News and knowhow for farmers

Graduates unveil cheap, locally made solar-powered cold-room for preserving fresh farm produce

Colreftec Solutions Limited cold room

Farmers and traders dealing in perishable farm produce in Kenya can now save up to 20 per cent on cold-room purchase and Sh20, 0000 monthly electricity bills using locally fabricated solar-powered cold-rooms thanks to two graduates who have unveiled both mobile and fixed cold rooms fit for all farmers.

Peter Mutua and Peter Muhoho mechanical engineers graduates from Kenyatta University (KU) motivated by the fact that 50 per cent of harvested fresh produce in the country goes to waste between the farm and market  last year April founded Colreftec Solutions Limited, a start-up company through which there are now providing cold room services to their different clients.

“What really motivated us was the increasingly perishable products resulting to huge post-harvest losses for farmers and therefore our aim is basically to prolong the shelf life of these perishables products that include fruits, vegetables and flowers among others,” said Mutua, the company’s CEO and co-founder.

From Chandaria Business Incubation Center where the idea was hatched the cold-rooms have been tried out and their performance has proven excellent especially in the Sub-Saharan region where sunlight intensity is plenty throughout the year.

RELATED CONTENT: Device that converts any space into a cold room to preserve fresh produce invented

How Colreftec works

The cold-rooms basically preserve the produce within the set temperature by use of digital thermostat which helps maintain a temperature of the produce put in the cold room at the range of (0-5) degrees Celsius.

The cold rooms are also fitted with standby batteries which are charged and can offer power when there is limited sunlight or at night when there is no sunlight.

“Ideally, by use of solar panel we harness the solar energy and store it in the battery. We do sizing of the solar equipment to ensure sufficient flow of energy during the day and night,” said Mutua.

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The energy stored in the battery powers the condensing unit, the security unit as well as the lighting of the bulbs during the night. This is achieved by calculating the load to be stored to help the engineers estimate the power needed to drive the entire system.

“The solar cold room can operate in regions that have minimal sunlight. We engage our clients to determine the regions where they come from to know the number of hours the region is likely to experience the sunlight and use the information to calculate the number of solar power that can harness adequate solar energy to be stored in the batteries.”

Mutual further says that with the right details they are able to determine the power needed to supply the entire system as the energy used by the cold room varies depending on the size of the cold room and the load to be stored in it.

RELATED CONTENT: Transport company launches refrigerated bus to ferry fresh produce between Nairobi and Mombasa


According to Mutua, the capacity of the facility depends on client’s specifications. For instance, a cold room of 6ft by 6ft by 7ft has the capability to store more than two tonnes of tomatoes in more than 10-15 days maintained at a temperature range of 5-6 Degrees Celsius.

This enables the client to seek a ready market where the produce can be transported and sold hence reducing risks of wastages hence farmers will not have to sell their produce at throwaway prices leading losses.

Mutua notes that in the agricultural sector in the country, solar-powered cold rooms offer quality foods and of high nutritional value as it is eco-friendly by the virtue that it is using green energy which is renewable.

Caption: Peter Mutua closing the door of one of the Colreftec cold-rooms. Photo: Zablon Oyugi.

Colreftec Solutions Limited can be reached on [email protected] +254708801754 or +254711833599

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