Solar Cooking
Last edited: 28 February 2018      

Afzal Syed

Pakistani-born, American citizen Afzal Syed is keen to introduce the technology of a homemade, inexpensive solar panel cooker to the rural areas of Pakistan. Syed, who lives in Virginia, USA, is also a volunteer associated with Solar Cookers International (SCI).

He has been busy traveling to rural areas to demonstrate the CooKit. The rising cost of fuel in Pakistan is becoming more of a problem for Pakistanis. People spend 100 Rupees or more a day on cooking fuel. (A bit over 20% of per capita income) Some can’t afford enough to cook all their meals. He sees the CooKit as a wonderful alternative fuel.


  • April 2014: Afzal Syed wishes to report that he has received Verizon's Employee Environmental Excellence Award, for his volunteer work for starting recycling at Dar Alnoor mosque in Manassas,Virginia, USA, and for voluteering to promote solar cooking. Thanks go out to the congregation at Dar Alnoor, members of Solar Cooking International, Solar Household Energy, STAR TIDES at NDU, and family and friends for their support.
  • March 2014: Three year anniversary of the introduction of the CooKit and Hot Pot Solar cooking advoacte, Afzal Syed, continues his efforts to spread solar cooking technology in Pakistan. He has recently met with the Chambers of Commerce, professional woman's organizations, and was interviewed on Dunya television. Watch the interview
  • October 2011: Patricia McArdle, of Solar Cookers International, demonstrated solar cooking with Afzal Syed and volunteers, Sherry and Cecily, at the TIDES exhibit on the campus of the National Dense University. Afzal brought several pots of raw ingredients for Pakistani dishes that were prepared by his wife Samina, including: masoor dall, spiced potatoes, okra, and chawal rice. Patricia baked a loaf of banana bread, which was consumed in less than five minutes. They used the parabolic SK10 (similar to the SK12), purchased from Deepak Gadhia several years ago, to keep a pot of water boiling from 9 a.m. in the morning until the event ended at 5 p.m. There were a number of senior military visitors from other countries. Several have expressed an interest in learning more about solar cooking technology and how it can be used in their countries. The most surprising visit yesterday was from a Vietnamese general, the most senior Vietnamese military officer to visit the U.S. since before the war with Vietnam started in the sixties. Several 'very important people' who came to the demonstration assumed that it would take us 10 to 12 hours to cook food in a panel or solar box cooker. They were astounded that the food was cooked in less than three hours--in October-- in Washington D.C., USA, which is 40 degrees north of the equator.

Patricia McArdle and volunteer Cecily, remove Pakistani okra from a CooKit panel cooker at TIDES 2011.

Afzal Syed opens a pot of Pakistani dall at TIDES 2011

Everything was cooked by one p.m. and gone by 2 p.m. at TIDES 2011

People continue to be amazed--especially that it takes only twenty minutes to boil a pot of water at TIDES 2011.

Samina Syed with Pat McArdle and Louise Meyer at the Interfaith Solar Cooking Expo. July 2011.

  • July 2011: Family teamwork for the Interfaith Solar Cooking Expo. - Afzal would like to acknowledge his wife Samina and daughter Zainab for their hard work. At home, they both made seven CooKits from resuable cardboard. Zainab designed a shirt for me to wear during the first Interfaith Solar Cooking Expo; back on shirt written "Join the Solar Revolution". Samina came prepared with cooking items, and everyone liked the Pakistani food made with solar energy. Afzal's interest in solar energy goes back, to his high school days. He wishes to continue to promote harmony among communities, and conservation of natural resources with solar cooking. Samina has been energized by the cooking expo., and wants to do more with solar cooking.

Sampling solar cooked lentils, rice, potatoes, eggs, mixed vegetables, dahl, popcorn, tea, and for dessert, chocolate, yellow, lemon and spice cakes at the Dar al Noor Mosque, July 2011.

  • July 2011: Solar cooking expo at northern Virginia mosque - Solar cooking in Islamic countries is on the rise, but its wide-spread acceptance as a significant way to reduce the damage caused by smoky cooking fires will need greater support from the international development community. Solar Cookers International (SCI) board member Patricia McArdle and Afzal Syed of the Dar al Noor Mosque congregation contributed to this goal by hosting a well-attended solar cooking demonstration at Syed's mosque in Manassas, Virginia on Saturday July 9. Solar Household Energy (SHE) co-founder Louise Meyer and two SHE volunteers from Washington DC also participated in this event. A popular DC radio show interview with McArdle about her novel Farishta two days before the event, drew large crowds from around the northern Virginia/DC metro region.

Afzal Syed demonstrates a CooKit in 'Mai Jo Dero'. Gharro, Pakistan.

Articles in the media[]

Audio and video[]

  • January 2015: Sam Hancock, CEO of the Emerald Planet TV series, interviews Solar Cookers International volunteer, Afzal Syed, about the potential of solar cooking to help the citizens of developing countries, where they face dwindling fuel supplies and suffer from smoke related respiratory diseases. View Afzal's portion of the interview at minute 45:40.

Inside Scoop - Emerald Planet - December 7, 2014

Dr. Sam Hancock interviews SCI volunteer Afzal Syed about the potential of solar cooking at minute 45:40