Sundrop Farms solar tower

LIKE the first glimpses of the power station marking the beginning of the final 40-kilometres home, Sundrop Farm’s new 127-metre solar tower has already become an iconic image on the Port Augusta horizon.

Locals have been gobsmacked by the structure while entering and leaving the city, and the short space of time the construction phase has actually lasted.

Consisting of nine sections, the tower was assembled in short ten weeks.

The top part, where the central receiver (boiler) is placed, altogether weighs 234 tons.

The massive scope therefore required careful calculations to secure successful completion of what are understood to be the largest lifts to this height ever undertaken in Australia. 

Once operational, the central receiver will gather the solar energy from more than 23,000 computer-controlled mirrors and convert it to steam, which will then be used to produce multiple energy outputs.

The Integrated Energy System will heat the greenhouses in wintertime and on cold summer nights, to provide fresh water by desalinating seawater drawn from the nearby Spencer Gulf and to run a steam turbine to produce electricity.

The Integrated Energy System is the first large-scale concentrated solar power-based technology in the world to provide multiple energy streams (heating, fresh water and electricity) for horticultural activities. 

Since construction has commenced, more than 23,000 computer-controlled mirrors have been installed surrounding the tower.

These mirrors will collect the sun’s rays and reflect them onto the top of the solar tower.

When the system goes operational, over 15 million kilograms of tomatoes will be produced annually at the site using sunlight and seawater as main resources.

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TOWER QUICK FACTS

-  127-metres tall

- 23,000 computer-controlled mirrors.

- The top part weighs 234 tons.

- 15 million kilograms of tomatoes will be produced annually thanks to the tower.

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TOWER: When the system goes operational, over 15 million kilograms of tomatoes will be produced annually at the Sundrop Farms site.

TOWER: When the system goes operational, over 15 million kilograms of tomatoes will be produced annually at the Sundrop Farms site.