Solar Energy in Sericulture

The sericulture industry is an extremely labour intensive cottage industry employing about two million people in the private sector and twelve thousand five hundred people in the public sector in Karnataka. The Government of Karnataka operates seven filatures (wherein cocoons are reeled for obtaining silk yarn) besides silk mills and several rearing farms (where silk worms are reared). The area under mulberry cultivation is growing rapidly and is now more than 265 lakh acres in Karnataka. Of these, 98% of mulberry gardens are in the districts of Mysore, Mandya, Tumkur, Bangalore and Kolar.

The government silk filatures and silk factories derive their stream and hot water from coal-fired boilers of antiquated design. Although the component of the energy cost in the total cost of silk produced in such filatures is rather modest, the substitution of the present fossil energy resource (coat) by solar energy has several decided advantages like :

1. demonstration of the feasibility of using solar energy for most sericulture operations.

2. reducing the dependence of the filatures on fossil fuels whose cost is continually increasing and whose availability is rather irregular and scarce.

3. further reduction in the cost of energy components.

It is in this context that KSCST has initiated a project with the objectives of investigating the scope with the objectives of Investigating the scope of solar energy applications in sericulture and demonstrating them on a pilot basis. Specifically, use of solar energy for (1) supplying hot water for reeling and (2) cooling and/or heating of buildings for rearing silk worms and for storing cocoons are being explored.