Posted in Solar Power | Posted on 09-06-2011
Coca-Cola India is looking at using a new solar-powered refrigerating technique in rural areas that suffer from huge power shortages. Called the eKOCool, the chest cooler uses solar energy to refrigerate, thus ensuring higher sales of beverages and revenues for the Atlanta-based company. The cooler can hold around two crates, which amounts to 48 300ml bottles. Beverages kept in the cooler overnight or for duration of 4-5 hours are chilled enough for consumption.
This cooler doesn’t just chill beverages but will also help rural people save on costs of electricity or purchase of ice, which is the cooling method used in most rural Indian stores. Apart from this, the eKOCool can help charge mobile phones and even supply power for domestic use.
As part of an ongoing experiment, the company recently installed eKOCool coolers in 20 areas near Agra in Uttar Pradesh. The results show an increase of sales in those areas by almost five times.
It was in May 2009 that the company’s CEO, Atul Singh, thought of this idea when he learnt that most rural outlets still depended on iceboxes for cooling. To execute the idea and develop a prototype, the company collaborated with Mumbai-based Western Refrigeration. Coca-Cola then conducted trials of the prototype between March-July 2010. After obtaining successful results, the beverage giants plan to release 100 such coolers in the rural market.
The company hopes to earn decent returns that can help cover the cost incurred on installation of the eKOCool concept. Even if the breakeven period of this experiment may be longer, the fact that it is a greener venture should make it worth the waiting for the company. This can help the company reduce their carbon footprints and become a lion’s share of their corporate social responsibility. It’s a good way for the giants to show that they are not all fizz when it comes to contributing to greener causes.