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Market Baseline Performance Testing for Off-Grid & Weak-Grid Refrigerators

Refrigerators hold unique potential to unlock economic and social progress for billions of un- and under-electrified people globally. Yet the nascent market for highly energy-efficient, appropriately designed off-and weak-grid refrigerators remains supply constrained. Refrigerators must be smaller, cheaper, and run on far less energy than conventional products to be viable for off- and weak-grid customers.

Negligible data currently exists regarding off- and weak-grid refrigerator cost and performance. To help fill this gap and accelerate this market – with support from UK DFID’s Ideas to Impact Initiative – CLASP procured and tested commercially available refrigerators in 2016 to establish a performance baseline.

Testing focused primarily on two common types of commercially available refrigerators: refrigerators and refrigerator-freezer combination units. Among the 36 test samples CLASP procured, 24 were refrigerator-freezer combination units (67%), and 12 were refrigerators only (33%). These products underwent testing in accredited laboratories according to the Global LEAP Off-Grid Refrigerator Test Method to evaluate their energy performance, service delivery, durability, and off-grid appropriateness. The report details results in key areas: daily energy consumption, autonomy, pull-down time, and energy efficiency relative to price.

Off- and weak-grid consumers are price sensitive and energy constrained, and striking a balance between efficiency and price is a chief business consideration for market actors. Our analysis indicated that there is some correlation between price and efficiency, with higher efficiency products costing more on average. However, the correlation is not strong and included outliers on both ends of the price/efficiency spectrum.

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