Sundrop Farms, which is using seawater to grow crops in greenhouses on arid land near Port Augusta, has entered into a partnership with the global investment company, KKR. The deal will allow it expand its current pilot greenhouse into a 20 hectare commercial facility able to produce 15,000 tonnes of fresh vegetables annually. The company has also secured a 10-year agreement with Coles to buy tomatoes from the farm.

The facility will include a solar plant consisting of a 100 metre high solar power tower topped by a 15 metre high solar receiver and a ‘solar field’ of around 11,000 stands, each holding three heliostat mirrors. The solar tower will contain a boiler to generate steam, which is condensed into hot water that will heat a closed loop system of hot water that will transfer heat to the greenhouses.

Sundrop and KKR intend to develop a hub of agricultural innovation for arid climates in Port Augusta which will allow for
further development in countries with similar environmental conditions.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.