We first published this editorial in early 2001, and have revised it several times. The last revision was August 2008.
We no longer carry SunFrost - We quit carrying them about 10 years ago, after selling them for over 15 years. For several reasons. Read below to see why a SunFrost may not be the solution that they claim:
"Refrigeration is typically the largest consumer of electrical energy in an energy efficient home. However, the energy efficient SUN FROST refrigerator makes powering a home with photovoltaics, wind, or other low output energy sources both feasible and affordable. In a home using utility power, energy consumption for refrigeration is typically cut by a factor of 5 (80%). Along with energy efficiency, the Sun Frost offers other amenities not found in conventional refrigerators, such as food-saving, high humidity storage, quiet operation, and an easy-to-clean interior.
The Sun Frost refrigerator typically reduces refrigerator energy consumption by a factor of five. The accompanying cost of the solar power system is similarly reduced. The SUN FROST RF-16 12 volt DC model consumes 20 KWH per month, or an average of 53 amp hours per day. By contrast, conventional refrigerators typically consume about 110 KWH per month or 305 amp hours per day. Producing the 110 KWH needed to run this refrigerator on a solar power system would require an investment of around $12,000 in hardware, batteries, and inverter. A Sun Frost will reduce this cost by a factor of at least six because of its increased efficiency and the elimination of inverter losses. Inverters convert DC battery power to 120V AC."
And it goes beyond what they put in print - at an RE show a few years ago, I heard a Sunfrost rep claim that the RF16 used only 8% as much power as a standard refrigerator. That is obviously ridiculous, but it was being sold as gospel. (in fact it is from 55% to 110% as much).
Even now (April 2007), they still make claims like "Producing the 110 KWH ( per month) needed to run the typical refrigerator..." and "A Sun Frost RF16 will reduce this cost by a factor of at least six..".
Both statements are plainly and obviously false, yet the same mantra keeps getting repeated. And if you do an internet search for "SunFrost", you will see the same statement time after time repeated on hundreds of websites (none of who have actually bothered to check the facts, apparently). A check in August of 2007 of the energy star website for refrigerators shows that many in the 18-21 CF range come in at under 400 KWH per year - which is a far cry from the 13,200 claimed by Sunfrost. And a typical one, like one Kenmore model rated 367 KWH per year costs over $2000 less than the Sunfrost RF19.