22 November 2021

What is happening in the solar home market and how providers are competing?

With lots of new products entering the solar home system market, providers are looking at ways to grow their business, remain competitive and retain customers. Some of the more established providers are looking to grow by either expanding geographically or by adding more products to their portfolio.  

Research indicates that the demand for appliances is growing along with the customer’s expectation of what these products will provide. Industry bodies who have assessed the market have stated that solar fridges are the next emerging product that customers will be looking to purchase.   

Traditional refrigerators aimed at the off-grid market have relied on large and expensive batteries adding both up-front and significant replacement costs during the appliance lifetime. Conflicting requirements from other loads on the system can lead to poor fridge performance and disappointed users 

SureChill has leveraged its patented technology and has launched an off-grid home and small business solar refrigerator that is perfect for this large and underserved market. We recognised that having the right product in an affordable format will be key to being successful. Our fridges combine their purpose-built cooling technology with a pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) functionality to provide just that.  

Our pilot in Kenya proved the product is aptly designed for the environments it operates in and that the price point is affordable for our target customers. The fridge enhances cooling options in domestic, agricultural, and micro-enterprise settings and it is suitable for both rural and urban settings.  

So, what makes our fridges unique?  

  • SureChill fridges use an ice and water system to provide consistent cooling. This system acts as an eternally rechargeable thermal energy store.  
  • It does not need any form of battery to provide cooling, making it reliable and cutting out costly battery replacements.  
  • Plug and play. Customers only need the fridge and 4 hours of grid or solar power a day to achieve constant cooling. 
  • It is a stand-alone system that cuts out the need for generators to fill in time gaps where electricity is not avaliable.  
  • The fridge can go three days without power and continue to cool even when new food & drink items are loaded.  
  • The flexible PAYGo model addresses the challenges around affordability and makes it easier to acquire the fridge, with more customers interested in purchasing via this method demonstrated a latent demand.   
  • The compact size of the refrigerator and the 2 x 120W solar panels allows for cost effective transport by motorcycle ‘boda boda’ to even the most remote of locations.  

The Pilot showed that customers continue to be impressed by the performance of our fridges. Our net promoter score increased significantly, doubling over a four-week period as customers experienced the benefits the fridge can bring. They have indicated a high willingness to refer their friends and neighbours, showing them the benefits that purchasing a SureChill refrigerator has.  

Micro and small businesses using the fridge for productive use formed the majority at 63% of the early adopters, the fridge supported their business growth, with some reporting 4 times growth.  

The pilot also assessed the opportunities and benefits that adding a fridge into a distributor’s portfolio would unlock.   

Distributors would benefit from having the SureChill fridge in their range in the following ways:  

  • Increased revenue  
  • Adds an aspirational product to their portfolio that customers are seeking  
  • Attracts new customers  
  • Extends the lifetime value of existing customers   
  • Utilises energy from having additional appliances connected to solar home systems and mini grid scenarios   
  • Reduced risk from customer loan defaults by protecting food and medicine which will enhance customer health and wellbeing  

We have the right technology to unlock market share and enable your growth, we are looking to work with SHS (Solar Home Systems) providers.