Several regions across the globe do not have access to grid electricity. This has become a serious challenge that poses an equally serious threat for the continuation of the vaccine cold chain. Prominent traditional alternatives to the electrically powered vaccine refrigerators such as gas driven refrigerators, kerosene driven refrigerators and others have been plagued by the issues related to the interruptions of gas supply. These alternatives are also hampered due to lower efficiencies, frequent needs for maintenance, and lack of proper temperature control. Currently, there are no gas driven or kerosene driven refrigerators that comply with the minimum quality standards provided by the World Health Organization. They also barely qualify for the performance, quality, and safety system provided by the WHO.
In 1980s, solar refrigeration emerged as a promising development that offered a viable alternative the absorption technology in order to meet the cold chain demands in the remote areas. These devices typically had a robust laboratory performance data. However, their overall experience on the field has been somewhat mixed. Conventional solar refrigerators heavily relied on comparatively expensive battery systems that have shown to have shorter livers in comparison with the refrigerators themselves. Currently, there are different alternatives available for these at times unreliable battery based systems. Moreover, there is now a clear understanding that the solar power vaccine refrigerators need to be maintained, installed, and designed by experts and technicians with proper knowledge and training. Hence, the market is expected to witness a steady rate of growth in the coming years of the forecast period ranging from 2019 to 2027. One of the key factors that is expected to drive the growth of the global solar powered vaccine refrigerator market is the increasing demand for using non-conventional and cleaner sources of energy.
Solar-powered Vaccine Refrigerator Market: Overview
- Solar refrigeration was a promising development in the early 1980s, providing an alternative for the absorption technology to meet cold chain requirements in remote areas with limited or no electric power. At present, several solar refrigeration models prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) are in use.
- Solar-powered vaccine refrigerators, also called off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems, are employed to maintain a constant temperature suitable for storing vaccines in clinics
- In solar-powered vaccine refrigerators, photovoltaic modules convert the solar energy directly into electricity, which is further employed to power the compressor of the vaccine refrigerator. On the other hand, rechargeable batteries are also employed to store electric energy. The charge controller regulates the flow of electricity to protect batteries from over-discharging and overcharging.
- Moreover, a new approach in solar-based refrigeration has emerged, wherein the newly designed solar refrigerator has eliminated the need for expensive energy storage batteries employed to power solar refrigerators. This technology called solar direct drive technology uses solar energy to directly freeze water or other cold storage material (for instance, refrigerant) and then, uses the energy stored in the frozen bank to keep the refrigerator cold during nights and rainy days when the subsequent solar energy is not available.
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Key Drivers of Global Solar-powered Vaccine Refrigerator Market
- Use of solar-based refrigeration for vaccine storage is a major breakthrough in the global health care industry. It is useful for remote areas, where electricity is not available in sufficient amounts. The global health care industry has witnessed rapid growth in the recent years. Growing elderly population worldwide, high prevalence of chronic diseases, and advancements in innovative digital technologies are some of the major factors driving the global health care industry.
- Electricity rates are inherently volatile. They fluctuate seasonally, monthly, and annually. Over the last decade, electricity prices had risen enormously and they are poised to increase even more during the forecast period. This, in turn, is projected to augment the demand for use of the solar technology for storage of vaccines in the near future.
- There exists high demand for exploration of sustainable and clean sources for energy, as the world tries to limit emissions and targets to reach net zero carbon emissions
- Government support in the form of favorable initiatives has driven usage of the solar technology over the last few years. This is estimated to be a major factor driving the global solar-powered vaccine refrigerator market during the forecast period. For instance, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has passed a tender, wherein the government would be offering 30% subsidy to the social sector, the residential sector, private and not-for-profit organizations in the field of education, and health care institutions. This tender is a part of an initiative by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for achieving the target of 40 Gigawatts of rooftop solar power generation by the end of 2022.
Restraints of Solar-powered Vaccine Refrigerator Market
- A majority of countries receive enough sunlight to justify the consideration of solar-powered vaccine refrigeration. However, several countries also have microclimates, with limited sunlight availability throughout the year. For example, Colombia receives solar light sufficient for solar-powered vaccine refrigeration, yet a few coastal areas have microclimates, with prolonged cloud cover for the entire day. Thus, in cloudy areas of the country, choice of using the solar technology is limited and implementation of the technology requires careful design such as increased array size.
- The other issue faced with solar-powered vaccine refrigeration systems is long-term stability, as a majority of these systems require battery storage systems. Also, battery-based solar systems incur high initial capital investments. However, with proper maintenance, returns are high, as the recurrent costs are limited only to periodic replacement of batteries.
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- Dulas Ltd, a leading cold chain manufacturer based in the U.K., recently hosted a comprehensive training program for a large number of its international partners in the field of vaccine cold chains at its headquarters in Machynlleth, Wales (the U.K.). It also announced expansion of its refrigerator production facility at Bognor Regis, West Sussex (the U.K.), which would enable Dulas meet the increasing demand for its world-leading immunization outreach technology.
- In July 2018, Sure Chill, a leading refrigeration company and technology provider based in the U.K., announced that distribution of 74 Godrej solar refrigerators with the Sure Chill technology to more than 100 health care centers in cyclone- affected areas in Fiji has begun. Using these refrigerators would ensure that life-saving vaccines or medicines stay effective even without electricity.
Asia Pacific to Hold a Major Share of Global Solar-powered vaccine refrigerator Market
- Based on region, the global solar-powered vaccine refrigerator market can be classified into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
- Asia Pacific is likely to dominate the global solar-powered vaccine refrigerator market from 2019 to 2027, due to growing concerns about air pollution and carbon emissions in the region. High investments, especially in developing countries such as China and India, and government subsidies are likely to drive the market in the region between 2019 and 2027.
- Several auctions for winning of contracts have been made for developing power generation capacity in India, which have helped work out the world’s minimum prices comparably for solar technology. As a result of this, India is likely to surpass the European Union, in terms of renewable energy usage, during the forecast period. Thus, India is expected to hold a prominent share of the global solar-powered vaccine refrigerator market in the near future.
- On the other hand, size of the U.S. renewable energy industry is expected to get doubled by the end of the forecast period. Renewable energy projects in the U.S. are likely to get benefitted from multi-year federal tax incentives and several, state-level, favorable policies for solar energy in the next few years.
Key Players Operating in Global Market
Some of the key players operating in the global solar-powered vaccine refrigerator market are:
- Dulas Ltd.
- RuthurEnergy Limited
- Sure Chill
- Godrej Appliances
- Renaissance Energy Systems
- Meditech Technologies India Private Limited
- Vestfrost Solutions
- QINGDAO HERALD CRYOGENIC TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD
- ACMAS Technologies (P) Ltd
- KYOCERA Corporation
- Neumann & Miller
- Qingdao Amed Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Co., Ltd
Global Solar-powered vaccine refrigerator Market, by Type
- Chest Freezer
- Upright Freezer
Global Solar-powered vaccine refrigerator Market, by Temperature Range
- Low-temperature Freezer
- Ultra-low-temperature Freezer
Global Solar-powered vaccine refrigerator Market, by Region
- North America
- Russia & CIS
- Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- Latin America
- Rest of Latin America
- Middle East & Africa
- South Africa
- Rest of Middle East & Africa
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