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Solar Cooker Review

July 2005

Solar Cooking Archive:

Volume 11, Number 2
(Back Issues at (E-mail PDF)

Paper Circulation: 9,000
Online hits: Hit Counter

In This Issue

News you send

[Editor’s note: "News you send" is compiled by Ramón Coyle, Solar Cookers International’s information exchange specialist. E-mail your news items to or mail to Ramón Coyle, Solar Cookers International, 1919 21st Street #101, Sacramento, California 95811-6827, USA. We want to hear from you — especially if your program is growing or if your work has not been featured in the Solar Cooker Review before. Please include your contact information. Submissions are subject to editing if printed. (Tom Sponheim, volunteer Webmaster of SCI’s Solar Cooking Archive Web site, will fill in until October when Ramón returns from an absence.)]



A loose association of five German nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) has formed the PapiTchad Work Group to promote the "Papillon" solar cooker in Chad and evaluate the results. The Papillon is essentially a parabolic cooker consisting of two reflective "wings" with a gap in between to allow for comfortable use by the cook and folding of the reflectors for transport and storage. The work group, in conjunction with a Chadian instructor, has provided construction courses for local craftsmen. PapiTchad is partnering with the Chadian Association of Volunteers for Progress and the Environment. Contact Jürgen Marquardt, Lernen - Helfen - Leben e.V., Achterndiek 12, D 49377 Vechta, Germany. Tel: 0049-(0)4441-81343, e-mail:, Web:

Derk Rijks of the KoZon Foundation began a small demonstration project in northern Chad at the Iridimi camp for refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan. Mr. Rijks took 100 "CooKits" — panel-type solar cookers developed by Solar Cookers International — to the camp. The project tested whether food donated to the refugees by the United Nations World Food Programme could be solar cooked and whether the refugees would accept solar cooking. Three CooKit trainers from N’Djamena, Chad — Marie-Rose Neloum, Martine Missal and Esther Ndoroumta — aided in the training. The refugee women were enthusiastic! They cooked rice, maize and sorghum porridge, legumes, dried fish and okra sauces. Staff members from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva were very helpful. Efforts are being made to expand the program. Photo shows Darfur refugees hand-producing CooKits. Contact Derk Rijks by e-mail:; or contact Kozon Foundation, Hollandseweg 384, 6705 BE Wageningen, Netherlands. Tel: 31-317412370, fax: 31-317410732, e-mail:, Web:


The organization Solar Cooking Eritrea Netherlands (SCEN) began working in Eritrea in November 2003 as a member of the Working Group Hagaz Eritrea. In January 2005 SCEN became an independent foundation. During three visits to Eritrea the group, working with the National Union of Eritrean Women, has introduced the CooKit solar cooker to many women in the Anseba region. Work has begun to enable local production of CooKits. Solar cookers have also been introduced in a camp for displaced persons at Adi Keshi in the Gash Barka region. SCEN shares information with the KoZon Foundation, another Netherlands-based organization with years of experience promoting solar cooking in West Africa. SCEN is headed by Mrs. Clara Thomas. Contact Ms. Janine Pater by e-mail:, or visit SCEN on the Web:


SHARE — the Society for Hospital and Resources Exchange, based in New York, USA — has provided a giant Villager Sun Oven® to the Kakelo women’s group in Oyugis, Kenya. The solar oven, made by Sun Ovens International, is capable of baking 100 loaves of bread per hour. "The oven can pasteurize water for drinking as well as bake bread and other bakery items," SHARE reports. "This frees women from the job of wood-gathering for fuel, [which takes] up to four hours a day, and it saves the cost of purchasing charcoal or wood if the women cannot find enough wood. Solar cooking keeps women and children out of the smoke-filled huts … that cause extremely high incidence of severe respiratory diseases … and eye problems. Solar cooking also avoids the danger of children falling into open fires and suffering severe burns. "Since the arrival of the big sun oven, people have been visiting it from surrounding districts and missions and are filled with hope," SHARE reports. "Thirty more women have joined the group to learn how to [solar] bake bread." Many members of the Kakelo group take care of AIDS patients and AIDS orphans, so the financial, health and nutrition benefits are especially important.


In the first year of his latest solar cooking project, Mr. Hosana Nyirenda hoped to train 30 women to make and use solar cookers. Ultimately, 42 women and eight men were trained. (Forty of them learned how to teach others.) Sixty-seven solar cooking demonstrations were conducted, raising solar cooking awareness of some 4,500 adults and children. A few communities are considering solar cooker projects of their own. Mr. Nyirenda’s project was supported by the Lilongwe Rotary Club. Funds are sought to extend the project to other areas of Malawi and to focus on serving those who suffer from HIV/AIDS. Contact: Hosana Nyirenda, Nkhotakota RDP, P.O. Box 41, Nkhotakota, Malawi


The Association of Handicapped Women (AMAFH) has been organizing solar cooker training for its members. Twenty women participated in the first training session. They reported that the lightweight "CooKit" solar cooker is easy to handle and that with solar there is less risk of burns. They say that solar cooking can put handicapped women in the same range as other women in running their own households.
AMAFH learned about solar cooking when they saw a television show about the Association of Women Engineers (AFIMA) demonstrating solar cookers. AMAFH contacted AFIMA to arrange training for their members, funded by a small grant from Handicap International. They were so pleased with solar cooking that they began organizing more workshops for their members, with assistance from the KoZon Foundation in the Netherlands. Contact Kozon Foundation, Hollandseweg 384, 6705 BE Wageningen, Netherlands. Tel: 31-317412370, fax: 31-317410732, e-mail:, Web:


Mr. Joseph Odey of the Kainji Lakes region reports that he has built and distributed 290 solar cookers in the past few years. In addition, 152 people were taught to make and use their own solar cookers. Demonstrations have been given in 18 villages. Before promoting, Mr. Odey built and tested his own cooker from instructions published by Solar Cookers International. His first solar meal was rice, but he soon moved on to cooking stew, cake, bread and other foods. Mr. Odey uses the following locally available tools and supplies: cardboard, aluminum foil, glue, knife, scissors and tape, as well as black pots for cooking in. Though he does sell some cookers, he pays production, distribution and travel expenses. "The beneficiaries confirmed that the [meals] from the cookers are quite palatable, but not for someone who wants food in a hurry," Mr. Odey reports. Contact: Joseph Odey, P.O. Box 300, Kainji, New Bussa, Niger State, Nigeria. E-mail:

South Africa

Looking for inexpensive, recycled reflective material for solar cookers? Here’s a tip from the SunStove® organization of South Africa: "Lithograph printing plates are available in every country at the government printing office, the local printer or the local newspaper. Used printing plates are sold as scrap." This scrap may be sold for the equivalent of US $1.25 per kilogram. Before using the plates in solar cookers, clean with paint thinner and water. For more information, visit the SunStove Web site:


AltEner Energy Technologies presented a 3-square-meter Scheffler reflector for observation at the 19th Mara Development Forum in Mugumu, Serengeti District, Tanzania. Scheffler reflectors are large parabolic dishes that are often used to heat a cooking medium (such as water to make steam) that is circulated to one or more indoor cooking stations. This is a smaller version. Mr. Charles Onyango-Oloo of AltEner says the new design is user friendly since "the port is mounted on one side and not in the middle of the reflector dish." AltEner is currently developing a 1.5-square-meter, manually tracked Scheffler cooker. Contact: Charles Onyango-Oloo, AltEner Energy Technologies, P.O. Box 8876-00300, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: 254-0721 727830, e-mail:, Web:


Elizabeth Mpofu received training in solar cooking five years ago from Barby Pulliam, a Girl Guide and Solar Cookers International volunteer. Ms. Mpofu reports that her group has trained 500 women how to solar cook and offered them each a solar cooker. Ms. Mpofu has also promoted solar cooking in primary and secondary schools. "Each year," she writes, "we are doing an evaluation to assess the problems, achievements and innovations the participants are experiencing. The major stumbling block is lack of resources to expand the program to other communities." Contact: Elizabeth Mpofu, Matova Primary School, Private Bag 9213, Masvingo, Zimbabwe. E-mail:



Professor Arnaldo Moura Bezerra reports that the small city of Uirauna, in the "backwoods" of the state of Paraiba, boasts its own solar cooker production unit. A priest known as Father Domingues manages production of parabolic cookers based on the SK-14 cookers developed by EG-Solar of Germany. Residents use the cookers daily. Contact Arnaldo Moura Bezerra by e-mail:


Communities in Partnership, a Canadian organization that promotes solar cooking in Haiti, has introduced a new twist — the "Kyoto Twist." Canada’s government is encouraging its citizens to fight global climate change by reducing individual emissions of greenhouse gasses by one ton per year. Solar cookers in developing countries that displace the use of firewood save an estimated one to two tons of greenhouse gasses per year. The Kyoto Twist — named for the world’s greenhouse gas reduction treaty — enables Canadians to buy a solar cooker for a family in Haiti. The Haitian family gets immediate relief from firewood scarcity, high fuel prices and smoky kitchens, while the Canadian chalks up at least a one-ton reduction in greenhouse gasses. Contact: Jack Anderson, Box 191, Lund, BC V0N2G0, Canada. E-mail:


Solar Energy International’s next "Renewable Energy for the Developing World" workshop will be held 17-23 October, 2005, in Sabana Grande. The seven-day workshop — cosponsored by Grupo Fenix — will be hands-on: participants will help a women’s cooperative build and use solar ovens, and will install a solar Photovoltaic lighting system. The workshop will also include overviews of other solar, wind and hydroelectric systems, and social and cultural issues surrounding renewable energy in the developing world. The registration fee of $850 covers food, lodging and all in-country transportation. Contact Solar Energy International, PO Box 715, 76 South 2nd Street, Carbondale, Colorado 81623, USA. Tel: 970-963-8855, fax: 970-963-8866, e-mail:, Web:


The Celestina Pérez de Almada Foundation continues to expand its solar program and to gain new allies. In March, the foundation began cooperating with Essen, a company that manufactures cooking pots that work well with parabolic-type solar cookers. A demonstration was held in Asuncion where popular local foods were solar cooked. Ms. Graciela Stanchuk, an international manager for Essen, pledged that the company would pursue further solar cooking tests. The Foundation has also developed a solar energy training program for students and school personnel, to be funded in part by the Swiss Embassy in Paraguay, and has begun making large Scheffler reflectors, of which two have already been installed. A Scheffler dish with 4.5-square-meters of reflective surface is being used to cook fruits at a juice and jam factory in Clorinda, Argentina. A second dish with 8-square-meters of surface will power an oven that reaches 250°C. Contact Dr. Martin Almada by e-mail: 

United States

Inventor Carroll Hampleman reports that he has designed and constructed the "Hamp Hi-Tracker," a series of 28 reflecting mirrors that track the sun throughout the day. Carroll says the device can be used to cook food, as well as heat water for various uses. Two 35-watt, 110-volt reversible control motors (approximately $13.00 each) provide tracking capability, and can be powered by household 110-volt electricity, or by a 12-volt car battery or photovoltaic cell (inverter required). At 6 p.m. the mirrors automatically return to their 8 a.m. morning positions and the control motors shut down, ready for the next day. Photo shows "Hamp Hi-Tracker" pre-heating a hot-water tank. For details, contact Carroll Hampleman by e-mail:

Texas Solar Cookers, a group based in San Antonio, demonstrated solar cooking during a river clean-up day called the "Basura Bash." They also demonstrated solar cooking at a local herb and garden show, the local Air Quality Health Fair, and at Earth Day events. Monica Salyer, a leader of the group, was featured in her company’s newsletter, gaining further publicity for solar cooking and Solar Cookers International. Contact Monica Salyer by e-mail:

Vermont resident Jeannine Bakriges has experimented for years with solar fiber dyeing and has taught several classes on the subject. In 2003 she formed the "Brighid Dyers," a group of 16 fiber enthusiasts who wanted to develop solar dyeing techniques and test them with a range of natural and chemical dyestuffs. Ms. Bakriges has used both solar box cookers and Solar Cookers International’s panel-type solar cooker (the CooKit) as heat sources for dyeing. Her article in the summer 2005 issue of Spin•Off magazine titled "Sun-Kissed Dyeing: Achieving beautiful colors with solar power" provides details on solar fiber dyeing, and shows a number of solar-dyed fiber samples. For more information, visit the Spin•Off Web site:

Students at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York won a $10,000 "People, Prosperity and the Planet" award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their solar cooker research. The award will fund a project to design solar cookers that can be mass-produced at low cost using the capital, labor and materials that are typically available in Latin American nations. In early phases of their research, the students chose particleboard as the primary construction material because of its relative low price, durability, insulation values and local availability. The students focused on three solar box cooker prototypes, including one that they say requires only about $15 in materials. End users in Venezuela have tested the prototypes. For more information visit the project Web site:

 Galen Schuck continues to build and demonstrate solar cookers at a number of events. Most recently he displayed an assortment of cookers at KRCL Public Radio’s "Day in the Park" gathering in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Schuck answered numerous questions and handed out literature about Solar Cookers International. He notes that solar cookers can be used to make natural soap and candles. Contact Galen Schuck, 2455 Quail Run Drive, Sandy, Utah 84093, USA. Tel: 801-733-9521, e-mail:


The Centro Uruguayo de Tecnologias Apropriadas took part in organizing Uruguay’s first "National Solar Energy Encounter" in March. The event followed a series of workshops that taught people to build their own solar equipment, including solar ovens, solar water heaters and solar food dryers. Solar activists from many parts of the country gathered in Montevideo to share ideas and plan future activities. The gathering gained wide exposure in the news media. Contact: Juan Jose Ona, Calle Paes, 224, C.P. 12100 Montevideo, Uruguay. E-mail:



Dr. Anumakonda Jagadeesh develops simple, affordable solar devices, including food dryers. He says that solar drying is popular in India, where people often dry soaked rice, pickles, salted fish and millet by placing the food in winnowing baskets and leaving it to dry in the sun. But food dries slowly in this manner and is exposed to contaminants like dust, insects and birds, not to mention sudden rains. Dr. Jagadeesh designed a simple solar dryer to overcome these obstacles. The body of his dryer is a tray-shaped basket made of bamboo or similar woven material, with slanted sides to accommodate broad sun angles. The inside is lined with a black, high-density polyethylene plastic sheet to absorb solar radiation. (Alternatively, the basket can be painted black and lined with a transparent plastic sheet.) Holes are made in the sides of the plastic sheet to allow airflow through the dryer. The basket is covered with transparent polyethylene sheet that is fixed on two sides. The ends are left unfixed to allow access to the basket. Dryer tests conducted by Dr. Jagadeesh indicate drying times half that of traditional open-air methods. Contact Dr. Anumakonda Jagadeesh, Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives, 2/210 First Floor, Nawabpet, Nellore 524-002, Andhra Pradesh, India. Tel: +91 861 5518626, e-mail:


Dr. Shyam Nandwani of Costa Rica spoke at the South-South Cooperation in Renewable Energy meeting and the 4th International Conference on Fuel Conservation, sponsored by the World Renewable Energy Network and Iran’s Ministry of Energy. While in Tehran, Dr. Nandwani also gave an impromptu lecture on solar energy and solar cooking at the Astronomical Center of Rey. Over 100 University students attended this talk, which was organized by Mr. Amir Mahdi Komarizadeh. Contact Dr. Shyam Nandwani by e-mail:; or contact Amir Mahdi Komarizadeh by e-mail:


Ms. Joyce Ong Choon Kim of Penang reports that she always includes solar cooking in camps for Girl Guides. In November 2004, 45 Girl Guides, Rangers and Cadet Guides attended the Olave Camp of the Penang Girl Guides Association and learned about solar cooking. In January 2005, five Ranger Guides were enthusiastic about attending a solar cooking workshop with Ms. Ong Choon Kim. More camps and solar cooking lessons are planned. Contact: Ms. Joyce Ong Choon Kim, Penang Girl Guides Association, 260, Jalan Air Itam, 10460 Penang, Malaysia. E-mail:


Solar Serve, based in DaNang, reports building 300 solar box cookers and 50 parabolic cookers during the last rainy season. The organization is investigating ways to distribute the cookers in Quang Ngai province. Solar Serve was recently one of several solar energy projects featured on a 30-minute national television documentary. Contact: Tan Bich Nguyen, 222 Nguyen Tri Phuong, DaNang, Vietnam. Tel: 84-55-520018, e-mail:



An exhibition titled "D-Day, Modern-day Design" is on display at the Centre Pompidou through 17 October, 2005. According to the center’s Web site (, the exhibition is a "reflection on contemporary design values and their anthropological and aesthetic challenges. … It is a narrative and sensory collection that questions the current scope of design, the relationship with and experience of contact with an object, the vanishing points of the imagination and an object’s power of seduction." Solar cookers and solar stills are among the designs on exhibit.


Miguel Angel Soria recently conducted a solar cooker construction and use workshop for upper level students in the town El Bruc, on the side of the mountain of Montserrat. As part of the workshop, pizza was cooked with solar energy and then eaten with enthusiasm by the workshop participants.

Mr. Soria is also in the process of constructing a Spanish-language Web site — — dedicated to solar cookers. Contact: Miguel Angel Soria Alcazar, Calle Montflorit, 2, 08850 - Gava, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail:

Sunny Solutions enters business phase

By Pascale Dennery, SCI Technical Assistance Director

Two years ago the Sunny Solutions project began introducing the benefits of solar cookers to people in the rural communities of Upper and Lower Nyakach, in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Solar Cookers International (SCI) worked closely with its community-based partner, Nyakach Community Development Association, as well as with local leaders and women’s groups. A network of local solar cooker representatives in four administrative locations of Nyakach provided solar cooker demonstrations at marketplaces, churches and other public events, creating widespread awareness of solar cooking and solar water pasteurization throughout the area. In April, additional solar cooker representatives were trained to ensure that solar cookers are accessible in all fourteen administrative locations.

During the first 18 months of the project, sales of CooKits — SCI’s panel-type solar cooker — reached 635, surpassing normal patterns of uptake for new technologies and benefiting an estimated 3,600 people in Nyakach and neighboring areas. When sales reached 500 cookers, the project transitioned from the introduction phase to the business phase. Seventeen Solar Cooker Representatives (SCOREPS) work hard to achieve sales; they walk long distances to visit clients, conduct product demonstrations, collect payments and provide follow-up services. These seventeen women earn money from sales and for providing instruction and public demonstrations. Four SCOREPS are now interested in starting "energy shops" to sell CooKits and related supplies (pots, lids, cooking bags) as well as offering maintenance and repair services. SCI collaborates with local providers of micro-credit loans and small enterprise trainers to help ensure success of these shops.

To further increase access to solar cookers in impoverished areas such as Nyakach, SCI staff and volunteers in Kenya are testing prototypes of hand-made CooKits for durability and cooking performance. The hand-made cookers, with durable Tetra Pak reflective material, could potentially be made in Nyakach at a lower cost, thus expanding options for Kenyan consumers as well as further employment opportunities.

Local solar cooking access is good for both sellers and consumers. During my February visit to Nyakach, a woman named Ella told me her children enjoy solar-cooked foods so much that there are no leftovers. She has cut her monthly charcoal use from two sacks to less than one, and she can now afford to have an AIDS orphan live at home with her. Elizabeth, a SCOREP nicknamed "Mama Solar," said solar cooking helps her family stay healthier as they eat more nutritious meals, drink pasteurized water, and breathe in less smoke from cooking fires. I also met Margaret, a woman who solar-bakes cakes (a rare treat in Nyakach) and sells them by the slice at her son’s barbershop. Other enterprising community members are generating income by using solar cookers in small restaurants or investing cooking fuel savings in nurseries, food animals, and education for their children. Solar cookers truly make a difference in Nyakach, where most people live on less than one dollar a day.

SCI committed to education resources, information exchange

By Bev Blum, SCI Executive Director

In recent Solar Cooker Review issues I’ve highlighted Solar Cookers International’s priorities for 2005-2010: first, spreading solar cookers to marketplaces throughout Kenya — growing from the Sunny Solutions project in Nyakach, Kenya — and, secondly, advocacy for supportive energy policies in five governments. Future Review issues will provide updates on these programs.

Oddly, urgent cooking fuel shortages in many developing countries are still nearly invisible to many policymakers, as are the related harmful impacts on families. This year the United Nations is again focusing on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by the year 2015. The MDGs state that women’s participation is essential and that women need better education, opportunities for income generation, and participation in community development. But none of these is possible until women and girls are free from the time loss and hazards of fuel gathering, smoky fires and diseases from unsafe drinking water. Solar cookers advance all eight MDGs.

SCI’s third initiative is to expand access to teaching tools and well-documented worldwide data on solar cookers through quality education resources, including basic how-to-make-and-use instructions for consumers, teacher’s guides, training manuals for community projects, an international directory of experts, detailed geographic and technical reports on cooker designs, and field project evaluations. These resources are available through printed materials, Web sites, conferences and seminars, the media, and a query-response service.

SCI’s fourth initiative is information exchange, whereby independent promoters worldwide learn from each other. SCI is unique in pooling the wisdom of seven hundred independent experts and groups who periodically contribute information to — and benefit from — SCI’s database of worldwide data and resources.

In the next Solar Cooker Review I’ll discuss the remaining priorities. Each of SCI’s six priorities requires years to accomplish and major fund commitments. We need to continue expanding our faithful membership, and urge you to introduce us to people who share your commitment to a better world. We are also proud to announce that, in partnership with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, we can now offer major gift annuity options to donors of $10,000 and above (see "Give AND receive with an SCI charitable gift annuity," page one).

Echoing Mahatma Gandhi, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." Or, as a gardener once said, "Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade and saying, ‘Oh, how lovely’." Through SCI YOU are the change. On behalf of millions of women in fuel-scarce, sun-rich areas, Thank you!

Sunny Solutions on FM radio

By Margaret Owino, SCI East Africa Director

Women whose lives have been touched by SCI’s Sunny Solutions project were featured guests on Radio Ramogi FM’s call-in program every Saturday in May. The women shared their experiences in Dholuo, the language of the Luo ethnic group. The broadcast reached across Kenya, with the main audience in Nyanza and Western Provinces. Dinah Chienjo, SCI’s Sunny Solutions project officer, started things off on May 8th by describing the project and answering questions about solar cookers. Margaret Awino Opiyo spoke the following week on how she uses her solar cooker (SCI’s "CooKit") to save fuel and increase profit at her small restaurant in Central Nyakach. Margaret’s husband felt his family was greatly honored and he even accompanied her to the radio studio. On May 22nd Doris Orwa Jasolo explained to callers the difference solar cooking has made in her life. In addition to using less cooking fuel, Doris appreciates not having to tend a smoky fire and her family enjoys pasteurized water and tasty meals. Her children love the aroma and flavor of solar-cooked omena (small fish similar to minnow). On May 29th Solar Cooker Representative (SCOREP) Jessica Aoko Ochieng’ described teaching others how to solar cook and how she introduced solar cooking to six teachers at Rae Gem Primary School in North Nyakach. Her husband is very happy that Jessica is one of the top solar cooker sellers in the area; the benefits of her hard work are apparent within the family.

Many people listened to the radio programs. Over 100 listeners phoned for more information and a record 103 CooKits were sold during the month. Listeners said the radio spots gave credibility to solar cooking and the businesses run by the SCOREPS.

Rose Kowere was one of the listeners. She is a visually impaired history and English teacher, with a Masters degree in Special Education from the United Kingdom. Rose contacted Dinah to purchase a CooKit and receive instruction in its use. When Dinah arrived at Job Omino Primary School in Kisumu town, Rose had already gathered nine other teachers so they could learn too. Rose purchased a CooKit right away; four others also hope to buy CooKits. Dinah left with a promise to return soon and conduct a solar cooker demonstration at the school.

So, what can YOU do?

By Kevin Porter, SCI Education Resources Director

Do you remember the first time you cautiously removed a hot pot from a solar cooker, anxiously opened the lid, and witnessed — with awe — the steam and scents come rushing out? Amazing, wasn’t it? I remember thinking that this simple technology will revolutionize the world. And it is … gradually, sporadically.

To hasten the worldwide spread of solar cookers, the board of directors of Solar Cookers International (SCI) has made advocacy a high priority. Over the next few years SCI will work to influence local, national and international policy-makers to support solar cooker use on a larger scale. You can play an important role in your own community and beyond. (More or less of these ideas may be practical for you, depending on where you live, etc.)
So, you may ask, what can YOU do? I’m glad you asked …

Learn to solar cook and do it regularly. First-hand experience of solar cooking many foods is invaluable. People will ask, guaranteed!

Develop a basic understanding of solar cooker history and concepts. A good place to start is SCI’s Web site:

Family, friends, neighbors. The simple act of using your solar cooker is sure to pique the curiosity of family, friends and neighbors. Feed this interest, literally, by hosting a solarque. Some neighborhoods even have solar potlucks.
Youth. Solar cookers are excellent devices for teaching about solar energy. (And hopefully youth that learn about solar cookers become solar-cooking adults!) Offer to teach solar cooking to students at schools, youth programs, camps, etc.

General public. Festivals, Earth Day celebrations, religious functions and other public events provide opportunities to expose large numbers of people to solar cookers. Grocery stores, particularly natural food stores, may allow you to demonstrate solar cookers at their store or teach a cooking class.

Note: with advance notice SCI can provide handouts and display materials. You may also want to purchase a teacher’s kit from SCI, or additional products to sell. (Inquire about quantity discounts.)

Engage the media. Newspapers and broadcast media are sometimes interested in local stories with an international angle. If you solar cook, they may wish to report about your experiences and the worldwide potential for solar cooking and solar water pasteurization. Be sure to send article copies to SCI for its archives!

Write letters to editors. When you read news stories about cooking fuel shortages, illnesses caused by cooking smoke and fires, waterborne diseases, or general drudgery faced by millions of women in developing countries, consider submitting a response that provides insight into solar cookers as clean, safe, environmentally-friendly tools for cooking food and pasteurizing water. (See sample, below.)

Contact elected officials. Ask them to support renewable energy technologies like solar cookers and to help level the playing field by removing unfair subsidies given to non-renewable energy companies.


  • Become an SCI member. Your financial support is crucial to our work, and your thoughtful communications keep us invigorated.
  • Spread the word. More support for SCI means more families can benefit! For example, generous SCI supporter Kent Mein directs folks to support SCI through his Web site: 
    Alternative gifts. For your next birthday or holiday consider collecting donations instead of presents. This works both ways: you can also give to friends and family by donating to SCI in their honor.
  • Volunteer. Many solar cooker promoters need help from time to time. If you have some spare time you might consider volunteering. You can search for promoters in your region in SCI’s International Directory of Solar Cooking Promoters — on the Internet at — or request a list by e-mail:

SCI awarded "Sun and Peace Prize"

Solar Cookers International (SCI) was awarded a Premio Sol y Paz ("Sun and Peace Prize") at this year’s Encuentro Solar celebration in Granada, Spain. The prize went to seven individuals and organizations whose work towards the promotion of renewable energy serves as models for others to follow. SCI is honored to be among the distinguished recipients, having been selected for its "emphatic work in diffusion and investigation" of solar cooking, its role as a worldwide catalyst, and its Solar Cooking Archive, the "most complete portal of [solar cooking] information on the Internet." For more information on this year’s winners, visit the Encuentro Solar Web site: The Solar Cooking Archive is on the Internet at

Further adventures in adapting solar ideas

By Ramón Coyle, SCI Information Exchange Specialist

Creative people often send their ideas to Solar Cookers International. Two recent examples come from India.

Dr. Ajay Chandak of the PRINCE group says, "There are many enthusiasts living in cities, and they do not have adequate space to keep parabolic solar cookers in the sun. Balconies are smaller — normally three-feet wide — while the SK-14 (a popular parabolic cooker) needs six feet of space." Dr. Chandak built a parabolic cooker that can be mounted on the parapet or railing of a balcony. A retractable handle pulls the cooker close enough to the balcony to give access to the pot. The cooker comes equipped with a manual tracking device that allows the user to follow the sun from east to west and as it climbs and descends in the sky.

This may not be the final word on solar cookers for balconies, but it is the first time I have heard of someone attempting to design parabolic cookers for urban residents in high rise buildings. Contact: Prof. Ajay Chandak, PRINCE (Promoters and Researchers In Non-Conventional Energy), Jankibai Trust, Shamgiri, Agra Road, Deopur, Dhule 424 005, Maharashtra, India. Tel: 91 2562 271795, e-mail:, Web:

Meanwhile, Sri Sankha Subrha Datta of West Bengal proposes a new type of solar box cooker. Details were recently added to Dr. Ashok Kundapur’s online review of solar cooker designs at Dr. Kundapur writes, "I consider it a new major design on the scene. It is a rectangular construction with two reflectors, making it possible for trapping maximum solar radiation. For achieving this, the cooker has to be inclined. … I am sure this cooker performs better than regular box-type solar cookers with one reflector."

The key feature of this new box cooker is that it is designed to tilt toward the sun. The Global Sun Oven® — a popular model by Sun Ovens International — has an adjustable leg allowing for some tilt, but Mr. Datta’s design takes that idea further; the cooker can be tilted to maintain a nearly 90-degree angle to the light as the sun’s position in the sky changes. A long leg on one end of the cooker allows for sharp tilt, while four internal shelves swing freely to keep up to four pots of food horizontal as the cooker’s tilt is adjusted for changing sun angles. When the cooker is flat and the sun is overhead, the sunlight will shine on the pot lids. When the cooker is tilted to face a lower sun, much of the sunlight will strike the sides of the pots.

Mr. Datta’s design appeals to me for several reasons:

  • Keeping the window close to perpendicular to the angle of the sun’s rays allows the cooker to work most efficiently: few rays bounce off the window. Also, little sunlight hits the inside walls of the cooker, making internal reflective surfaces unnecessary, thereby offering potential savings in production costs.
  • Since the cooker is to be re-positioned about once per hour to track the sun’s movement, the spatial relationship between reflectors and cooker can be constant. Instead of reflectors that have to be adjusted to many different positions, on this cooker there need be only two positions: one for when the sun is striking the cooker at approximately 90 degrees, and one for when the cooker is being loaded, unloaded or stored.
  • Because it will still work when the sun is somewhat low in the sky, it may allow users to solar cook more meals per year by taking better advantage of marginal solar cooking conditions.

It is the last point that most interests me. If a new design feature adds 10 or 20 percent in production costs, but enables users to solar cook, say, 50 percent more meals per year, it may still be economical. This point further highlights the need to match cooker designs with local climate conditions, customs and usage.

Mr. Datta’s box cooker is made mostly from aluminum sheeting, and includes two panes of glass for the glazing. He estimates small-scale production costs of the cooker, including labor, to be about $45. In India, the cooker can boil four liters of water in less than two hours at midday.

On the downside, this new design needs repositioning hourly, whereas simple solar box cookers can often be left unattended for three or more hours. The new cooker also has a fairly small capacity. It’s designed to hold four one-liter pots — perhaps ideal for smaller families, but limiting for larger ones. Additionally, the cooker may be more susceptible to wind than other models are. Others may want to tinker with this idea to see if the increases in efficiency are worth additional effort in building and using the "inclined box cooker."

Solar disinfection reducing water contamination for urban poor

The Kenya Water for Health Organization (KWAHO) reports that 20,000 families have benefited from an ongoing SODIS project in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya. SODIS — short for "solar disinfection" — is a method of inactivating microbes in contaminated water by exposing transparent bottles of water, placed horizontally on a flat surface, to direct sunshine for at least six hours. (On partly cloudy or overcast days it is recommended that bottles be exposed for two full days.)

"Through the combination of SODIS and proper hygiene practices," says KWAHO, "user families have improved their drinking water quality. The 20,000 families mainly report health improvements and savings on medication."

One Kibera resident, Laila, was initially skeptical of the idea. Says Laila, "I was puzzled and surprised when I was approached by KWAHO, telling me about the SODIS water treatment method. I did not believe that a clear plastic bottle, when exposed to the sun, could treat the water properly. I have been using SODIS consistently and I got a total of 10 bottles for SODIS. I have gained a lot since I began using SODIS; I can now afford to drink treated water consistently which I never used to. … The health of my family has improved a great deal, as there is no case of diarrhea like before. I am saving on medication and fuel."

With assistance from the Swiss Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries (SANDEC), KWAHO hopes to continue educating Kibera residents about the SODIS method.

Contact Catherine Mwango, KWAHO, P.O. Box 61470-00200, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +254-20-55 75 50, e-mail:, Web: More SODIS information is on the Internet at

[Editor’s note: Dr. Bob Metcalf, a microbiologist and Solar Cookers International board member, has studied solar water pasteurization extensively and has experience with the SODIS procedure. He agrees that SODIS can inactivate bateria on sunny days, but he points out that it has some limitations. The SODIS method cannot be used for turbid water or for milk, since turbidity and non-clear liquids tend to block the sunlight from reaching and destroying all the bacteria. Also, tests have found that viruses are more resistant to direct sunshine than are bacteria. Furthermore, the SODIS method has no certain end-point, making it difficult to be certain that all pathogens have been inactivated during partial sunshine or with moderately turbid water. Dr. Metcalf says, "SODIS is a valuable first step in reducing pathogens in water. Where water is heavily contaminated, adding heat with simple solar cookers and water pasteurization indicators (WAPIs) guarantees pathogen-free water.]

Come, let’s Shine On! together

You are cordially invited to experience vivid highlights of Solar Cookers International’s humanitarian work while enjoying good company and solar-cooked desserts. In honor of the United Nations "Water for Life" decade, this year’s Shine On! celebration will focus on water testing and solar water pasteurization.

Thursday evening
September 15, 2005
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

The Sacramento Zoo
Kampala Center
3930 West Land Park Drive
Sacramento, California

The event is free of charge. For more information, contact SCI by telephone: (916) 455-4499 or e-mail:

Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo (left)
and former Mayor Anne Rudin (right)
attend the Shine On! Event

Attendees partake in an assortment of
solar-cooked treats

Conference abstracts due 15 September

Co-sponsors Fundació Terra and Solar Cookers International are pleased to announce the 2006 international solar cookers conference to be held in Granada, Spain from 12-16 July, 2006. This is the sixth international solar cookers conference, and the first in six years.

The conference will bring together solar cooker promoters and enthusiasts to share experiences, dissemination strategies, and recent advancements in solar cooking, solar water pasteurization, and related solar food processing applications. The role of solar cookers in achieving United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will also be discussed. Several conference sessions will be open to the public, as will exhibits and workshops.
The deadline for submitting abstracts of oral or poster presentations is 15 September, 2005. Further details, including registration information and procedures for submitting abstracts, are available on the conference Web site: Contact Marta Pahissa, Fundació Terra, Avinyó, 44, 08002 - Barcelona, Spain. Tel: +34 93 601 16 36, e-mail:, Web:

Special thanks

Solar Cookers International (SCI) recently received two special gifts. Members of the United Church of Marion (New York, USA) sent funds to support SCI’s work, as did the women’s circles of the Carmichael Presbyterian Church (California, USA). Thank you to those who contributed. Your support is invaluable!

Calling all U.S. federal employees!

Over one million U.S. federal employees participate annually in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) — the world’s largest workplace giving campaign. This year federal employees have the option, for the first time, of supporting Solar Cookers International (SCI) with a one-time gift or recurring payroll deductions through the Aid to Africa Federation. SCI is proud to meet the CFC’s rigorous financial, accountability and governance standards.
More information is available on the Internet:

Gifts that keep giving

Does Uncle Harry really need another necktie? Does Aunt Mary really need another box of chocolates? Alternative Gifts International (AGI) offers a different kind of shopping experience.

In a market setting, shoppers peruse colorful booths representing humanitarian projects from around the world. Shoppers then select projects they want to support and make a contribution ("purchase a gift"). Contributions to the projects are made in honor of family, friends, business associates, etc., who then receive an attractive gift card explaining the unique gift. Solar Cookers International is honored to again be an AGI beneficiary organization.

If you would like to host an alternative gift market, contact Alternative Gifts International, P.O. Box 3810, Wichita, Kansas 67201-3810, USA. Tel: 800-842-2243, e-mail:, Web:


Tribute gifts have been given to SCI by:

  • Patricia Oliansky in honor of Bruce Gladstone and Susan Gladstone
  • Daniel Hirsch in honor of his mother, Mildred Hirsch
  • Pat Chamberlin-Calamar in memory of her husband, Don Calamar
  • Mary Frank in memory of Steve Tempest
  • Mary Frank in honor of her grandchildren, Veronica and Marco Eres
  • Cathy Sellitto in honor of Marguerite Kummrow
  • Werner and Helen Muller in memory of Helen’s mother, Frances Tyson
  • Beverly Blum in memory of her brother, Kenneth Boyce

Give AND receive with an SCI charitable gift annuity

You’ve probably heard the phrase "it is better to give than to receive." But did you know that it is possible for you to give AND receive? How does the idea of receiving a generous fixed income, guaranteed for life, sound to you? Through its new partnership with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation (SRCF), Solar Cookers International (SCI) can offer you the benefits of investing in charitable gift annuities, which ultimately enable us to build our endowment and help support our future programs.

The benefits you receive when you establish a charitable gift annuity may include:

  • Immediate income tax deduction
  • Generous fixed income, guaranteed for life
  • Avoidance of capital gains tax on the sale of appreciated assets
  • Reduction of potential estate tax
  • Consolidation of several stocks or accounts into one income source

A charitable gift annuity benefiting SCI is a simple agreement between you and SRCF, in which — for an irrevocable gift of cash and/or securities — SRCF agrees to make fixed payments to you for your life. The payout rate is based upon your age at the time of the gift.

Sample charitable gift annuity rate chart

Age Rate (%)* 70 6.5 75 7.1 80 8.0 85 9.5 90 11.3 * Sample rates effective 07/01/03

Would you like to see a personalized charitable gift annuity illustration? We can provide one! Just call SCI Development Director Virginia Callaghan at 916-455-4499 and we’ll get started. It’s free and there is no obligation. Please call today.

Note: the minimum gift amount is $10,000. Before implementing any plans, be sure to seek the advice of your professional tax or financial advisors.

Your power to do good

Solar Cookers International (SCI) is making a world of difference. Your generosity will be gratefully used to strengthen the spread of the solar solution on behalf of people and the planet.

Please consider these giving options:

SCI in your will
"I give and bequeath to Solar Cookers International of Sacramento, California $______ (or ______% of my estate) to be used for its humanitarian purposes."

Investing in SCI
If you have a choice between donating appreciated stock or cash to SCI, there are two tax advantages of donating stock. First, you receive an income tax charitable deduction for the full market value of the stock at the time it is donated. Second, you avoid paying any capital gains tax on the increase in value of the stock. You can invest in SCI and invest your cash in current stock. It’s a win-win situation! (A.G. Edwards serves SCI donors.)

Spreading the word
Recruit potential members by creating interested friends. "Did you know that simple solar cookers can relieve health, financial and environmental burdens facing millions of people? A $50 contribution to SCI helps spread simple solar technologies for cooking and water pasteurizing."

Contact Virginia Callaghan at (916) 455-4499 to discuss donations and stock transfers. Consult your financial planner for additional information. Thank you.

Solar Cooker Review

Solar Cooker Review is published two or three times per year with the purpose of presenting solar cooking information from around the world. Topics include solar cooker technology, dissemination strategies, educational materials, and cultural and social adaptations. From time to time we cover related topics such as women’s issues, wood shortages, health, nutrition, air pollution, climatic changes, and the environment.

Solar Cooker Review is sent to those who contribute money or news about solar cooking projects. The suggested subscription price is US $10/year. Single copies are sent free to select libraries and groups overseas.

We welcome reports and commentary related to solar cooking for possible inclusion. These may be edited for clarity or space. Please cite sources whenever possible. We will credit your contribution. Send contributions to Solar Cookers International, 1919 21st Street, Suite 101, Sacramento, California 95811-6827, USA. You may also send them by fax: (916) 455-4498 or e-mail:

Solar Cooker Review is compiled and edited by the staff of Solar Cookers International (SCI), with layout graciously provided by IMPACT Publications located in Medford, Oregon, USA.

Back issues are available at

SCI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization assisting communities to use the power of the sun to cook food and pasteurize water for the benefit of people and environments. We do not sell, rent or trade names of our donors. Tax ID # 68-0153141.

This document is published on The Solar Cooking Archive at For questions or comments, contact