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Making refrigeration accessible and affordable to all

  • Company
  • Energy
  • West Africa
  • 2022
  • Active

The challenge

Many micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria and across most of sub-Saharan Africa that require productive appliances for different purposes struggle to access them due to high costs and a lack of consumer/asset financing. Those who manage to access appliances often acquire old, inefficient and expensive to maintain ones. As such areas such as cold storage and cold chain logistics are highly underserved and significant value is lost where these products and services are most required. Efficiency for Access estimates that up to 30% of post-harvest food losses could be saved through cold storage solutions

The innovation

Koolboks enables access to 24-hour solar-powered dual-use (fridge/freezer) cooling by storing energy in the form of ice, reducing food waste and increasing revenues for small businesses. The products also offer 24-hour lighting and charging, which can also be used with mini-grids, solar home systems (SHS), or regular grids. Koolboks’ products offer cooling at 50% less than the costs incurred to get 12 hours of daily power from the grid and/or petrol or diesel generators. This is achieved through the use of ice thermal batteries that reduce the overall cost of the appliance by up to 40% compared to similar-sized solar power freezers. Additionally, PAYGo enables low-income consumers to acquire these assets without having to make upfront payments or go through the onerous processes and requirements of other lenders.

The impact

49% of Koolboks’ customers live below the $3.20/day. Koolboks is the first company to offer a solar-powered freezing appliance to consumers with financing. The lack of direct alternatives to Koolboks’ product establishes the company as a true pioneer. Furthermore, Acumen believes Koolboks has strong impact potential to move thousands of female small business owners out of poverty