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Futuristic Solar Panel Farm Produces 37,000 lbs of Food Per Year

Posted by Danny London on 4/1/2017 to Solar News

World's First Farm Using Solar Power and Seawater Opens in Australia

Sundrop Farms, a tomato production facility that is the first agricultural system of its kind in the world, celebrated its grand opening in Port Augusta, South Australia, last October.

Sundrop Farms
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World's First Farm Using Solar Power and Seawater Opens in Australia

Sundrop Farms, a tomato production facility that is the first agricultural system of its kind in the world, celebrated its grand opening in Port Augusta, South Australia, last October. The farm expects to produce 17,000 metric tons -- 37,000 pounds of tomatoes every year, about 13 percent of Australia's market share, and will be sold at a fixed price for 10 years exclusively at Coles Supermarkets.

Sundrop Farm Tomatoes

No Soil, No Pesticides, No Fossil Fuels, No Groundwater

Instead of soil, pesticides, fossil fuels and groundwater, Sundrop Farms uses only solar power and desalinated seawater to grow tomatoes across 49 acres. The water is pumped into the facility from the Spencer Gulf about 1.2 miles away where it is desalinated to water the farm's 180,000 tomato plants.

"The farm's solar power is generated by 23,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight towards a 115-meter (377-foot) high receiver tower. On a sunny day, up to 39 megawatts of energy can be produced -- Enough to power the desalination plant and supply the greenhouse's electricity needs," NewsScientist explained.S-Energy 250 Watt Poly Solar Panel Sale

"We knew that considering the increase in population that we had to address the food shortage, the water shortage, the energy shortage," Reinier Wolterbeek, chief technical officer at Sundrop Farms, said.

This process helps work around the area's desert climate that is unsuitable for conventional farming. Seawater-soaked cardboard keeps the plants cool enough to stay healthy during the hot months, and solar heating keeps the greenhouse warm during the winter months. The seawater helps sterilize the air and the plants are grown in coconut husks allowing them to thrive without the use of pesticides.

RenewEconomy reports the farm will produce more than 118 million gallons of freshwater each year, the equivalent of 180 Olympic size swimming pools, and displace the use of more than 2 million liters of diesel a year.


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