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Practical Guidance for Designing & Implementing Field Testing for Appliances & Productive Use Equipment

This guide provides a general blueprint on how to design a field testing project for household and commercial appliances and offers advice on how to navigate challenges that may arise during field testing.

Little is known about how off-grid appliance and productive use equipment perform in real-life environments and how users interact with and perceive these products. This is particularly true and especially important in newly-developing appliance markets (e.g., remote areas with low-income or first-time users), where there may be little history of appliance usage and limited understanding of how laboratory test results may predict energy performance in the field.

Successful field testing not only provides information about product performance and user experience, but also why products perform the way they do, as well as their impacts on user's life or livelihood.

But field testing is a fairly complex process given the logistical, environmental, and budget constraints. This guide is intended to inform practitioners seeking advice on designing and implementing field testing projects for appliances and productive use equipment used in off-grid and weak-grid contexts. While the guide is not exhaustive and does not represent all scenarios, it is a good starting point for market stakeholders that aim to:

  • Quantify energy consumption and performance of appliances over weeks or months;
  • Understand power supply conditions, such as the amount of available solar energy generated through photovoltaic (PV) or hours of power outage of weak grids;
  • Test single appliances or a batch of appliances in different locations;
  • Focus on household type of small commercial appliances;
  • Compare performance differences between laboratory testing and field monitoring;
  • Gather more insights on user experiences and preferences.

This guide is the first in a series of four and is designed to be technology agnostic. The three forthcoming guides will include two technology-specific field testing guides for refrigerators and solar water pumps, as well as a user data collection guide.