Chilean fruit farms harvest the sun for water

Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest regions on earth and one of the best locations for sunshine, might become a great place to raise fruit using solar energy to drive its irrigation systems.

Subsole, a large locally owned fruit exporting company, secured a $32 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to increase output by 60 per cent over four years and by expanding farming in the Copiaoo valley, 800 kilometres north of Santiago. Subsole is building a 300-kilowatt peak solar photovoltaic plant to pump water from underground aquifers. The plant will also run cooling plants.

Better Farming - February 2012