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Innovator Spotlight:
SunMed Growers

Cecil County, Maryland, USA

SunMed Rises in the East
It is difficult to imagine a more picturesque setting or a more awe-inspiring monument than SunMed Growers’ 250,000 ft2 greenhouse in Warwick, Maryland. Situated at the northeastern end of Chesapeake Bay, where the Bohemia River and the Backcreek cut like roots into the land, third-generation owner Jake Van Wingerden is not just keeping his family’s deep-rooted dreams—he’s growing them.

While Jake’s grandfather grew beautiful pansies and poinsettias, the ever-evolving market has seen a new medicinal crop—cannabis–take wing. Six years ago, SunMed’s facilities spanned 70,000 ft2 and relied on HPS lighting. However, in 2019, Van Wingerden retrofitted the expanding facility to incorporate Fluence’s LED technology (VYPR) as part of their automated and optimized system that includes a Dutch rolling table to move plants between stages. By doing so, SunMed has ensured consistency and quality throughout the year. Long respected in the community and with a powerful legacy, SunMed is now the largest cultivator in Maryland and continues to expand and grow. Currently, their renowned team and Fluence’s horticultural experts are working together to double the facility’s light intensity, made possible by Fluence’s advanced LEDs and an unrelenting dedication to science.

SunMed & Fluence Retrofit - Leaf Wave

Project Overview 

Cultivator Name:SunMed Growers
Location:Cecil County, Maryland, USA
Crop:Cannabis
Fluence Fixture:VYPR 2p, Broad R3 (Greenhouse Spectra)
Type of Facility:Greenhouse (250,000 ft2 )
Results:30% Yield Increase (in most popular strains)

Consistent and/or elevated levels of potency

Increased light intensity while decreasing energy costs and unwanted heat

Challenges

SunMed & Fluence Retrofit - Leaf WaveIncrease-Energy
SunMed & Fluence Retrofit - Fully-Automated.png
SunMed & Fluence Retrofit - Expanding-Space.png

Burning the Boats andBuilding an Empire

Pre-implementation Challenges:

  • HPS light systems are energy inefficient, costly, and produce more radiant heat
  • Expanding from 70,000-250,000 ft2 is a big commitment and requires full optimization
  • Focus on automation and technological efficiency—Fluence LEDs are expertly-designed for integration

Goals:

  • Increase overall yield by maximizing light intensity and quality (LEDs produce less heat)
  • Reduce energy costs through hyper-efficient LED technology (decrease lighting and HVAC costs)
  • Implement a fully-automate-able lighting system that pushes the limits of what is possible

Massive Energy Savings While Increasing Yield

Before expanding his SunMed facility, Jake Van Wingerden wisely trialed Fluence’s LEDs to see if they would fit his automated and high-tech greenhouse. He must have seen the light because Fluence VYPR top lights now grace the vivacious leaves and bulging buds across the 250,000 squared-footprint of SunMed Growers in the wonderful town of Warwick. Their most popular strains have seen yield increases of 30%, and many strains have shown consistent and elevated levels of potency due to higher light intensities and optimized procedures. Even in the winter months, when DLI is naturally lower in many parts of the world, Fluence’s VYPR provides the necessary supplemental lighting that a large facility and premium plants require. Not only can advanced LEDs integrate seamlessly with other modernized and automated technologies, but also the VYPR has proven to reduce energy costs significantly while pushing light intensities to double their previous limits. It is exciting to watch SunMed Growers as they pioneer the newest boundaries at the intersection of light and life.

SunMed & Fluence Retrofit Results - Increase Yield

30% Yield Increase (in most popular strains)

SunMed & Fluence Retrofit Results - Elevated Potency

Consistent and/or elevated levels of potency

Increased light intensity while decreasing energy costs and unwanted heat

Related Resources

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