Solar power provides cooling for fish, herbs and milk
The project’s scope involved
- implementing and commissioning three solar-powered cooling systems based on the SelfChill concept for different agricultural value chains
- training sessions on designing, assembling, installing, operating, and commissioning Off-Grid solar cooling systems
- diffusion and awareness-building campaigns of the technology among stakeholders.
Agriculture is a critical sector for Kenya’s economy, contributing around one-third of its Gross Domestic Product. Most agriculture is driven by smallholder farmers in rural areas who often face several challenges, including limited access to the electricity grid. Additionally, farmers have few options for cooling their produce, leading to significant post-harvest losses due to high ambient temperatures. The fishing sector encounters similar obstacles, as small fishermen struggle to produce ice to cool their catch. Obtaining ice from other sources in the region is complicated and increases operating costs. The situation is comparable in the dairy industry, where about 80% of products come from small farmers who lack access to cooling technologies to preserve milk quality and reduce bacterial growth.
This project demonstrated the potential of solar cooling in improving quality of life, increasing food security, and maximizing productivity in isolated areas. A lease-to-own model was tested, where users could buy their systems step-by-step through generated income.
During the project, three Self Chill system configurations were implemented in collaboration with smallholder farmer enterprises and fishermen cooperatives:
- Milk cooling system with a capacity of 500 liters
- Cold room for fruits and herbs of 20 m³
- Ice machine producing 50 kg of ice per day
The project also successfully empowered technicians and installers by conducting technical training for capacity building:
- 2 technical trainings at Strathmore University
- 38 technicians trained in system sizing, installation, and operation of cooling solutions
In addition, promotional activities were carried out to showcase the technology of solar cooling systems to potential target groups in Kenya.
The project was co-financed by DEG GmbH from public funds of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.