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KIGALI, RWANDA – On 8 November 2018, at the Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference, the Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development announced the winner of the 3rd and final innovation prize associated with the 2017 Global LEAP Awards Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition, the world’s first competition to identify best-in-class, energy-efficient refrigerators designed for off-grid use.

The winner of the final Appropriate Design and User Experience $200,000 innovation cash prize is Palfridge, a Swaziland-based company whose LC86 product demonstrated market-leading advancement during field testing with end users.

The prizes were sponsored by USAID's Global Development Lab, Power Africa, and UK Aid delivered by the Department for International Development (DFID) through the Ideas to Impact programme as part of their commitment to the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development. The Appropriate Design and User Experience prize announced today follows the award of two innovation prizes for Overall Value and Energy Efficiency in Hong Kong in early 2018 based on laboratory test results and additional information provided by nominators.

The Global LEAP Awards identify and promote the world’s best off-grid appliances, accelerating market development and innovation. Awards programmes use a competition-based approach to drive innovation in early stage technologies, while building valuable technical and commercial market infrastructure.

Winner announcement
Maurice Kent of USAID's Global Development Lab announces Palfridge as the winner of the final Appropriate Design and User Experience innovation prize.


All Global LEAP Awards winners and finalists undergo testing by accredited laboratories for their energy performance, quality, and reliability, and an evaluation by a panel of off-grid market experts. For the 2017 Awards, Global LEAP also shipped eligible refrigerators to Uganda for field testing, to assess how these products perform in ‘real life’ conditions and receive feedback from customers about their experience. The majority of the entrepreneurs participating in the field test reported to be generating additional revenue for their business driven by the sale of cold drinks.

'Through the field testing, we were able to learn an immense amount, not only about user behaviour and the energy system required to support large and energy-intensive appliances, but also the potentially transformative impact of appropriately designed technologies on businesses and communities.'

- Ideas to Impact Director Bryony Everett

Energy-efficient, appropriately designed and priced off-grid refrigerators can improve livelihoods and achieve broader development impacts. Palfridge’s LC86 demonstrated efficient daily energy consumption, as well as easy installation, use, and initial maintenance, all important attributes to consumers. 'It has increased my income. I can sell 1-2 cartons of drinks per day which was not the case previously', said one of the users.


The 2016-17 Global LEAP Awards’ Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition was supported by the Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development. SOGE’s partners that funded the competition include USAID, the DFID-funded Ideas to Impact Programme, and Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.

SOGE is a global partnership founded by USAID, Power Africa, DFID, the African Development Bank, and independent charity, the Shell Foundation. By optimising the collective resources and expertise of SOGE partners, we are accelerating the growth of a dynamic, commercial off-grid energy market to provide clean, modern, and affordable energy access to the millions of households and businesses beyond the grid in sub-Saharan Africa.

Media Contact: Nyamolo Abagi, CLASP, +254.722.209.269,

Cover photo: A man in Uganda standing by his Palfridge refrigerator.

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