Minister Pitches for Policy Framework to Promote Solar Energy in Dairies

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GRID-connected solar pumps will not only ensure free water for farmers but will also help them earn additional income by selling surplus energy, Raj Kumar Singh said.

Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy Raj Kumar Singh has stressed on the need for creating a policy framework to further propagate the use of solar energy in the dairy cooperative network for the benefit of farmers.

Singh was speaking at a workshop organised by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in New Delhi. He said that extensive use of solar energy in dairy value chain can significantly reduce operational cost and promote use of clean energy, PTI reported.

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In a statement, the Minister informed that the Centre is currently promoting solar pumps in the agriculture sector to ensure use of clean energy and at the same time reduce farm subsidy burden.

GRID-connected solar pumps will not only ensure free water for farmers but will also help them earn additional income by selling surplus energy, he said.

Dairy cooperative network

The entire dairy chain from village-level milk pooling to product delivery is energy intensive. The dairy network has around 1.65 lakh village-level dairy cooperatives, 218 district/ regional/taluk unions and 24 state dairy federations. About 15 million milk producers are affiliated with this network.

As at March-end 2018, the network maintains 72 million litres per day (MLPD) of processing capacity, 18 MLPD of chilling capacity and 38 MLPD of village-level milk cooling capacity.

According to NDDB Chairman Dilip Rath, the Board has started application of Concentrated Solar Thermal Technology (CST) in dairy processing plants to partly address the need of thermal energy in dairy cooperatives.

He said that 15 CSTs have already been installed in dairy cooperatives in four states — Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka — with the help of capital subsidy support from the Centre and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

CST can reduce the annual heat demand of the processing plant from 5 to 15 per cent, he added.

Solar energy-run village cooperatives

According to Dilip Rath, the Board has also stared propagating solar energy-run village cooperatives across the country after successful experiment of installing GRID-connected Solar PV systems with storage (if required) in village-level dairy cooperatives or milk collection centres.

The workshop highlighted solar energy as income source for dairy farmers. DISCOMs shared their initiatives and promoted the concept of solar as remunerative crop, the statement added.

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