The SGL LED440 grow lighting systems on the pitch of Estadio de la Cerámica, home of Villarreal CF.
Estadio de la Cerámica, Spain

Adding pink LED to the yellow submarine


Villarreal CF is a football club based in Villarreal, Spain, and plays its home games in Estadio de la Cerámica. As part of the stadium renovation, the Primera Division club took the next step in responsible pitch management, making them the first Spanish club to embrace LED technology. Villarreal CF integrated 3 LED440 grow lighting units to maintain the stadium pitch, along with 3 LU440’s and 6 LU120’s. Here’s why LED, complemented by HPS, is the best solution for ‘El Submarino Amarillo’.

Permanent shade and a late start of the lighting season
Utilise the best of both LED and HPS technology
An early start of the lighting season and energy-efficient grass growth throughout the year


Located in the province of Castellón, near the Spanish east coast, Villarreal benefits from a Mediterranean climate. During winter however, there’s not sufficient heat and light to enable grass growth and guarantee a high-quality playing surface.

In addition, the stadium construction causes (permanent) shaded areas on the pitch. The stadium construction casts an L-shaped strip of shadow on the south-east side of the pitch.

The downside of the Mediterranean climate is that the grounds team can only use the HPS grow lighting units, which emit light and heat simultaneously, to a limited extent in the summer due to the existing warmth. During the pre-season, the Villarreal grounds team encounters situations where there is sufficient warmth but not enough light for optimal grass growth. As a results, they have to postpone the start of the lighting season with the HPS grow lighting units, impacting the quality of the grass.

Shade on the pitch of Estadio de la Cerámica, home of Villarreal CF.


To determine what is the best option for the Estadio de la Cerámica from an agronomical perspective, the SGL agronomy department compared pitch quality with and without lighting units. The agronomy team also made a comparison between the amounf of kWh usage of our HPS lighting rigs and the combination of HPS and LED grow lighting units to determine what the most efficient solution would be.

An LED performance & efficiency calculation gave further insight into the possible energy savings, running costs, the grass quality that can be achieved, and the return on investment.

To achieve the desired grass quality and start the lighting season early in the year despite the warm summer, Estadi de la Cerámica stadium management decided to invest in 3 LED440 grow lighting units to add to the existing 6 HPS grow lighting units.

The SGL LED440, LU440 and LU120 on the pitch of Estadio de la Cerámica, home of Villarreal CF.


Especially during winter months, pitch quality takes a dip if there’s no alternative light source present. In November, December, January and February, pitch quality would drop below 70%. With grow lights, the grounds team manages to maintain a playing surface with a minimum of 95% pitch quality.

LED’s independent control of light and heat, enables the grounds team to deploy the grow lighting units solely with light radiation. Thanks to this feature, they can start the lighting season earlier in the year, even though temperature in the stadium is still high enough. This allows them to achieve a high-quality playing surface earlier in the run-up to the opening match.

An additional advantage is that using the LED grow lighting units without infrared is more energy-efficient, offering energy savings of up to 40%. As a result, the Villarreal grounds team can start the lighting process early in the year, quickly achieve high grass-quality, and maximise energy savings.

Three SGL LED440 grow lighting systems on the pitch of Estadio de la Cerámica, home of Villarreal CF.

Responsible pitch management with LED technology

For Estadi de la Cerámica, starting the lighting season early and maintaining a high-quality playing surface throughout the season, was a big reason to embrace grow lighting technology. A combination of LED and HPS grow lighting technology is the perfect solution for the Mediterranean climate in Spain and the permanent shaded area in the stadium. It enables an early start to the lighting season and ensures that energy savigns are maximised.

Whether you’re looking to increase the quality of the playing surface, want to hit sustainability goals, or want to save money; investing in LED technology can be a well-considered investment.

If you want to know more about LED technology and how your venue can benefit from SGL services, don’t hesitate to plan a free consultancy with one of our expert.

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