Barbara Kerr was one of the primary founders of the current solar cooking movement. In the early 1970s she and her friend Sherry Cole designed a cardboard solar box cooker and an early solar wall oven. She later helped develop a panel-type solar cooker known as the CooKit. Barbara was a founding board member of Solar Cookers International. She co-founded the Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona (USA), where numerous solar applications and sustainable practices can still be learned. Barbara received the "Women in Solar Energy" award from the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) in July of 2006. The award "recognizes a woman who has contributed significantly to the acceptance and advancement of women in solar by any of the following means: advocacy, education, technical efforts, contracting or implementing social change." Barbara Prosser Kerr, 86, passed away peacefully at home on April 2, 2012.
Recipient of Women in Solar Energy Award
The Women in Solar Energy Award was designed to recognize a woman who has contributed significantly to the acceptance and advancement of women in solar by any of the following means: advocacy, education, technical efforts, contracting or implementing social change. Barbara Prosser Kerr is recognized as one of the primary founders of the solar cooking movement. In the early 1970s she designed an early cardboard box cooker, an early solar wall oven and a solar panel cooker known as the Cookit. Solar cookers are in widespread use in Africa and elsewhere, especially in refugee camps, both to cook food and to pasteurize unsanitary water. These designs are currently used and promoted by Solar Cookers International, of which Kerr was a founding board member. She cofounded the Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Ariz., at which numerous solar applications and sustainable practices can still be learned.
Audio and video
- September 2016:
- October 2009:
- July 2002: Audio interview with Barbara Kerr
- March 2002: Audio interview with Barbara Kerr and Jim Scott
History of the 7-Panel Backpacker solar cooker
Barbara Kerr designed the 7-Panel Backpacker solar cooker, which is based on the ROB (Reflective Open Box Cooker), in response to a request from a hiker needing a readily transportable solar cooker. This cooker is the direct ancestor of the CooKit, which was engineered by Solar Cookers International for mass production. To convince the SCI Board that perhaps this was a better third-world choice than her cardboard box cooker that SCI was promoting at the time, Barbara simply sent a Backpacker to each SCI Board member as a Christmas present (without comment). Initially the SCI folk thought it would be ineffective, until some of them actually tried it. The rest is history.
Below are the original construction plans for the 7-Panel Backpacker solar cooker.
- Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center
- Solar wall oven
- Solar autoclave
- Use of the Solar Panel Cooker for Medical Pressure Steam Sterilization - Barbara Kerr
- April 2012: Barbara Kerr's obituary - Wmicentral.com
- April 2012: Solar-cooking pioneer prized sustainability - AZCentral
- Ordering website for Barbara Kerr's books
- August 2010: Visiting Barbara Kerr, solar cooking pioneer - Julie Genser
- The full text of Barbara's book The Expanding World of Solar Box Cooking
- November 2006: SCI founder Barbara Kerr receives ASES award - Solar Cooker Review
- July 2003: Barbara Kerr and Sherry Cole honored by the Gladys Taylor McGarey Medical Foundation for their pioneering solar cooking work - Solar Cooker Review
- July 2002: An audio interview with Barbara Kerr
- Barbara Kerr's Patents: Solar cooker and method of assembly and Through The Wall Solar Cooker
- The Kerr-Cole Large Solar Panel/Propane Hybrid Stoves
Books by Barbara Kerr
- Barbara also wrote the book: The Expanding World of Solar Box Cooking