Shirdi gets world’s largest solar steam system

July 30th, 2009 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Nasik, July 30 (IANS) New and Renewable Energy Miniser Farooq Abdullah Thursday inaugurated a large solar steam system at the pilgrim town of Shirdi, some 90 km from here, which officials say is the world’s largest that can generate 3,500 kg of steam every day - enough to cook food for 20,000 people.
The solar system has been designed for cooking food for devotees visiting the shrine devoted to Sai Baba - a 19th century Sufi saint who was revered by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The total cost of the solar steam system is estimated at Rs.1.33 crore for which a subsidy of Rs.58.4 lakh has been provided by the renewable energy ministry.

The system will result in annual savings of 100,000 kg of cooking gas. It has been designed in such a way that it will generate steam for cooking even in the absence of electricity to run the feed water pump for circulating water in the system.

The ministry offers support of up to 50 percent of the cost of such systems set up by non-profit bodies and up to 35 percent cost support to profit making bodies.

“Over 40 systems covering a dish area of about 12,000 sq metre have been supported by the ministry so far for various applications, though the major application is cooking only,” a government statement said.

Some of the large solar steam cooking systems installed include systems at Mount Abu in Rajasthan for 10,000 people every day, and at Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh and Satyabhama university in Chennai, which cater to about 15,000 people per day.

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