Advantages and Disadvantages of the Solar Refrigerator
The advantages of the solar refrigerator are similar to the ones offered by the other solar energy devices. Since the solar refrigerator runs on solar energy there is lots of saving of electrical power that would have been produced by the conventional power plants causing lots of pollution. The solar energy is available freely, abundantly and is a clean source of energy. One of additional advantage is that the excess power produced by the solar refrigerator can be used for the other domestic purposes.
The solar refrigerators can be very useful in far off remote places where there is no continuous supply of electricity. In Maruata village, located on Mexican Pacific Coast, the fishermen use solar refrigerator for keeping the fishes fresh (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=solar-refrigeration.)
The disadvantage of the solar refrigerator is that the production of power is not uniform since solar energy is not available throughout the day and it also changes in intensity during various times of the year. Hence, it can be used only in places where strong sun rays are available throughout the year and most parts of the day. The other major disadvantage of the solar refrigerator is the size of the solar collector occupying large areas of the home. To produce power sufficient for the refrigerator big solar panels are required. The solar collectors can be kept on the terrace, but still they will occupy lots of space.
A number of solar refrigerators have been developed, and they are being used successfully. However, the technology has not been developed to the stage for carrying out commercial production of the solar refrigerators. There are few companies manufacturing solar refrigerators, but high costs of the solar equipments, their low efficiency and their large sizes have not yet made them the popular choice.
When working in the Engineering College as a lecturer, I guided a group of students for the solar refrigerator project. They were highly enthused to show to the public, other teachers and the examiner how a refrigerator can work without the domestic electricity. But by the time the sun started setting, I could see their enthusiasm also settling down.