Supplemental Lighting

Supplemental lighting is required to optimize plant growth, plant quality and ultimately profits in low light conditions such as mornings/evenings, winter days with low light levels, and cloudy days. Ceres’ greenhouses are engineered with full-spectrum UV glazings, so that artificial lighting is always supplemental.

sun harvesting- high yield kit greenhouse

Greenhouse Lighting: How is Ceres Different?

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Artificial Lighting or Natural Lighting?

Understanding PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density), DLI (Daily Light Integral), and PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) is necessary in order to understand that while “lighting” can be created, its source does generate a meaningful difference in plant growth. Knowing the specific amount of sunlight you have in your location and how much light your plants need, will determine both the type of glazing and supplemental lighting strategy.

Free the Sun

Ceres’ Greenhouses and SunChambers™ are sunlight focused growing structures. This means that our primary lighting source is the sun. It is the basis of our entire design, using the full spectrum of the sun to allow the highest lighting levels including UV, deeper light penetration. All of those benefits and, best of all, taking advantage of the sun is FREE. The glazing can be either clear or diffuse or have a different haze to ensure light penetration through the canopy.

residential backyard kit greenhouse
Supplemental Lighting Plan- 8 lights
Lighting plan with 8 supplemental lights
Supplemental Lighting plan- 5 lights
Lighting plan with 5 lights
Supplemental lighting plant- 4 lights
Lighting plan with 4 lights

Supplemental Lighting Design and Layout

To have the most optimal use of supplemental lighting there are a few things to consider: 

  • Your location dictates how much sunlight you can have on a daily basis and how many lights you need to purchase to have an optimal plant growth.  For example, if your target is 40 DLI in Boulder, CO, the average in winter months you can have from the sun is around 10 mol/m²/d. Therefore you’ll need the supplemental lighting to provide the 30 missing mol/m²/d. 


  • Your goals in terms of yield and energy usage can impact the DLI you need. In a cloudy location with energy codes and regulation, you might need to reduce your DLI target to 35 and we’ll size the artificial lighting accordingly. Not only does it reduce upfront cost but also energy usage. 

Reduced Energy Usage with Smart Controls

The most basic type of control is simply turning on and off your lights based on a timer schedule. We typically will recommend using LED fixtures that allow for dimming of the power and light intensity. Therefore, the intensity will be adjusted on an instantaneous base to compensate for the sunlight variability. The light sensors in the greenhouse take readings every 2 seconds which allows for accurate sensing and maximum yield. Using a light sensor (PAR sensor) can bring to some more complex sequence of operation to reduce energy usage but without impacting the yields. Please see our blog related to lighting controls for more information.  

inside greenhouse- lighting strategy

Other Greenhouse Technology

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