Downing trees or gathering sticks to fuel stoves is a major cause of deforestation and desertification. But if you could get that fuel free from the sun…
The Panel Solar Cooker
The Panel Solar Cooker uses reflective panels to focus sunlight onto a pot. These work best in tropical climates or in the warmer months when wind and heat loss are not an issue. An inexpensive, aluminized cardboard panel cooker can heat food up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. That is plenty since food starts to cook at 180 degrees F.
Aluminum foil will work for a couple of weeks, but after that the aluminum oxidizes and turns dark. The design shown (was sold through Gaim for $120) is made of polished aluminum and can heat foods to 350-400F on a sunny, warm day. Mo matter which type of solar cooker you use, always wear sunglasses! Originally found at “gaiam. com/product/hot+pot+simple+solar+cooker.do”.
The Box Solar Cooker
Box Solar Cookers have an insulated box, topped with a transparent glass or plastic cover and a reflector or reflectors that help heat the box. Temperatures inside the box can reach 400 degrees F and cooking can be done almost unattended, like a slow cooker. This cooker is preferable to a parabolic if small children are around.
The solar cooker box in the picture uses mylar on plastic flute board for the reflectors and the inside of the box is aluminum sheet metal. This model can be made at home. (See the youtube video at end of page.) Solar Cookers International has more information on their website.
The Parabolic Solar Cooker
The Parabolic Solar Cooker (or Curved Concentrator solar cooker) concentrates the sun’s heat onto the bottom or the sides of a pot—similar to a stovetop. Temperatures can get so hot that you can fry food or pop popcorn.
The advantages are speed and the potential to cook when it is cool outside. The disadvantages are safety concerns (as to eyes and children) and the need to stir the contents of the pot so the food does not stick, just like a stovetop. Temperatures can reach above 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the pot. The parabolic cooker might also need adjustment to keep it faced toward the sun. Information can be found at the Solar Cooking Wiki.
The GoSun Solar Cooker
This new solar cooker—winner of a 2016 CES Innovation Award—doesn’t fit into any of the traditional categories. You slide your food into an glass vacuum tube surrounded by parabolic reflectors. The vacuum effect helps hold the heat—internal temperatures get up to 550F, as hot as any gas-powered grill. The GoSun Sport sells for $279; the larger $799 GoSun Grill is available for pre-order.
More Panel Solar Cookers
CooKits are produced independently in 25 countries from a wide variety of materials at a cost of $3 – $7 US. Go to Solar Cooking International for more information on the Cookit.
Aluminized Panel Cooker
If well-maintained these aluminized panel cookers will last for a few months. Various models can be seen at Libero.
The Fun Panel. This design can also be made in cement with mirrored reflectors. Instructions to make this solar cooker can be found here.
Made from foil panels, this homemade solar cooker is able to get the job done.
Octagon solar cooker or Clear Dome
This panel cooker has 8 sides. Its deeply tapered concentrator is fully adjustable. Uses mirror-like AA (coated anodized aluminum) that will fry an egg in 12 minutes. Need to re-position every two hours or so. Reaches 350 degrees F on a sunny, dry day. $190. See www.cleardomesolar.com for more.
Marshmallow Solar Cooker
More Solar Box Cookers
The Kyoto Box
The Kyoto solar cooker. Two cardboard boxes, some black paint, aluminum foil and a glass cover. See www.kyoto-energy.com for their pre-made boxes, biomass cookers and solar shower bags. The full story can be found at CNet.
Colativo Solar Cooker
Some really well done bananas. This box is used to help the Nicaraguan community. Find additional information at the Solar Cooking Wiki.
A Sturdy Solar Box
This one looks like it will last a while. Solar Cooking International has more photographs on their website.
The Portable Cooker
The portability of this solar cooker makes it great for travel. All you have to do is close the box and carry it to your next adventure!
More Parabolic Solar Cookers
Local Parabolic Cooker
These parabolic solar cookers are manufactured by locals in their country of use. Additional information can be found at Ecoandina.
Perfect for sunny, high altitude, dry locations. Feel free to explore more on Ecoandina’s Website.
The Balcony Solar Cooker takes away the threat of animal theft and a potential child’s injury. Note the user is wearing sunglasses. Solar Cooking Wiki has more information on their website.
Solar Cooker From Australia
A great way to heat up your water for a nice cup of tea!
The Barbaboa Cooker. A do it yourself umbrella solar cooker. Solar Cookers International provides more details on their website.
Solar Cooker With An Upgrade
A fancier version. The extended feet will help with positioning the panels just right. You can browse the Solar Cooking Wiki for more information.
Up close. Notice that the pot is black to retain heat. Additional information can be found at the Solar Cooking Wiki.
Square Solar Cooker
A square parabolic solar cooker. The “Solar Cooker Designs” section of the Solar Cooking Wiki has more information you can use.
Painting the bottom of the pot black helps the pot absorb the heat. This photo was found on the Solar Cooking Wiki.
Old satellite dishes are perfect frames – here the pot hangs. Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has additional information on their website.
The Papillion. Easy to get to the pot and if the food boils over it will not dirty your reflectors. This photo was originally found at “www.solar-papillon. com”.
Using Sun Fire
Another simple winged cooker in Somalia. Photographs and information can be found at Sun Fire Cooking’s website.
Foil Solar Cooker
Using reflective foil is a great way to build your own solar cooker.
Integrated Solar Cooker
Many solar cookers are now being integrated into a structure. Information can be found at the wiki for solar cooking.
Villager Sun Oven
Villager Sun Oven can reach 500 degrees F. it can cook 1200 meals a day. Villager Sun Ovens are currently in use in 55 countries around the world. Find out more from the Solar Cooking Wiki.
Green Solar Cooker
The Tiny Tec parabolic solar cooker. $270 includes shipping. www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com
A smaller Octagon Parabola called Clear Dome looks good as well. www.shop.senecaelectronicsonline.com $198.
Sun Scoop—designed to be made locally in third world cities with simple basic hand tools. Materials for construction can be substituted. Cooking temp is 250F on cool sunny days- cake takes 1.5 hr to bake. variables in sun and amount of food affect cooking time a bit.
How To Make A Solar Cooker
(always good to have around during hurricane season)
Many designs – Panel, Box and Parabolic
Pizza Box Type
“www.solarnow. org/pizzabx.htm” Make a solar oven from pizza boxes.
Panel Cooker Plans
Making a Parabolic Reflector Out of a Flat Sheet
The Solar Cooking Wiki
Check it out for lots more inspiration
Solar Cookers In Developing Countries
The World Health Organization has found that “indoor air pollution from solid fuel use is responsible for more than 1.6 million annual deaths and 2.7% of the global burden of disease.” Plus, 45% of the world’s wood is used as fuel – which is becoming scarcer and scarcer.
- Solar Cookers International
- Center for Development of Solar Energy CEDESOL (Bolivia)
- Foundation EcoAndina (Bolivia – in Spanish)
- Foundation for Sustainable Technologies FoST (Nepal)
- Grupo Fenix (Nicaragua)
- Practical Action – International Technology Development Group
- Solar Household Energy SHE (Central America and Africa)
- Solare Bruecke (Germany)
- Sun Ovens International (Worldwide)