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Freezers being loaded on boat heading for installation on Benguerra Island

5. Mozambique: 160 Liter Freezers for the Artisanal Fishing Sector

5.1. History and Results

NGO Winrock International in May of 2019 produced a Market Needs, KAP and Technology Assessment report for cooling opportunities in the Mozambique artisanal fisheries sector. The report provided useful general information, but focused on the Northern coast where SunDanzer’s to-be in-country partner SolarWorks! had no presence. In addition, the research was not designed with SolarWorks! or SunDanzer’s input and thereby lacked commercial perspective and practicality. In short, the effort was premature and not actionable; the cart was put before the horse.

In the second half of 2020, SunDanzer and SolarWorks! explored and started formalizing an agreement related to implementing a commercial pilot of 55 freezers in Gaza and Imhambane provinces in Southern Mozambique. In the Spring of 2021, an agreement was solidified and testing was conducted by Omnivoltaic with the SunDanzer DCR160 freezer and their 48Ah 24V Lithium battery pack/solar home system. In addition, a Scope of Work was jointly developed for more targeted, actionable research. Gaia Consulting was hired to conduct an in-depth survey of 73 respondents. The GreenTech Project Manager joined the research team for training and in field for the first week in June. The results were tabulated and analyzed shortly afterward and used to help guide a market entry strategy and tactics.

In November, the SunDanzer DCF160 units arrived in-country, followed by the Omnivoltaic systems in February of 2022. In March, the GreenTech Project Manager was back on the ground again to assist in the product launch. Sales and installation training were conducted and sales, installation and technical support materials were created. Demonstration freezers were set up at regional SolarWorks! shops in Xai, Maxixe, Massinga and Vilanculos and prospective customers, identified in the research, visited at off-grid communities. The lessons learned were captured in the report entitled Preparing for Solar Refrigeration Pilots in the Artisanal Fisheries Sectors of Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Shortly afterward, customers started reporting failures. Technical issues were identified with the Omnivoltaic hardware and batteries. Months went by before these issues could be resolved by Omnivoltaic and sales restarted. Meanwhile, failed units were replaced. In November, the GreenTech Project Manager and SunDanzer Technical Director arrived to conduct hands-on, in-depth technical training as well as visit customers and shadow installations. Shortly afterward, after fifteen units had been installed in the field, it became apparent that the Omnivoltaic hardware and batteries still failed, even after implementing the prescribed “fixes”. Sales were halted once more and systems replaced with working systems that were destined to fail at some point.

5.2. Current Status

Omnivoltaic had to redesign the printed circuit boards and replace all the batteries. These items arrived in Mozambique in March, 2023. Currently, they are being tested by SolarWorks! before being deployed to existing and backlogged customers. As of April 2023, there were 20 systems deployed in the field.

The GreenTech Project Manager’s November 2022 visit revealed shortcomings in the processes, capabilities, and installations of SolarWorks! (documented in the Lessons Learned report The “Nuts and Bolts” of Launching Fridges and Freezers in a Last Mile Distribution Business). The general conclusion being that Last Mile Distributors of solar home systems are challenged to take the more technically complex products associated with Productive Use such as solar powered refrigeration. Also in Mozambique, a lack of ability in the sales organization to identify viable prospects and effectively sell the more complex solutions was coupled with weak demand in the marketplace. In order to sell the systems, the GreenTech Project Manager lifted the Fisheries Sector restriction and opened sales to all Productive Use cases. On a positive note, customers visited expressed satisfaction and reported that they were effectively making more money. For example, fish traders were able to prevent losses through preservation, businesses were opened making and selling ice along fish and cold drinks in off-grid locations and some of the more prosperous fishermen added fish trading to their business.

In early 2023, SunDanzer and Solarworks! prepared a Scope of Work for post-pilot research. Gaia Consulting has delivered a proposal for conducting the follow-up in August. The GreenTech Project Manager is planning to be on the ground again to participate in the research launch and first days in the field.

Related Resources

SunDanzer Refrigeration and its in-country partners in Rwanda (Clean Energy Technologies), Tanzania (Simusolar) and Mozambique (SolarWorks!) prepared to pilot solar powered fridges and freezers in 2022 in the Artisanal Fisheries sector. Throughout 2021, informal and formal research was conducted to lay the groundwork for approximately 110 deployments to distribute across all three countries. This report documents what was learned during the prepartory period.

SunDanzer Refrigeration and its in-country, Last Mile Distributor (LMD) partners in Tanzania (Simusolar) and Mozambique (SolarWorks!) collaborated to launch fridges and freezers in smallholder dairy and artisanal fisheries sectors in the Spring of 2022 after a research phase the previous year (refer to Lessons Learned: Preparing for Solar Refrigeration Pilots in the Artisanal Fisheries Sectors of Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique). As of this writing, October 2022, less than half of the 94 units have been deployed. Both organizations have struggled in terms of operations and sales, despite best efforts. In both cases, grant restrictions were lifted to spur sales, but here also sales were relatively slow. Our overarching conclusion is that adding a new, productive use cooling product to an existing LMD operation is extremely challenging and not feasible without financial support before, during and after the pilot.

In an effort to elevate the standard of living of the artisanal fishermen and traders as well as seize the untapped off grid refrigeration market in Mozambique, Sundanzer in partnership with SolarWorks seeks to perform a baseline market study in rural off grid fishing communities in the Southern region of Mozambique. The refrigeration systems may be equally beneficial for other economic activities such as, selling cold beverages and conserving agricultural goods This initiative aims to identify potential locations for project installation as well as the products that would be well suited for the market Moreover, the results from the study will serve as a baseline reference to measure the impact of the introduction of said refrigeration systems

SunDanzer Refrigeration LLC is implementing the GreenTechnologies to Facilitate Development of Value Chains forPerishable Crops and Animal Products (GreenTech) program,funded by IFAD. In Tanzania, GreenTech’s goal is to specify and commercialize a solar cooling product for artisanal fisheries and dairy sector. This report fulfills Activities 1 and 2 of Component 1, and Activity 4 of Component 2, in SunDanzer’s GreenTech contract with IFAD.

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