Thinley Namgay

The solar-powered cold storage facility at Bondey, Paro is expected to provide eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions to storage challenges faced by the agricultural sector.

This initiative intends to increase the shelf-life for perishable goods, reduce post-harvest losses, and increase market access for farmers.

As of now, farmers across the country have lost their agricultural produce, especially in harvesting seasons owing to lack of cold storage facilities.

The cold storage was launched by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MoENR) and International Solar Alliance (ISA).   MoENR Minister Gyem Tshering and ISA’s Director-General Dr Ajay Mathur inaugurated the facility recently.

The five metric tonnes (MT) solar powered cold storage in Bondey is one of the joint projects between MoENR and ISA since Bhutan became a full member of ISA in October 2022.

The solar-powered cold storage unit, designed with cutting-edge solar PV technology and thermal storage capabilities, can maintain temperatures between 4 and 10°C.

The other solar-powered cold storage was set up in Zhemgang. These two facilities have a combined capacity of 10MT and are backed by 12 kWp solar capacity.

Lyonpo Gyem Tshering noted that Paro’s strategic location, facilitated by its airport, makes it ideal for establishing cold storage facilities. The Minister said the infrastructure enables the swift transportation of goods and agricultural products to various destinations.

The Country Partnership Agreement (CPA) was also signed between MoENR and ISA and the trilateral MoU for setting up a STAR-C (Solar Technology Application Resource Centre) among MoENR, RUB and the ISA.

STAR-C is expected to boost the knowledge of CST students and other aspiring youths in solar technology, which is in the developing stage in Bhutan.

During the CPA singing, Dr Ajay Mathur said: “I am delighted to see the progress our partnership has made. This signing will further bolster our actions and facilitate the attainment of our goals and ISA remains fully committed to support Bhutan under this initiative.”

ISA  is also assisting Bhutan to develop a National Solar Energy Roadmap, and provides  regulatory support for developing solar tariffs, licensing and de-licensing regulations, standards, and guidelines to the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Bhutan.

ISA is a global alliance consisting of 119 member countries as of today and whose objective is to scale up deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy access, ensure energy security and facilitate energy transitions to fulfil the goals of Paris Agreement.