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Global LEAP’s Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition and Innovation Prize Winners announced


HONG KONG – On January 22, 2018 at the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo, the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development (SOGE) announced the results of the 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition, identifying the world’s best, most energy-efficient refrigerators designed for compatibility with off-grid solar energy systems.

The results released today include best-in-class products in five size categories. The competition also identified two products – DCR165 and DCR50 – from SunDanzer Refrigeration Inc. as the winners of innovation cash prizes of $200,000 each for demonstrated market-leading advancement in energy efficiency and overall value, respectively. The prizes were sponsored by the U.S. Global Development Lab and the U.K. Department for International Development’s (DfID) Ideas to Impact programme as part of their commitment to the Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development.

Highly energy-efficient, appropriately designed and priced off-grid refrigerators can improve livelihoods and achieve broader development impacts. SunDanzer designed the DCR50 product specifically for submission to the Global LEAP Awards. The DCR50 requires just over 100 watt hours per day, substantially less than conventional refrigerator products, and offered the best value for money. SunDanzer’s other winning product, the DCR165, used energy most efficiently as determined by performance metrics including daily energy consumption and the time required to achieve and maintain a target temperature.

The purpose of the Global LEAP Awards is to incentivize innovation and identify best-in-class appliance products that are compatible with small-scale off-grid solar energy systems. These products can help build demand and accelerate growth for solar household systems.

In addition to the two innovation prize winners announced today, a third innovation prize will be awarded – for Appropriate Design and User Experience – following field testing in Uganda in early 2018.

We’re very excited to learn more about the real-world performance and impacts of these products. The field testing will produce a unique and valuable set of learnings

- said Magdalena Banasiak, Senior Innovation Adviser at DfID. 

Winners and Finalists from the Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition are eligible to participate in the Global LEAP Off-Grid Appliance Procurement Incentives programme. Supported by Power Africa and Energising Development (EnDev), the program drives best-in-class appliance products into key off-grid markets by providing incentives to appliance manufacturers and off-grid solar distributors that partner to distribute large quantities of best-in-class off-grid refrigerators.


  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: SunDanzer Refrigeration Inc. – DCR165
  • OVERALL VALUE: SunDanzer Refrigeration Inc. – DCR50


Large Refrigerator Category

WINNER: Palfridge – LC221


  • SunDanzer Refrigeration Inc. – DCR165
  • SolarNow – Fridge 112L/12-24Vdc
  • Palfridge – LC120
  • The Sure Chill Co. – Vaccine Refrigerator - GVR99AC
  • Phocos North America Inc. – FR Series DC Refrigerators/FR240MP
  • Phocos North America Inc. – FR Series DC Refrigerators/FR170MP
  • Simusolar Inc. – Solar powered refrigerator/DCR165

Medium Refrigerator Category

WINNER: Palfridge – LC86
FINALISTS: The Sure Chill Co. – GVR75DC

Small Refrigerator Category

WINNER: SunDanzer Refrigeration Inc. – DCR50
FINALISTS: Solageo – Portable DC Compressor Refrigerator (30L)/SOL-REF-T30

Large Refrigerator-Freezer Combination Unit Category

WINNER: Basil Energetics LTD - Domestic Direct Cool Refrigerator/DC170L
FINALISTS: MAKS Powertech LTD - MAKS Solar DC Refrigerator/MR-139

Small Refrigerator-Freezer Combination Unit Category

WINNER: Metropolitan Electrical Appliance Mfg. Co. LTD - Domestic Direct Cool Refrigerator/DC170L

  • NIWA Next Energy Products LTD – Coolio 100
  • Basil Energetics LTD – RF50

Detailed information about all Winners and Finalists—including product performance data and sales contact information—is available in the 2017 Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Buyer’s Guide.


The 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition was supported by a partnership of USAID’s Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development initiative, the U.K. Department for International Development’s Ideas to Impact Programme, and Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative. The Global LEAP Awards is a program of the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership under the Clean Energy Ministerial.

Globally, a total of 1.2 billion people live without adequate access to electricity, and another billion have less than four hours of reliable electricity each day. The vast majority of these off-grid communities are in developing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the people who live in them are frequently among the world’s poorest.

The 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards also included competitions for off-grid televisions and fans. Leading impact investors Acumen and Shell Foundation will use the outcomes of the 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards to inform proactive efforts to catalyse and validate new technology and business models to bring highly efficient appliances to off-grid consumers.

All Global LEAP Awards Winners and Finalists undergo testing by accredited laboratories for their energy performance, quality, and reliability, and an evaluation by a panel of off-grid market experts.  

Media Contact: Jeff Stottlemyer, CLASP, +1.202.750.5589,