With load shedding being back with a vengeance, appliance maker Defy’s launch of its Solar Hybrid fridge and freezer in South Africa — as well as several other African countries — is almost perfectly timed.
Your first question is probably: What is a Solar Hybrid appliance? Basically, they’re appliances that reduce your power consumption when Eskom has the lights on, thanks to its supporting solar power panels. During the day, when the sun is out, solar handles most of the load. At night, or when it is overcast, you’ll draw power from the grid.
Sussing out Solar Hybrid
There are two products in the lineup which, as you can see, look an awful lot like Defy’s conventional appliances. They’re called the Solar Hybrid Chest Freezer and the Solar Hybrid Fridge/Freezer (because serial numbers aren’t very descriptive) and are now available in stores. But why should you consider them?
In addition to keeping your consumption down (put to 44% down, in the case of the fridge), the fridges keep your goods cold or frozen when the power’s off (thanks to something Defy calls “Endura-Chill” technology). There are no batteries or inverters, however, so the fridge won’t run off the grid at night. But that’s where the company’s insulation tech comes in. They should stay cold for up to 40 hours, in the case of the freezer, and up to 21 hours, in the case of the fridge.
Each appliance is sold with three solar panels, which can be installed by “…Defy’s trusted partner who specialises in solar installations and [has] a countrywide footprint.” Defy reckons you’ll need to contact the customer service line to be connected to the unnamed partner for solar installation. The company is targeting three days for installation, but you’ll wind up paying extra for installation on top of the purchase price of the device.
The cost of entry for both Defy appliances are “less than R6,000”, with the solar panels included. Installation doesn’t fall under that umbrella, however. We’ve asked what the typical costs will be and will update here later when we have answers from Defy.