Indoor vertical farms are one solution to food insecurity in a world where climate change and sustainable development are becoming an ever-present concern for the common person. Access to affordable, nutritious, and sustainably grown produce is nearly non-existent in many places even in industrialized nations. Vertical farms are uniquely poised to fill the need and close the gaps in the system.
These farms use ninety-five percent less water and ninety-nine percent less land than traditional farms. In some cases, they grow without the use of soil of any kind. They are pesticide-free and, in some cases, avoid the use of petro-chemicals altogether, relying on organic matter for fertilizer. However, this comes at a huge energy cost. The lights, HVAC systems and any other automation and monitoring that may be used in these facilities represent a huge draw on the local power grid.
One of the great boons of indoor agriculture is that it allows us to move the source of food closer to the people. In a more urbanized area, the local infrastructure may not be sufficient to meet energy needs. In order to make the business viable, the local power grid would have to be upgraded. Such an upgrade represents a major investment by the local municipality of both money and time, thus delaying the implementation of indoor agriculture. The use of microgrids, however, would help to empower indoor agribusinesses to get off the ground by bypassing this problem.
Such investment not only solves a logistical problem that currently exists, but also helps to mitigate potential future problems. By becoming less energy-dependent, companies can plan better for future energy costs. This kind of energy certainty helps agribusinesses make the most out of available capital going forward.
And finally, not that we need another reason to invest in microgrids, but the pairing of indoor agriculture and microgrid technology is one of the most on-brand moves anyone could make. By constructing a powerful microgrid, using renewable energy sources, you not only decrease your carbon footprint but also demonstrate to your customers your commitment to a sustainable business model. It will also help to foster the use of renewables in the area as old infrastructure begins to crumble. It’s a win for all partied concerned.