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How to Build a Solar Refrigerator in Just Five Steps

Written by K. Miller / Fact checked by J. Fussell

how to build a solar refrigerator

Solar refrigerators have been a proven eco-friendly solution that eliminates the need for dependence on an electric grid. They are adept at storing thermal energy for efficient use when sunlight is unavailable.

Are you wondering how to build a solar refrigerator? In this post, we’ll tackle the materials needed when creating one and provide a tutorial regarding the required steps for building a beginner-friendly DIY off grid refrigerator. So, let’s start exploring!

You only have to complete these steps:

  • Step 1: Fill one big flower pot with a sand layer
  • Step 2: Place one small flower pot inside the big one and level the sand
  • Step 3: Fill the space between 2 pots with sand
  • Step 4: Pour water into the sand
  • Step 5: Put your items into the fridge & cover the pots with a wet cloth

What is a Solar Refrigerator?


A solar-powered refrigerator is a cooling device that utilizes the sun’s energy via photovoltaic or solar thermal energy. It works by making use of energy exchanges that emerge when specific compounds transform from a liquid into a vapor and vice versa.

Furthermore, this device is purposely built to keep perishable foods from getting spoiled or rotten. Since they don’t require ice, they are famous options for off-the-grid sites where AC power is absent.

A solar fridge provides an excellent means of keeping food preserved and safe without the need to attach it to utility-operated power. Likewise, you can use this cooling device in camps, cottages, and other dwellings as an alternative to absorption fridges.

The best thing about solar-powered refrigerators is that they can operate year-round without Freon leaks and many other chemical-related issues. Furthermore, they can hold sufficient charge to efficiently cool foods for several hours or even days.

Items Needed to Build Your DIY Solar Powered Refrigerator

  • Sand
  • Watering can
  • Two large earthenware flowerpots (one should be a bit smaller than the other)
  • Washcloth

Steps to Build Your Solar Powered Refrigerator DIY


As previously mentioned, solar refrigerators don’t require Freon or electricity to operate. Way back, this cooling device had to be quite large, so it could provide a level of cooling that was substantial for food storage. Nevertheless, the most updated designs have been developed, which are easy to build and small.

In this guide, we’ll be making something less complicated than the usual solar-powered fridges around. Did you know that you can get started in building your DIY solar refrigerator by merely using a few planting pots? Yes, you heard that right!

So, let’s explore the step-by-step guide on building your easy solar refrigerator DIY appliance.

Step 1: Fill the larger flowerpot with one layer of sand.

Take the larger flowerpot and fill it with one layer of sand. In this step, it’s critical to ensure that there are no gaps or holes on the bottom of the large and small flower pots. For this, you can utilize clay or cork to plug any holes.

Step 2: Position the smaller flowerpot inside the larger flowerpot & level the sand

After placing the smaller flowerpot inside the larger flowerpot, the next thing you’ll need to do is level the sand inside both flowerpots. See to it that both flowerpots are at an equal height.

Step 3: Fill the remaining open area between the flowerpots with sand.

Make sure that you adequately cover the remaining open area between the larger and smaller pot with sand.

Step 4: Carefully pour water into the sand to infuse it completely.

The moment the water starts rising up and spilling out instead of soaking in, you could stop.

Step 5: Put the items you prefer to keep refrigerated inside the smaller flower pot & place a wet cloth on pots’ top

After you placed the items that need preserving inside the smaller pot, you may now drench your washcloth thoroughly. And, from there, lay it across the top portion of the pots. This way, they are entirely covered.

It is essential to check your solar-powered fridge at least once or twice a day to refill the sand with water. In the same way, you’ll also need to drench your washcloth. Be sure to keep your solar freezer DIY item in a dry location with excellent ventilation.

Fundamentally, the action that enables your solar fridge to remain cool is the evaporation of the water that surrounds the smaller flower pot. Once the water evaporates, heat draws out from your smaller flowerpot. As a result, this process keeps the items inside the DIY fridge much cooler than the surrounding environment.

Would you like to explore more ideas about solar refrigerators? This video shows another example of building a solar-operated fridge freezer. You might find it worth watching.

What Are the Advantages of Solar Powered Refrigeration Systems?

Besides the fact that solar-powered refrigerators are valuable for remote locations with no constant electricity supply, they can offer other perks. And, some of these perks include the following:

  • Scalable

Solar refrigerators are ideal to utilize in a broad array of sizes. Some are designed as portable 50-liter coolers, while some versions come in building-size air cooling systems.

  • Longevity

Solar cooling devices have run continuously for countless years, as proven by units examined at diverse locations globally.

  • Eco-friendly

Solar cooling devices harness the sun’s energy to minimize reliance on fossil fuels. Hence, they immensely help discard the need for batteries that could be dangerous to our planet upon disposal. Some other related devices also contribute to environmental protection and are very suitable for camping, such as solar ovens and outdoor solar showers.


  • Coolers
  • Refrigerators
  • Ice-makers
  • Freezers
  • Building air-cooling systems

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, building a DIY solar refrigerator can offer you lots of benefits. If you’re just getting started, you can start with a beginner-friendly approach before trying other slightly complex methods of building a solar-operated fridge.

The sample on how to build a solar refrigerator which we have shared in this post is ideal for beginners who wish to discover if it’s possible to build a fridge that does not use electricity or Freon. As mentioned, you can start by using flower pots at home.

Did you find this post informative and interesting? You might want to share it with others who’d like to explore the wonders of DIY projects.

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