There are many electrical metrics by which the performance of an LED grow light system can be measured. Three of the more important characteristics growers should pay attention to are efficacy, LED life and driver life. In addition, growing measurements should also be taken into consideration such as spectrum, PPFD and PBFD. The combination of the electrical and growing metrics will give a good baseline as to how well the LED system will perform for your grow room.
Efficacy – how well the fixture converts energy into photons in the PAR range. May be used by regulatory committees to evaluate rebates. Energy outside of PAR will reduce the efficacy number making the fixture appear less efficient.
LED life – length to which the LEDs will last under normal operating conditions. Typically an LED will last for an extremely long time. We’re talking 30+ years. Many LEDs used in growing, such as UV LEDs, will have a shorter life span. Heat and drive current have a large impact on LED life.
Driver life – how long the driver will last under normal operating conditions. Typically driver life will determine the life of an LED system.
Spectrum – determines the quality of light output for plant growth. Because of the ability to pick specific nanometer wavelengths, LED spectrums can be finely tuned to a desired output. This gives the ability to create a spectrum for specific stages of plant growth. Unfortunately, that means an LED spectrum can also be manipulated in a negative way. See LED spectrums to understand how.