The solution: solarchill technology

Picture: PAHO/FGL-IM; Solar electric (SELF)
Solar Direct Drive Refrigerator

SolarChill technology is relatively simple. It is an advanced, solar powered version of the old-fashioned ice box: Solar power, generated by solar panels, runs a direct drive compressor. The compressor powers the refrigerant cycle creating an ice-bank. The power of the sun is essentially stored in an “ice battery”. The cold temperature is transferred from the ice-bank to the storage cabinet. A thermostat maintains the required temperatures in the storage compartment.


In low-solar input situations, or when the power is completely disrupted, the thick insulation of the cabinet maintains acceptable temperatures for up to 5 days. The thickness of the insulation varies according to the ambient temperature for which the specific SolarChill units are designed. The temperature range for vaccines is between 2 and 8° Celsius, day and night. The optimum temperature range for perishable food storage is 3 to 5° Celsius.

Features at a glance

  • SolarChill refrigerators are either upright and chest refrigerator models. They can be used as vaccine coolers or as household and small commercial refrigerators for preserving food.
  • SolarChill refrigerators store the solar energy in ice-banks instead of lead batteries.
  • The electricity for the SolarChill refrigerators is supplied by photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.
  • Solar energy powers a direct drive compressor which runs the refrigeration cycle.
  • Highly effective insulation maintains the required temperature for up to 5 days during days with low solar energy generation.
  • SolarChill refrigerators use non-fluorinated (i.e. HCFC- and HFC-free) substances as refrigerants and foam-blowing agents.
  • SolarChill models use hydrocarbons (e.g. isobutene) as refrigerants. Hydrocarbons are natural substances. When used as refrigerants they do not contribute to ozone layer depletion, and they have no significant global warming potential.
  • SolarChill Vaccine Coolers maintain the required temperature range of 2° C and 8° C.
  • One SolarChill Vaccine Coolers can serve a population of up to 50,000 people.
  • SolarChill food refrigerators are being designed to maintain temperatures at the optimum range for perishable food storage at 3 to 5°C.

SolarChill-A (Medical)

The SolarChill Project pioneered the development of solar direct drive refrigeration for vaccines and medicines. Today, several companies manufacture vaccine coolers based on the principles of SolarChill technology. SolarChill refrigerators for preserving vaccines are referred to as "SolarChill-A". 

Solarchill-B (Commercial)

SolarChill refrigerators for preserving food are expected to be launched in 2018. The SolarChill refrigerators for households and commercial purposes are called "SolarChill-B".