What? An electric fridge off grid
Yes. And why? Money $$$
Like most folks I started off grid with a propane fridge. Now propane fridges are great if you’re traveling because an absorption fridge works even while it’s being shaken (if not stirred).
But when you live off grid, chances are your fridge isn’t moving. So now it comes down to saving $$$.
How cool are the savings?
Apples to apples, a propane fridge is expensive. An electric fridge is cheap.
$1,100 to 2,000 bucks gets you a good 8-10 cu. ft. propane fridge. $400 to 800 will buy you a reasonable 10 to even awesome 18 cu. ft. electric refrigerator.
Propane fridges of reasonable size, with fridge and freezer compartment use 1.25 lbs of propane a day. Every day. That means in my area the annual running cost is $450/yr in propane. Plus you have to drive into town to fill the tank, etc etc.
Electric fridges, a small 10 cu ft, will use around 300 kw/yr. That means you need roughly 500 watts of power and additional battery capacity of 1 kw. That’s about a thousand bucks worth of additional solar system investment. Annual costs thereafter are paid for.
The savings start day one
Propane costs initially are, and we can debate this, but “apples to apples” 1,500 to 2,500. And an electric fridge and additional solar are about 1,100 to 2,100. The biggest savings are in the cost of the fridge. A good propane fridge is at least $700 bucks more expensive than a good electric fridge.
We can quibble about the support costs. Yes, an electric fridge costs money in solar capacity. But a propane fridge also needs a propane tank, feeder lines, specialist install, etc. So, round it all up and down and around, your cost to install the electric fridge off grid is probably hundreds to thousands less.
I mean you save $800 and up just on the fridge. Plus: yearly running cost savings of $450 (in my area just for the propane not considering transportation).
That’s why planning for an electric fridge is Creek’s top tip!
Build a slightly bigger solar system and an electric fridge. The environment and your pocket book will thank you.
Yep. You’re welcome.
PS-I just saved you so much money. And hassle. Could you buy me a sandwich. See my donation link. Thx you’ze all.
PSS-I’ve been running my electric fridge for just over two years; I’ve realized about $1,000 in propane savings (as of May 22, 2015). And I sold my old used propane fridge for more than I paid for the new electric replacement.
Note: 2015 update
Recent research online shows the new 18 cu.ft. “energy star” electric fridges using the same power as my 10 cu.ft. So a fridge double the size of a propane fridge for less money and no carrying cost. What???
See. Creektreat.ca rules.