Solar Cooking
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Last edited: 11 October 2021      

A solar cooker allows its user to cook meals in a cleaner and more economical way for themselves and their family, but it can also be a powerful income generation tool. For example, individuals have opened solar restaurants and bakeries as well as businesses to build solar cookers in and for their community. Starting a solar cooking business is an effective way to generate income and improve one's community in the process.

Find business development resources below on seed funding, start-up and management best practices, and related topics.

News[]

EntreCordillera Restobar beckons patrons to enter for a solar cooked meal

  • NEW: October 2021: EntreCordillera Restobar joins the community of restaurants offering solar cooked meals in Villaseca, Chile - EntreCordillera Restobar is a restaurant located in Villaseca, Chile. It opened its doors in 2018, and joins the vibrant community of solar restaurants in the village. Luisa Ogalde is head chef, and belongs to a generation of cooks who have opened solar restaurants in remote parts of Chile's sun-baked Atacama Desert, which begins just north of Villaseca, ends at the Peruvian border and is known as the driest place on Earth. The new restaurant is a member of the Association of Solar Artisans of Villaseca, which helps support and promote the local community of restaurants.

Kivu baker removes freshly baked cookies from a SUNWINGS evacuated tube style solar cooker Photo credit: The Indian Express

  • NEW: October 2021: Solar bakery in India finds a market for healthy vegan cookies - Dr. Minal Kabra is a dentist practicing in the Jalna district of Maharashtra, India. She had begun getting requests for a source of healthy snack options from the parents of her young patients. Discovering there were few products available, together with co-founder, Vaibhav Dugar, they decided to create a business to meet the need. That company is called Kivu, and they bake vegan sugar-free cookies. They also saw the business as an opportunity to be able to help women in the local community be able to find employment as bakers, and benefit with a fixed percentage of the revenue.

Various foods are dried for sale in a solar tunnel dryer by La Sazón del Sol

  • NEW: October 2021: Solar food drying in Mexico - La Sazón del Sol supports the area ecology, economy, health of the community, and also produces many solar dried foods for sale. The facility operates a training center dedicated to women, and provides workshops at the Oficina Solar Tlacochahuaya in do-it-yourself construction of solar cooking and drying appliances. With a primary focus on solar food drying, they prepare a variety of foods for sale. The group also produces solar tunnel dryers for sale.

Dr. Alaa Hamadto, CEO and cofounder of Solar Foods

  • December 2019: New food processing company in Sudan - Solar Foods was established in 2017 by Dr. Alaa Hamadto to bring solar-dried foods to the marketplace, using solar dryers from her father's company, Solar Energy Enterprises.
  • April 2013: Solar dried mango sales in India - Roughly 50% of the mangos produced globally are grown in India. The harvest often leads to a significant surplus of mangos, more than could be effectively distributed and consumed before spoilage would occur. Employing solar drying equipment allows for excess stock to be dried and sold year round.[1]

Solar Circle public service exchange program in Tanzania

  • January 2013: Solar Circle uses barter system to distribute 3000 solar cookers in Tanzania - The NGO Solar Circle has learned many things from their solar cooking program in Masasi, southern Tanzania. People will use solar cookers if they are efficient and affordable, which is often a problem for subsistence farmers who are most in need of the cookers even when the cookers are heavily subsidized. However, they have also learned that people will work hard to earn a solar cooker. The group has created a bartering system with community leaders. The community chooses a service project and the beneficiaries organize and oversee the effort. Participants earn an solar oven for their involvement. So far, the program has distributed more than 3000 solar ovens, and built 40 houses for people who are sick, elderly, widowed, or disabled. Because the community chooses the project and beneficiary, there’s an eagerness to work together. Surrounding villages have heard of the cookers and the program, so spreading the word has been easy. They cannot keep up with demand. The barter program relies on external help with finances, but community service represents the same effort that of money earned in outside employment. Solar Circle values that effort, and raises what money it can from friends to expand the program.

Solar Health and Education Project workshop for unschooled mothers.

  • December 2012: Solar cooking has created a business opportunity for a group of women in Zambia - The Solar Health and Education Project (SHEP) has initiated a project at a community-based nursery school in Livingstone, Zambia for unschooled mothers. Previously, their only source of income had been illegally making charcoal. During the course of the program, they learned how to make and use the CooKit solar cooker as an income generating activity. Thier next step was to create a registered group called Solar Ventures (SV). They have been holding SHEP-funded workshops at clinics, schools, agricultural shows (where they won 1st place for the most interesting booth in 2011), and government-sponsored functions on energy and conservation. They were invited to Lusaka to run a three-day workshop for a UK based NGO. Their life is certainly different now since their introduction to solar cooking.

Funding[]

Kiva[]

Kiva provides a way for people in developed countries to lend money to small entrepreneurs in developing countries to help the latter set up or improve local businesses. Kiva works through partners in each country.

See also: Kiva partners by country on the SCI Wiki country pages.

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Food processing/industrial applications[]

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