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Refrigeration

It may surprise you to discover that a fridge or freezer uses more electricity than many other appliances. That's not because it takes a lot of power, but because your fridge is switched on all day, every day. That means that a small difference in the amount of power a fridge consumes makes a big difference to your daily energy usage. If you can, try to do without a fridge at all; it will save you a lot on your solar power system.

Types of fridge

Mains compressor fridge There are two basic types of refrigerator. These are absorption and compression. How do you choose which type to use?

Firstly think about the smallest fridge you can get away with and secondly think about how you are going to power it. If you have a caravan then you probably have an absorption fridge which runs on gas. It's best to keep it this way; don't be tempted to use it on 12 Volts except when travelling because they use loads of power in this mode. Absorption fridges are best suited to use with gas or kerosene.

If it has to run on electricity, use a compressor fridge because they're much more efficient. Normal mains fridges are compressor fridges but for solar applications you're probably better off with a low voltage model. The suppliers on the links page should be able to help.
If you're on the mains then just choose the most efficient model possible.

12V Coolbox A number of 12 Volt coolboxes are available. These are neither compressor nor absorption fridges but operate on a principle known as the peltier effect. They consume quite a lot of power but are useful for occasional use or use in a vehicle. If that's what you need then they're now available from many high street shops.

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