Case: India - Solar Dryer

Solar Dryer – ADB- SARI E III All India Women´s Conference Program (AIWC)

By Lalita Balakrishnan, AIWC

The All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) started its journey with Solar Dryer with the Asian Development Bank supported project: Income generation for poor women through solar dryers in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil-Nadu and Delhi. The Primary objective of this project was to demonstrate the commercial viability of solar drying of fruits & vegetables on a micro-enterprise scale and to establish its suitability for wealth creation among the poor women. The main component of this program was to identify appropriate technology: SDM 50 Solar Dryer developed by SEED, Installation of dryers in four places: New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Trivandrum, 4 training programs in four locations and 1 intensive training program at Hyderabad and product preparation and analysis.
We did the empirical study to see weather using the solar dryer and produce in season can give additional income to the needy. The other objective of this project was to study the market for dried/processed fruits and vegetables in general and solar dried/processed products in particular and to explore the various means of structuring the solar drying project in terms of financing and asset ownership.
The main components of this project were to identify an appropriate technology: SDM 50 Solar Dryer developed by NGO of Hyderabad SEED had developed this solar dryer after 10 years of intensive research and product preparation and analysis.
This insures the quality and texture of the dried products apart from insuring value addition to a great extent. This really helps the villagers to get good prices of their dried products which find the ready market in the nearby towns and cities. With help of expert, we have designed the matrix for all the four project areas and we had collected the data very carefully for the entire year.

Net Profit Matrix

TamilNadu Delhi Kerala
Tomato powder* 25 - -
Kasuri methi - 35 -
Mango bar 91 15 -
Curd green chili - - 35
Crud bitter guard - - 9
Black pepper - - 10
Rice Wafer - - 20
Tapioca Wafer - - 20
Kadi masala powder - 23 -

*Tomato power becomes many times value added and there is huge demand from the fast food
Likewise, in the coastal areas, solar dryer has helped the fisherman to get very good price of the dried fish which otherwise gets spoiled because of lack of refrigeration.

Profit chart of Mango Bar

The Outcome of this Project were:

· Preparation of list of possible dried products, which can be prepared using solar dryer, and can also fetch profit in the market.
· Sufficient exposure to production and marketing techniques to be followed if the solar dryer is used as an enterprise
· Eight young people (two from each unit) from economically poor strata developed the skills for preparation of dried products, which become value added projects using solar dryer, which they can use for income generation
· The project experiences will be used in the near future when SHGs or individuals will use solar dryer concept in an enterprise
· Project provides sufficient space for the women to use the experiences for income generation. This will not only fetch income for the women but will also cultivate entrepreneurial ability and self-reliance among them.
· Towards advocacy, because of good publicity, a large no. of women came forward to buy these solar dryers. On AIWC continued persuasions, the Ministry of New and Renewable energy allowanced 50 % subsidy on the cost of SDM- 50 Solar Dryers. that most of women wanted to purchases the SDM Solar Dryer.
· If the entire country starts using solar dryers, it will not only bring additional income but also to save the energy and help in mitigating the global warming.

More information:

INFORSE’s Manual’s Solar Drying Section: “Sustainable Energy Solutions to Reduce Poverty in South Asia":


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Energy Access

Solutions to provide energy access for all


· East Africa: Scaling up Access to Modern Energy Services

  · Kenya: Decentralizing Power Policy
  · Kenya: Afforestation for Charcoal
  · Mali: Jatropha Biofuel for Rural Electrification

· Mali: Productive Use of Energy

  · Mali: Solar Lighting Kits for Rural Areas
  · Uganda: Feed-in Tariff for Renewable Energy
  · India: Solar Dryer
  · India: Solar Lantern Charging Station
  · India: Household Biogas Plant
  · India: Micro-Agroecological Village Development Model
  · Nepal: Improved Water Mills
  · Nepal: Charging Centre for Solar Lamps
  · Sri Lanka: Commercialization of Improved Cookstoves
  · Sri Lanka: Standard Code for Domestic Biogas Systems
The cases were collected in the framework of the "Southern Voices on Climate Change" Project. Link: