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