25 October, 2023 Member article

Optimising solar cooling solutions in remote areas

Solar powered cold rooms play a pivotal role in minimising post-harvest losses and empowering local farmers to extend the shelf life of their crops, enabling them to fetch better market prices. Over the past few years, the number of companies involved in constructing and operating solar powered cold rooms has witnessed a significant surge, underscoring the growing recognition of their importance in agricultural communities. The underlying principle is elegantly simple. Solar panels provide the power source, generating electricity for the system which is usually combined within a standardised container or housing. The cooling mechanism, however, varies depending on the specific technology implemented.

The digitisation of these systems can help optimise their operation and maintenance, leading to more efficient resource utilization and improved overall performance. As these solutions are frequently tested in controlled environments, it remains critical to assess their real-time performance in the actual conditions they are meant to operate in. This helps to analyse the systems and optimise them in the long run.

Given the integration of several components such as solar, storage or the cooling technology within a single system, the likelihood of individual parts failing increases. Therefore, continuous monitoring of the system’s condition becomes instrumental in identifying technical issues promptly and reducing the need for extensive travel. Implementing predictive maintenance protocols can effectively streamline the maintenance process, saving both time and effort.

Irrespective of the technical variations, centralising the control of these systems through a single controller proves to be an invaluable asset. This central management system not only ensures streamlined operation but also facilitates the incorporation of access control and security features, minimising the risk of misuse or theft. Through the integration of cutting-edge monitoring technologies and real-time data analysis, these cold room facilities can be automatically regulated according to pre-set rules or manually supervised via the integrated platform.

With an emphasis on off-grid regions, EcoPhi is actively currently engaged in the monitoring and management of diverse assets across more than 30 countries. The portfolio of solutions encompasses the management of various system types under a unified platform, including commercial and industrial systems, water pumping, hybrid systems, and energy auditing solutions. EcoPhi’s commitment to fostering sustainable solutions in remote areas highlights the critical role technology plays in bolstering agricultural infrastructure and driving rural development.