Cold storage units are a critical and crucial aspect of the supply chain management of perishable items, such as food products, vaccines etc. The reason why consumers today enjoy offseason fruits, vegetables, different kinds of cold meats and imported food items or any other perishable product is due to the presence of cold storage units. As per Collier’s forecast, the Indian Cold Storage sector is poised to grow at the rate of 14% CAGR in the next 2-3 years and growth will be driven by the rise in online grocery sales. Cold Storage facilities are therefore an emerging asset class in India.
Although this sector shows great promise, it is being affected by the rising energy costs. Two major operational components of a cold storage unit include labour and energy. Both of these components incur high investments. Since electricity is essential for a cold storage unit to function, the industry is heavily reliant on conventional sources of power. Irrespective, of any season, a cold storage unit has to maintain temperatures suitable to preserve perishable items. With the rise in electricity costs, the operational costs of cold storage units have been increasing steadily and will increase further as operations expand due to the growing demand for such services. For this reason, cold storage units have been heavily reliant on diesel-powered generators to keep refrigeration running day-in and day-out. This is not only an expensive way to keep these units running but also comes at a damaging environmental cost.
The most accessible and sustainable solution to tackle the growing prices of fuel and curtail pollution caused by non-renewable sources of power is to make a shift toward Solar Energy. This will not only aid the industry to save immensely by safeguarding cold storage units against rising energy costs but will also help in curtailing carbon emissions. The amount saved can then be utilised in expanding the cold storage supply chain network and make it technologically advanced and efficient to tackle the growing demand for perishable food items, medicines and vaccines.
Various factors that cold storage owners or proprietors should keep in mind while making a shift towards solar energy are as follows:
- Design Consideration: The rooftop solar power plant should be installed after the proper design of the plant has been carried out. This is to ensure that maximum power generation takes place.
- Surrounding Areas: The area wherein the solar power plant is to be installed, should be shadow-free so as to ensure maximum reception of sunlight.
- Size of Solar Panels: The size of solar panels is directly proportional to the amount of power that can be generated by these panels. Hence, it is advisable that solar panels having high watt peak values should be preferred or the number of solar panels should be increased to gain maximum production.
Scintilla Solar Corporation has designed and developed many rooftop solar power plant projects for cold storage units, over the years. These cold storage units have seen a drastic decline in electricity bills and the amount of diesel required to power generators has also gone down dramatically. Cold Storage units are the backbone of the supply chain network of India, and keeping these assets running without worrying about high electricity costs, is the need of the hour. Scintilla Solar Corporation realises this need and is working towards developing various rooftop solar power plants in this crucial industry segment.