The global market value of LED agricultural lighting products is estimated to grow 212 percent to US$35.9 million next year from US$11.5 million this year, as more LED firms join the market to provide products at a lower cost, according to market researcher Topology Research Institute (拓墣產業研究所).
With more LED firms such as Royal Philips Electronics NV, Osram GmbH and Panasonic Corp joining the LED agricultural lighting market, rising competition had lowered the cost of manufacturing LED agricultural lighting products to NT$0.38 per lumen this year from NT$1.8 in 2010, Topology said in a report released on Tuesday.
Given that LED agricultural lighting products feature smaller sizes, lighter weights, longer life spans and zero thermal radiation, Topology forecast that the global market value of LED agricultural lighting products would increase 325 percent to US$11.5 million this year from US$2.7 million last year.
The figure is forecast to grow up to US$305.8 million in 2017, according to the report.
“We recommend that Taiwanese LED firms speed up collaboration with farm owners to build outdoor ‘plant factories’ illuminated by LED agricultural lights,” Topology analyst Janis Lin (林佩璇) told a forum in Taipei.
“Companies could also consider developing LED products that are tailor-made for unique plants to generate higher profits in this niche market,” she added.
Kinpo Group (金仁寶集團) in November 2011 opened a plant factory in Taipei to grow lettuce and arugula at its 413.75m2 farm, while power supply unit maker Delta Electronics Inc (台達電) in May announced it was searching for land in Taiwan to establish its own plant factories. LED chip packager Everlight Electronics Co (億光電子) has also established a “plant factory research and development unit.”
Citing Topology’s research, Lin said an LED agricultural lighting tube on average costs about NT$5,000 (US$168.94) in the market, while an LED tube lamp costs about NT$1,000. LED companies may improve their gross margin by selling LED agricultural lighting products, she added.
Lin also suggested that the Taiwanese government act as a business matchmaker for local LED firms in order to help them build sales channels or collaborate with vegetable farm owners to develop customized products.
“Even though LED agricultural lighting products are traded in a niche market, we hope the Taiwanese government can launch subsidy programs for local LED firms, because their Japanese, South Korean and Chinese rivals have been receiving strong support from their governments for a long time,” she added.