India loses nearly 38 percent every year of its total harvest due to a variety of reasons, mainly related to the lack of an efficient market linkage system as well as absence of a large scale climate-proof storage capacity.
This leads to rotting of harvest due to non availability of refrigeration facilities as well as poor availability of electricity.
Energy expenses account for about 28-30 percent of total expenses in cold storage in India. This means that electrical energy is a major running cost to maintain the cold storage facility so farmers often shy away from them.
With the rise in use of solar power, several Indian companies have developed storage rooms and cubicles, powered by solar energy, increasing the shelf life of the harvest nearly 10 times and boosting farmers’ incomes.
The solar-powered cold storage offers an ideal response to the needs of Indian farmers as it adequately addresses the problem of post-harvest losses in fruits, vegetables and other perishable food.
In these, the crop is placed in clean plastic crates, which are then stacked inside the cold room. This extends the freshness of fruits, vegetables and other perishable food from two days to about 21 days.
Cold rooms are well insulated in order to maintain the necessary temperature, often up to 8°C. The energy comes from the solar panels that are mounted on the roof-top of the cold room and is stored in high capacity batteries that feed an inverter, which in turn feeds the refrigerating unit.
Reference- Krishi Jagran, Ecofrost website