Uganda’s GDP growth of over 6% is highly dependent upon the performance of its agricultural sector, which contributes to over 70% of Uganda’s export earnings. The sector suffers from high degree of inefficiency and low productivity and the government has identified the agricultural sector as the main mechanism for increasing economic and social development in the country. Lack of access to sufficient, reliable and affordable energy in rural areas limits investments in agro-processing industries as well as simple facilities such as refrigeration to enhance the shelf life of perishable commodities such as milk, fruits or vegetables.
With Uganda’s solar potential, Station Energy has developed an innovative concept of solar cold room for fresh product refrigeration/freezing in remote areas. This solution is especially adapted for agricultural cooperatives and is focusing on an energy service model with rental of containerised cold room facilities.
Photo (left): A Station Energy Solar PV unit explained by a technician (Credit: Station Energy)
Given Uganda’s solar potential and the necessity of distributed storage facilities to minimize transport distances between field and storage, off-grid solar PV powered cold storage represents a significant opportunity to improve agricultural production and incomes, reduce waste and improve food security, and avoid the GHG emissions from fossil fuel-powered alternatives. REEEP estimates that market scale up of solar powered cold storage could save more than 100,000 tonnes (equivalent) of CO2 a year by 2030.
Image left: A Station Energy Solar PV unit explained by a technician (Credit: Station Energy)
Station Energy has developed an innovative concept for a solar- powered cold room that would provide refrigeration and freezing for fresh products of any type in isolated areas. This solution is especially adapted for agricultural cooperatives, fishermen associations, sanitary usages (conservation of vaccines) or for ensuring cold chain integrity in food processing and distribution.
By mutualising the photovoltaic and cold equipment, and transforming a product offer (purchase of a cold room) into a service offer (cold space renting), this project allows an affordable and risk-mitigated access to food conservation for rural communities. The scaling-up of this model will be sustainably financed by an innovative equity crowdfunding platform named “Invest.In”.
Solar-Powered Multi-Use Agricultural Cooling: Potential Market Impact
Station Energy: Direct Impact for Farmers