2 August 2013
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Sundrop Farms have announced in-principle agreement for CEFC to co-finance a major greenhouse development near Port Augusta, South Australia which will use solar-thermal technology to desalinate seawater to provide irrigation, and to heat and cool the greenhouses.
Sundrop Farms is building a 20-hectare greenhouse facility which will produce over 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year for metropolitan markets across Australia.
This world leading application of solar technology is particularly suitable for sustainable horticulture in arid regions. CEFC financing would be for approximately one quarter of the project cost, with remaining financing currently being finalised.
CEFC CEO, Oliver Yates said, "CEFC is pleased to be helping to catalyse finance for this exciting project. It is an example of the types of applications to which the clean energy technology can be applied to transform the Australian economy and create new industries in regional areas. Once implemented, this project would be a worldwide demonstration of sustainable horticulture practices that address growing food security, water and clean energy challenges. Australia is starting to embrace the opportunities clean energy technology can provide, and to appreciate how these technologies can be applied across many sectors of the economy from farming through to manufacturing."
The project should be completed by mid-2015 and when fully operational will employ about 200 people. The construction phase will also provide substantial opportunities for local and State-based businesses.
The Sundrop Farms System™ uses solar energy to desalinate seawater, relying mainly on renewable inputs and allowing food to be grown in regions usually considered not suitable for agriculture. The system creates a high quality, tasty product.
Sundrop Farms founder and CEO, Philipp Saumweber said, "We have now completed a highly successful commercial trial of our system in Port Augusta and have received positive feedback from national customers. CEFC's finance provides an important foundation for the project, facilitating investment from other banks."
About Sundrop Farms
Sundrop Farms is a leader in sustainable horticulture for the arid world, growing high-value crops in greenhouse settings utilizing abundant and renewable resources - seawater and sunlight. The revolutionary Sundrop Farms system integrates solar collectors, desalination technology, electricity production and climate control, solving many food and water security issues in agriculture. An experienced, dynamic and passionate team is transforming Sundrop Farms into becoming a global leading provider of natural fresh produce and environmentally responsible horticultural solutions.