Goa subsidizes solar-powered mobile ‘cool cart’

This is a story in Konkani telecast on DD News, DDK, Panaji on 20/10/2012

Here is the synopsis

In a bold bid to give impetus to development & popularisation of solar energy as well as to provide employment to youth, the Goa State Horticulture Development Corporation in co-operation with Indian Council of Agricultural Research is providing solar-powered mobile carts with refrigeration facilities to unemployed youth and women at subsidized prices.  Equipped with three solar-powered chilled chambers, these carts maintain the quality of perishable food products like vegetables, fruits, dairy, fish, etc, while providing hygienic refrigerated storage without a grid connection.  The vendor can move about specially in rural areas where power supply is erratic.

The ‘cool cart’ as it is called has been developed by an innovative entrepreneur, Deepak Solanki, from Sancoale, Goa whose aim is to provide economic eco-alternatives for power requirements and to make Goa a solar energy hub.  The cart costs Rs. 82,000, but the Managing Director of GSHDC, Pai Kakode says that a subsidy of Rs. 62,000 funded through  Central Government Krishi Vikas Yojana and State Agriculture Department is given to popularize the use of the solar-powered cart.  It means those availing the facility have to pay only Rs. 20,000/- and an annual maintenance fee of Rs. 1000/- for a period of 5 years  for maintaining the battery and the cooling system.   With a storage capacity of 180 kg, it can be used even during the monsoon as it is fitted with a ‘hybrid’ battery which can also be charged electrically.  Easy to maintain  with just a switch button, the ‘cool cart’ is fitted with a technology similar to a refrigerator with a panel life of around 15-20 years.  It can be fitted on a tricycle or motorized tricycle which again are solar-powered.

India logs more than 300 sunny days in a year but the potential for solar energy has remained  largely untapped mainly due to high costs of photovoltaic panels.  However with falling prices of PV panels, increasing incentives by the government, as well as high fuel prices, use of solar energy is increasingly becoming a viable option.  Several states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, UP, etc.  have put in place their own solar energy policies to tide over power shortages. Under the National Action Plan for Climate Change, a National Solar Mission is already working towards achieving the target to generate 1000 MW by the end of 2013.

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