The solar refrigerator is powered entirely by the solar energy that is absorbed by the solar panels. Instead of consuming the electrical system, the solar panel provides the energy for the solar refrigerator. Thus solar energy is used to power the cooling system. Solar panels are photovoltaic cells that convert solar energy into electrical energy and store it in a battery. The solar panel itself supplies all of the energy needed for the solar refrigerator to function normally.
The battery, however, is utilized to give additional power when the solar panel’s output power is decreased. Battery recharging occurs when solar panels produce more energy than is required. The PV (photovoltaic) cells absorb the energy directly from the sun and provide for the solar refrigerator to function. As the utilization of conventional energy sources declines and environmental contamination rises, solar refrigeration systems will become more and more popular. Solar refrigeration can be used for coolers, freezers, air conditioning systems in buildings, preservation of medicines, and food preservation.
Quick Overview Of Best Solar Refrigerators
The 6 Best Solar Refrigerators In 2023
Best Overall: ICECO VL60 Portable Refrigerator
It has dimensions of 19.4″ D x 31.2″W x 18.8″H and it is also one of the heavier portable refrigerators, weighing in at 65.7 pounds.
The large 63.4-quart capacity means you can store plenty of food and drinks, and the fridge can also be used as a freezer if needed. The compact design makes it easy to take with you on the road.
It features a digital control panel that makes it easy to set the temperature. It also has a LED light that illuminates the interior, making it easy to find items in the dark.
It includes two separate compartments and the SECOP compressor is extremely efficient, providing long-lasting cooling power while using minimal energy.
In addition, the eco mode helps to conserve even more energy by automatically adjusting the cooling level based on the ambient temperature.
It features a foldable pull-down lock, making it easy to transport, and comes with a 1-year warranty on all the parts. The two removable wired baskets can be used to store many items.
Best In Value: Whynter FM-45G Refrigerator
It has dimensions of 16.5″ D x 23.5″W x 20.5″, making it small enough to fit in many spaces, and it only weighs 45 lb.
Despite its small size, it has a capacity of 1.41 cubic feet, making it perfect for storing food. It can accommodate up to 60 cans.
It comes with an adjustable temperature range from 8°F to 50°F, making it ideal for storing both cold and hot beverages.
It includes an LED temperature display, so you can easily keep track of the temperature inside. Additionally, the fridge has two removable wire baskets.
This unit is ETL approved and can operate as either a refrigerator or freezer, making it perfect for storing food of all types.
It features a stainless steel side handles for easy transport, and a fast freeze mode that can come in handy during busy times.
Best Versatile: SMETA 3-Way Propane Refrigerator
It has 20.6″D x 23.2″W x 32.2″H dimensions and a 3.4 cubic feet capacity. The three-way power means you can use it on AC power when you’re plugged in, or DC power when you’re on the go, making it a versatile appliance for any situation.
This fridge has plenty of storage space, with slide-out shelves and a clear plastic crisper drawer. The bottom shelf can hold a 1-gallon jug, and the door bin storage can hold 1/2-gallon bottles.
This fridge makes no noise and is easy to operate, making it perfect for those who want a quiet and efficient fridge. Also, it comes with a one-year warranty, so you can be sure that it will last for years to come.
Best Durable: F40C4TMP Portable Refrigerator
It has dimensions of 12.6″D x 15.51″W x 22.68″H, making it small enough to fit in most spaces, but still large enough to hold up to 30 quarts.
It features 3 levels of battery protection, so you can always be sure your food will stay fresh. Additionally, the magnetic door design ensures that the fridge stays closed even if there are bumps or jolts.
This compact fridge can divide the internal space into two areas, making it perfect for storing both perishables and beverages.
Additionally, the fridge has two modes- an eco mode for everyday use, and a fast cooling mode for keeping things extra cold.
With a 2-year warranty, it’s backed by a company that stands behind its product.
Best Portable: COSTWAY Car Refrigerator
It has dimensions of 13.5″ D x 27″W x 21″H, making it the perfect size for most spaces. Additionally, it only weighs 36 pounds, so it’s easy to move around.
The fridge has a capacity of 55 quarts, making it great for storing food and drinks for a long trip. This fridge can hold up to 84 bottles of beer.
It has both max and eco working modes, so you can choose the setting that best suits your needs. It also comes with a built-in LED light, making it easy to see what’s inside.
This fridge has two separate compartments, so you can easily organize your food and drinks. Additionally, it gives three different levels of battery protection, so you can be sure that your food will stay cold even if your car battery dies.
Best In Budget: Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator
The fridge has 10.2″D x 23.25″W x 12.6″H dimensions and 18.92 pounds weight, making it easy to take with you on long trips.
This 16-quart fridge has a deep chilling-down performance, making it perfect for storing food and drinks. This fridge can easily fit 20 cans of cola.
The thick, high-density foam insulation helps to keep the cold in, making it a great choice for hot summer days.
This fridge comes with a temperature memory function, so it will remember the last setting you used even if it’s turned off. Additionally, it has three different levels of battery protection.
How Does A Solar Refrigerator Work?
The solar refrigerator consists of a compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator or freezer. The PV panel or photovoltaic cells’ conversion of solar energy into direct current (DC) electrical power enables refrigeration. The compressor is powered by DC electrical current, which causes the refrigerant to be circulated through a vapor compression refrigeration loop that removes heat from an insulated enclosure. Solar-powered freezers may keep perishable foods like meat and dairy chilled in hot locations. They are also used to maintain vaccines at the proper temperature to prevent spoiling.
All of the standard refrigerator parts, like the compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator or freezer, are included in a solar refrigerator. The solar panel used in the solar refrigerator’s solar system is what gathers solar energy. To turn solar energy into electrical energy and store it in a battery, photovoltaic cells (PV Panels) are installed on the solar panels. When the solar refrigerator is operating normally, the power is provided directly by the solar panel. However, when the solar panel’s output power is lower, the battery is used to provide extra power. When the solar panels generate more energy than is needed, the battery is refilled. The solar panel used in the solar refrigerator’s solar system is what gathers solar energy.
Types Of Solar Refrigerators
Mainly the solar refrigerator can be classified into two types:
Vapor Compression Refrigerator (VCR)
It uses mechanical energy. In this type of solar refrigerator, the refrigerant passes through phase shifts, is one of the various refrigeration cycles, and is the most popular technique for cooling down buildings and autos. Additionally, it is utilized in residential and commercial refrigerators, as well as a variety of other commercial and industrial applications.
Vapor Absorption Refrigerator (VAR)
It uses thermal energy. The VAR system passes through stages such as compression, condensation, expansion, and evaporation. The condenser releases heat into the atmosphere while the evaporator creates the cooling effect.
Advantages And Disadvantages
Similar to those provided by other solar energy systems, the solar refrigerator has some advantages and disadvantages:
Renewable energy is used
Zero electricity costs
Fewer maintenance costs
Growing with advanced technology
Can be used where the electrical supply is not efficient
Installation costs are high (due to the purchase of a variety of equipment used)
Solely depends on sunlight, as it is not efficient to produce energy on cloudy, and rainy days
PV panels require a lot of space
Solar energy storage is expensive
Benefits Of A Solar Refrigerator
There are many benefits to using solar refrigerators. The use of renewable, clean, and efficient energy sources is achieved by using a solar refrigerator. Anyway, we can see a few of the benefits.
The energy efficiency is measured as the volume cooled per unit of energy used per day. It has been known for some time that man can use solar energy, but up to recently, it was not thought to be technologically feasible to do on a wide scale. Some strategies can be developed to reduce energy use while also directly reducing carbon footprint. Utilizing renewable energy wherever possible is one of the better suggestions.
It adheres to the idea of turning solar energy into electrical energy, which then transforms into mechanical energy that aids in the operation of a solar refrigeration system. Energy efficiency is one of the most notable points of the solar refrigerator. After absorbing roughly 100 BTUs of heat from the sun, the majority of commercial solar refrigerator models can provide 65 to 75 BTUs of cooling power. This improved energy efficiency is a more economical choice.
To stop heat transfer, the main problem is thermal insulation. A solar refrigerator’s insulation ensures that neither hot nor cold air is exchanged between the interior and exterior of the appliance. The refrigerator’s energy efficiency increases with insulation thickness. Insulation materials that are frequently utilized in the solar refrigerator are:
Foam made of stiff polyurethane
Vacuum-insulated panels made of amorphous silica
Any of these can be used as insulation if installed correctly (with no visible seams), but polyurethane rigid foam is the most common type.
Dual Power Modes
The dual power system runs on both solar and battery modes. Solar refrigerators work with the energy transformed from direct sunlight and the energy produced by the solar inverter. To supply steady power to your refrigerator using solar panels, you must connect the panels to both a battery and an inverter. Thus solar refrigerators utilize dual power modes. Solar panels only generate electricity when they are exposed to sunlight.
Things To Consider Before Buying Solar Refrigerators
There are a few things to consider while buying a solar refrigerator. We will consider the most important factors:
A battery size with high capacity is to be used. A medium-sized battery may hold approximately 1400 watt-hours of power. You have roughly 720 watt-hours of power that is used because it is advised that you keep your batteries at least half full at all times. Choose a battery with a high capacity because the sun might not be shining all the time. If you want to run your solar freezer for 4 days and it consumes 840 watts per day, you must produce and store at least 3400 watts.
One of the most crucial parts of a home solar energy system is a solar inverter. It converts the solar PV cells’ generated direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), which can be utilized to power home appliances. Despite a strong desire for home systems that use sustainable energy, many people struggle in selecting the best solar inverter. The solar inverters are particular to whether.
Another crucial component is thermal tolerance because specific inverters provide less power when heated. For many people, purchasing a solar inverter can be a long-term investment. Therefore, it is crucial to assess and contrast them for toughness and performance under extreme weather conditions. Additionally, specific inverters may work poorly and are not designed for high temperatures. Understanding the requirements and choosing a product that can withstand harsh weather conditions is therefore advised.
If you live in a rural place or have frequent power outages, an off-grid arrangement for a solar-powered fridge freezer is ideal for you. If you do not fit into one of these categories, you might find it to be a significant investment. After accounting for the price of solar panels, batteries, inverters, etc. only to power a freezer, this is what is left. In that situation, an on-grid system that uses the electrical grid as a backup may be preferable. It depends on how many solar cells cost in your country because shipping costs can make up the majority of the cost. The regulations for connecting anything to your local utility are also covered.
The term polyurethane, frequently abbreviated as PUR or PU, refers to a group of polymers made up of organic units connected by carbamate (a type of organic compound) linkages. Unlike other popular polymers like polyethylene, polystyrene, etc., polyurethane can be made from a variety of different starting ingredients. This chemical diversity generates polyurethanes with various chemical structures, which lead to a wide range of applications.
What Are The Most Trusted Solar Refrigerator Brands?
A few trusted brands are ICECO VL60 portable refrigerators, Alpicool c15 portable refrigerators, and F40C4TMP portable refrigerators.
How To Install And Use Solar Refrigerators?
The refrigerator, the solar panels, the charge controller, the batteries, the DC distribution system, the AC distribution system, and the power controlling system are to be separately installed.
How To Care for And Maintain Solar Refrigerators?
Routine cleaning of the solar array and topping off the battery cells with purified water is to be carried out as a better maintenance step. Allow only trained professionals to check if any problem occurs. They can assess problems, fix systems, and provide funding for the period allowed. Try to understand the strategy or source of financing to buy the necessary spare parts, particularly batteries that will need to be replaced.
What Size Solar System Do I Need To Run A Fridge?
A 100-watt solar panel can be used to run a solar energy-based refrigerator. But a bigger refrigerator needs a bigger energy source. Thus the size of the batteries also will be more.