Solar Power for Cold Chain - An Opportunity in South Asia
About 30% of fruits and vegetables grown in South Asia (India - 38.77 million tonnes amounting to US$ 13 billion) get wasted annually due to gaps in the Cold Chain. About 30-35% of these losses can be reduced by making use of solar photovoltaic power for cold storages and transporting the freshly harvested fruits and vegetables in refrigerated containers using solar PV panels. For India, we would need about 40,000 refrigerated containers of standard 20 feet size with about 20 million sq. ft. of solar PV panels fixed on their rooftops to be totally independent of the power grid or DG sets using fossil fuels, to transport this freshly harvested produce, placed strategically at various locations in the farms all across the country. Here, solar energy availability (Insolation) averages 5.0 KWh/sq. m/day with about 3000 sunshine hours per year and can be harnessed for a social cause.