Most folks want some kind of refrigeration. A classic Energy Hog fridge
(Avocado green oohh)
would need thousands of dollars in extra solar panels and batteries to run. So,
spending more on an efficient fridge will save you $$ on the solar system. You
need to consider the total cost of the refrigerator and the extra power to run
Basically, you are going to pay $90 to $270 for each cubic foot of fridge space.
to table used to create above charts
You have three power choices:
AC, DC, or propane.
AC- From the fridge shoot out chart,
the lowest cost per cubic foot of fridge space is an AC powered Danby freezer
converted to run at refrigerator temperatures. By raising the temperature
from 0 deg to around 40 deg F, the compressor doesn't have to work near as much.
The downside of the conversion is that is a chest style box, that isn't as ergonomic.
They are a good choice for people that don't require much refrigeration.
Your next choice is an Energy Star rated 18 Cu ft refrigerator with top
freezer (Kenmore, Maytag, Etc.). It's a full size unit with all the organizer
drawers, ice maker, etc. for a very reasonable per cubic ft. price. A good choice
that will keep everyone in the kitchen happy. Check the energy ratings, get the
lowest possible rating in a fridge that will do the job. Try to stay under 320
various Energy Star ratings
these are the traditional choice for off grid homes. The smaller versions are
very efficient and since they run directly from the battery power (DC) ,
they save inverter power too. They do require a special DC circuit run from the
power equipment to the kitchen.
Nova Kool offer small models
and a do it your selfer kit. Amazing efficiency can be had by building a custom
insulated enclosure and locating the compressor and coil to use outside air when
Propane fridges completely
remove this heavy load from the system. If a smaller fridge will do, and you might
not be there all the time, a propane fridge is the way to go. It could cut the
cost of your entire power system in half. The trade off is that you have to buy
propane, usually less than 5 gallons a month for a 7.8 cu. ft Danby or Servel.
operation, & Maintenance Tips:
1) Always keep the refrigerator door
shut! check all the seals. Oil the door hinges, It helps the door shut right.
Keep inside of fridge as warm as possible. Set the thermostats as warm as you
can and still keep the ice cream firm. Refrigerators can be effective at as warm
as 45 deg F. Use a thermometer, make gradual changes, and recheck every day or
3)Keep outside of fridge as cool as possible. Place in a cold part
of the house. On a back porch in winter, some refrigerators will almost never
run, while next to a stove or heater or in the sun, it could run most of the time!
Freeze gallon jugs of water in the winter and keep in the fridge. It turns your
fridge into an old time ice box, and the compressor will only run enough to circulate
These simple tricks could save you hundreds of dollars
in solar equipment!Link
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