Out of the Blue

No Freshwater Required for These Tomatoes

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No Freshwater Required for These Tomatoes

A solar farm set to open in southern Australia will use sunlight and seawater to grow bumper crops of tomatoes.

The Sundrop Farms site, in Port Augusta, 300km north of Adelaide, has 23,000 solar panels, the energy from which is used to desalinate saltwater pumped from the nearby Spencer Gulf. In all, the $200 USD solar farm facility only relies on the grid for 10% to 15% of its power, and, requires no freshwater.

Head grower Adrian Simkins told ABC: “It's almost the perfect water ... You're taking all the salt out of it, there's no disease aspects, it's very pure and then we're able to enhance it with the nutrition that the plants require."

The greenhouse on the facility is expected to produce at least 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes commercially a year. Further sites are planned for Portugal and the US, as well as more in Australia.

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All images: Sundrop Farms/Facebook

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