Dysmus Kisilu and a user of his Solar Freeze technology look at wiring for the cooler in Kenya. Photo Credit: Ashden

EnvironmentTechnology Kenya16. November 2021

This Green Tech Chills Food… and Medicine!

A young Kenyan inventor developed solar-powered cold storage units, thus boosting farmers’ income, cutting food waste, and providing green jobs, especially for women who account for the majority of his apprentices.

“It’s good to see how fast the people on the ground are willing to accept this technology once they try it,” says Dysmus Kisilu, the inventor of the Solar Freeze technology. The young man won a scholarship to study renewable energy at the University of California, and won this year’s Ashden Awards which promotes low-carbon innovations in sustainable energy and development.

The climate-smart technology first answered the problem of cold storage units for off-grid rural areas where farmers would lose their crops if not sold immediately. Turns out that his technology is also used to keep COVID-19 vaccines and medicines chilled in areas the power grid doesn’t reach. Each cooler – he has sold 120 so far – has USB ports to charge mobile phones and a set of rechargeable solar lights. Through his “Each One Teach One” peer-to-peer learning program, Kisilu aims at expanding solar energy skills, especially among women who make up 60% of the trainees. “Getting on top of a roof (to install solar panels) is considered a man’s job. Women haven’t really embraced that type of job. But renewable energy is coming very fast and we really need more people in it.”

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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