Refrigeration provides a wide range of benefits, from improving human health and productivity, to reducing the domestic burden on women and children, who are usually responsible for food gathering and preparation.
Outside of home use, refrigeration is indispensable in hospitals and clinics – especially for vaccine storage –and it also enables income-generating activities for small retailers and other value chain actors through the storage of cold drinks, food, and other perishable items for later sale.
Refrigerators, however, are one of the most challenging off-grid appliances to design and develop to be both energy efficient and cost-effective. Therefore, the global market remains in the early stages of development.
The energy consumption of an average conventional refrigerator compressor currently can only be supported by the largest available off-grid solar systems. Some super-efficient refrigerators are now being designed explicitly for off- and weak-grid settings to consume less energy, some as low as 0.1 kWh per day.