Energy4wellbeing solar minigrid project adds (DC) freezer/fridges in its offering at Qandu Qandu informal settlement, Cape Town
In 2021, the project is well underway and an exciting development in our activities is the inclusion of two low-consumption direct current (DC) freezer/fridges into our solar minigrid offer to the community we are working with. Zonke Energy is taking the lead on exploring the technical, financial and community parameters we need to work with in order to offer refrigeration services additional to our solar minigrid offer.
The provision of refrigeration is really important: the lack of energy for refrigeration in the Qandu Qandu informal settlement, Cape Town has been identified as one of the major concerns of the residents. The residents of Qandu Qandu have explained to us that the mostly ‘illegal’ electricity that they access is insufficient to make use of fridges. The consequence is that no perishable groceries can be kept in the home, and that residents have to shop more frequently, or have to abstain from any fresh groceries. These circumstances add substantially to the cost of living of the residents in Qandu Qandu, and decrease their wellbeing.
The provision of refrigeration to members of the community who are minigrid clients has therefore been identified as a priority. This doesn’t come without its own challenges, financial and technical. The gap between affordability and the cost of off-grid refrigeration is the major obstacle in providing clients with refrigeration. With this in mind, Zonke Energy
are presently testing a range of alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) fridges in their laboratory and in clients’ households. The energy consumption of the DC fridges that the project aims to use is, we are told, 35% lower than the consumption of the fridges that are currently available on the market in South Africa. We therefore believe that the addition of fridge availability to the minigrid will add substantially to the relevance of our research into off-grid refrigeration.