How to Choose LED Drivers for Grow Lights

Grow Lighting Market Analysis

According to a market report from LED inside, the LED grow light market is expected to hit over $1.4 billion by 2020 and witnesses fast growth in applications such as vertical farming, commercial greenhouse, and indoor farming in the next few years. And the major growth will appear in US and Europe. LED inside estimates the European LED grow light market value is at least $625 million and has a 35% share of the global LED grow light industry, while the market in US shares 32% in 2016.

In the Asian market supply chain, Taiwan, Japan and Korean manufacturers have been picking up pace in the market. The famous EPI-wafer manufacturers like Sanan, Everlight and Epistar, that specializes in LED grow light packaging are projected to benefit from these recent developments, and also the power supply manufacturers like Meanwell and especially the ones who are able to provide quick customizations like uPowerTek will benefit from the great market growth.

Why Choosing LED for Grow Lights

1.  Special “Recipe”.

LEDs can be adjusted to a specific wavelength to provide the best growth and yield for a specific plant. Like humans, plants and animals have circadian rhythm, through the use of light, you can control the rhythm to “cheat” plants and animals, such as 20 hours are 24 hours a day, therefore increased the production. The biggest problem is that no one really knows the best wavelength of each plant and/or animal. Lighting companies and universities did a lot of research, trying to identify specific plant diet “light”, and will these recipes to apply for patent.

However, each type of plant responses to different formula is different, different kinds of the same plants seem to respond differently, and a plant may need different wavelengths of light, depending on its position in the growth process. It seems to be widely understood is that plants absorb about 450 nm and 660 nm of the main light (blue and red). But others said around 550 nm green light with infrared and ultraviolet rays is also very important. Before LED lighting really infiltrate into these markets, we need to know these different spectrum formula. Otherwise, if using the wrong recipe the growers may not be happy with that. But if you want to optimize production, the easily controllable LED lights can provide all the benefits.

2. Energy efficiency.

The LED plant growing lamp consists of a single diode that focuses on a specific wavelength of the spectrum required for plant photosynthesis. A light bulb emits white light, which contains all the colors of the visible spectrum. Plant photosynthesis requires only light of a particular wavelength, and all extra wavelengths in white light are wasted. LED provides the wavelength mixing needed in the correct proportions required for photosynthesis. These wavelengths are mainly red, orange and blue in the 580-630 nm and 420-470 nm ranges. With the growth of LED lighting, it is the most efficient way to provide the light sources needed for plant photosynthesis. With all the benefits of LEDs, it’s no wonder why more and more growers are adding LED grow lights to their plantation room.

Growing with LEDs is more economical than using bulb. When using LEDs bulbs, no ballast is needed because you can plug the growth light directly into a wall outlet. In addition, there is less demand for exhaust and air conditioning systems. As the LED life is 100 times longer than the traditional bulb, so no need to replace the lamp. To protect your LED from flickering, high quality flicker free LED driver has to be utilized. Also high quality LED driver protects the light from spikes and surges.

Key Factors When Choosing Right LED Drivers for Grow lights

1.High Efficiency

Efficiency or light efficacy is the key factor that high quality and high end product designers will consider when designing a new luminaire. The reason LED is replacing traditional light sources like HID is mainly due to the high energy converting ratio. Currently the highest efficiency an LED driver can reach is 96%, while normal drivers can only do 93-94% and the 2% is not only the energy saved, but also the 30-40% heat less generated thus the whole system reliability and life can be prolonged greatly.

2.Low Inrush Current

Since vertical farming industry requires high power density of the lights up to 5kW per square meter and the LED drivers are usually capacitive from input side, there can be very large inrush current once the system is powered on thus the inrush may trigger the MCB especially in the existing system which used HID before. Low inrush luminaires are especially needed in the retrofit grow light market.


3. Easy controllable or programmable.

In theory, using LEDs, we can better control the brightness of the LEDs since the amount of light provided is related to photosynthesis. Every plant is different in this respect and in the life cycle of the factory. Controllable light is provided creating the obvious advantages of tailoring the best light environment and tailored to different needs in different stages of growth. Currently uPowerTek is offering not only DALI, RS485 wired dimmable and Bluetooth wireless dimmable solutions, but also multiple output solution for tunable spectrum grow lights.  

4. Easy Connection

Traditional grow light market uses RJ12 connection for control system while traditional waterproof light system use M12 connectors for control, and now more and more growers realized that M12 is much more reliable than RJ12 but RJ12 is still having the dominant usage because of the cost and easy maintenance. uPowerTek provides both solutions to the market plus the easy adjustment knob solution.

easy connection

5. Customization

A better horticultural light control system usually needs a lot of customization such as controlling protocol, physical interface and even LED driver dimming optimization. Sometimes the form factor has to be changed to make the system more elegant. So customization is an important job for growers, and uPowerTek is a professional supplier who quickly provides customization for the market.


1.  uPowerTek has been focusing on flexible and intelligent solutions for grow lights and horticultural lighting applications in vertical forms for several years. 30-400W IP67 waterproof UL class P and ENEC certified drivers with unique features like dim to off and programmability are already in wide use globally.

2. The wide input voltage LED drivers for 277Vac/347Vac/380Vac/480Vac grid lines offer more choices for high power applications, especially in US and Canada.

3. Quick customization and professional service are one of the key reasons uPowerTek wins the global market.

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