• The Government of India has decided to extend the 30% subsidy scheme for solar installations to power cold storages
  • Only 10 such cold storages are currently operational in India
  • Limited manufacturers in the field and increased cost are some of the reasons that hamper growth
  • Government wants to support the industry, so food products can be cooled to last for a longer time and farmers are empowered to sell their produce for fair rates

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has extended the subsidy scheme that it currently offers for most solar power installations to solar powered cold storages as well. So far, the government offers a 30% subsidy for solar installations for both rooftop and large scale projects under its various programs.

At present the country has a total of 10 solar powered cold storages that also have battery back-up. There are a very limited number of manufacturers for such systems. With the ministry extending the subsidy to such installations, the government hopes to improved the prospects for the industry. Speaking to local business daily, The Economic Times (ET), Joint Secretary at the MNRE, Tarun Kapoor, said, “Government support should enable many more to be set up, while existing ones can scale up.”

According to the report, while solar powered cold storages require a much higher investment than conventional products, the latter consume much more power, around 20% to 30% of their running cost. Another advantage of solar powered cold storages is that they can be easily used in remote areas that are off-grid or suffer from frequent power outages. Recently, Greenpeace initiated a crowd funding drive to arrange finance for a cold storage system in Kedia village of Bihar (see Solar Powered Cold Storage In India).

The initiative is also aimed at having positive social and economic effects by empowering farmers most of who are forced to sell their produce to middlemen directly after the harvest at reduced prices as they fear their agricultural might go bad. With a cold storage at their doorstep, farmers can efficiently bargain for the products of their hard work and eliminate the role of middlemen. Instead, they could directly sell to larger retail chains and even the e-commerce world would be accessible.