expect from the Netherlands and being recognized by them as well as Ledgnd as the top choice of lighting providers for this project is a true testament to our company’s ability to meet the diverse needs of our clients and their high standards.”
The project with Maarel follows various gains made by Sollum on the North American continent: in Québec and Ontario in Canada, as well as in the United States.
In November 2021, Sollum completed a project with Allegro Acres in Kingsville, Ontario, its largest smart LED lighting installation. The increase from 4 to 12 acres of LEDlit greenhouse production represents the largest-ever deployment of Sollum’s unique technology and is a significant step in the drive to improve food security and sustainability in Canada.
“With this expansion, now even more Canadians will be able to enjoy fresh, locally grown peppers all winter long,” said Gene Ingratta, President of Allegro Acres. “We were so pleased with last year’s harvest of winter-produced peppers, which was the first ever in Canada using LED lighting technology, that we decided to triple our acreage. Sollum’s solution was a big part of our success, and there was no question that it was going to be part of our plans going forward.”
“Sollum’s smart LED lighting solution gives greenhouse growers unparalleled, realtime and remote control of their lighting, and opens unprecedented opportunities for the horticultural industry,” said Sollum CEO Louis Brun. “Year-round production is one of the benefits, which also include improving growers’ productivity and adaptability, increasing Canadian food autonomy and strengthening local economies.”
In total, Allegro Acres’ expanded operation covers 12 acres and utilizes more than 12,000 smart lighting fixtures connected to Sollum’s industry-leading SUN as a Service® cloud platform. Watch the video for a close-up view.
In Quebec, the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire du Québec (ITAQ) has replaced their greenhouse HPS lights with Sollum Technologies’ dynamic LED grow light solution. The technology is deployed in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec on one of the 30 greenhouses and cold tunnels of the complex. This change will enable more robust studies on the efficacy of various light recipes
ITAQ offers training across the value chain. Continuing training and education programs focus on the challenges faced by operators, mandatory regulations, and overall health. The ITAQ covers agricultural and animal production, agromechanical engineering, design, management and operations of green spaces and agricultural land, safety and food processes, agri-environment and equine techniques. The agro-environmental college program allows students to pursue applied research objectives in the Institute’s controlled environment greenhouses.
“With great success, we are currently using Sollum’s dynamic LED grow lights to conduct research on greenhouse peppers and eggplants,” says professor and agronomist, Caroline Vouligny. “The smart LED fixtures are a significant upgrade from our previous HPS lights and allow research students to gain experience with leading edge technology in the controlled environment field.”
The ITAQ has over 160 m2 of greenhouse space fully equipped with Sollum’s smart lighting solution, including the award-winning Sollum smart fixtures, the SUN as a Service® cloud platform, as well as the technology’s sensors, network, and edge computing. “We are proud that our technology is being used in both education and research to inspire young innovators and produce novel scientific findings,” says Gabriel Dupras, Sollum Technologies’ co-founder and Vice President of Research and Development. “We look forward to hearing from professors and students about how our lights continue to drive research and learning on ITAQ’s campus.”
Aisha Issa, M. Sc., Executive Director and Interim Director of Studies Department, mentions “at ITAQ we are mobilizing our internal community and putting effort to improve our infrastructures in a way that will accelerate the technological transition of Québec’s agri-food industry. This will lead us as community to food autonomy and the autonomy of our production capacities through smart operation.”