Last edited: 10 July 2020
The first Solar Wall Oven that we know of was designed by Paul Funk and was Barbara Kerr’s pet project for over two decades. In 1985, Ms. Kerr first built a solar wall oven into the house she designed in Taylor, Arizona, USA, and she dreamed of making this cooker available to the world. The main impediments have been how to draw up plans for constructing the oven, and how to instruct people to correctly install it. Now, Do-It-Yourself Guidelines for design of the oven have been drawn up to appeal to designers, architects, builders, and remodelers so they can create their own variations to suit their circumstances. The guidelines do not provide detailed construction plans for either the cooker or its installation. This leaves wide latitude for selection of materials that are locally available and/or compatible with the type of home construction. This document also contains instructions on how to mount the oven in the south wall of a house positioned to receive sufficient sunlight to cook properly. Over the years there has been continuing interest in the Solar Wall Oven from people desiring a truly practical solar cooker. We hope these guidelines will at last succeed in making it possible for people to incorporate Solar Wall Ovens into their lifestyle.
To build a solar wall oven, you need a kitchen (or other convenient room) with an unshaded south facing wall. It would be less expensive to incorporate this "feature" when building a new home. Still, for those with the ability to do so, there is ample reason to consider adding a solar wall oven to an existing home.
Benefits of using any solar oven:
- It does not use up non-renewable fuel resources
- It does not create, or cause to be created, any kind of pollution.
- The energy it uses is FREE!
Now let's look at the additional benefits you get when building the solar oven into the wall of your home:
- Convenience - You don't have to go outside — your solar oven can be as accessible as a conventional oven.
- Lower cooling costs - The heat generated for cooking is still kept outside your home, even though the food can be accessed from inside.
- Heating - When not used for cooking, an in-wall solar oven will help heat up the room it's in by simply leaving the oven door open.
Building a solar oven into a wall of your home will help you save energy and money, while also lowering emissions and cooling and heating costs — at no added inconvenience.
Note: The Solar Wall Oven is more suitable for homes in the temperate zones away from the equator. In equatorial zones, the sun rises in the east and follows a path to directly above the house; it then continues this path until it reaches the horizon in the west. This makes a south-facing wall oven less practical in this zone if there is any overhead eave shading. Generally, a more east-facing wall cooker will favor cooking in the morning and/or a west-facing wall cooker is suited for cooking later in the day.
- July 2019: USA engineer Tom Hoffmann has designed a solar wall oven that tracks the sun, and repositions itself automatically to be accessible from any window in an existing house. He calls this design the Solar Z.
- June 2018: A solar cooker designed to fit in a window - Avinash Prabhune, a student of the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay has designed a solar cooker that is to be mounted in a south facing window opening, allowing the cooker to be tended form inside the home at a height similar to other kitchen appliances. This innovation was awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2018, by the Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind at an event held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 19 March 2018. More information...
- April 2018: Solar Wall Oven variation - Another approach to the design developed by Paul Funk and Barbara Kerr has been conceptualized by Paul Hedrick. It has a self-supported base, which allows for glazing on the sides of the cooking chamber. The side glazing has been slanted for better solar orientation throughout the day. Like other south-facing fixed designs, it is better suited in locations away from the equatorial zone. It will need to be highly weather resistant, so no wing reflectors are exposed to wind and snow loads, and it should not require seasonal refitting. It would incorporate a solar thermal battery in the base to even out the thermal flywheel. The oven is always on. Glazing would be similar to typical residential windows, with argon-filled insulated glass with a heat-reflecting film reversed to reflect back into the chamber. Winter space heating for the house can be helped by opening the south-facing oven door to interior spaces when not cooking. In hot summer weather the heat needs to stay outside. The oven would not necessarily need to be in the kitchen if a southerly orientation was better in an adjacent room.
- March 2018: Frugal, yet high tech, innovations that can change your lives - The Hindu BusinessLine
- March 2018: The window solar cooker designed by Avinash Prabhune of IIT Bombay looks pretty much like a microwave oven and it can be fitted into a window like an air conditioner. Unlike an old-fashioned, box-type solar cooker, this one has a cylindrical chamber that makes sure that it absorbs sunlight all through the day. It has a higher efficiency compared to box-type cookers and cooks faster. Prabhune says it can be ideal for those living in multistoried buildings and those with a taste for ‘slow food.’
- May 2015: Joel Goodman added studies for a thru-wall nonimaging solar cooker unglazed box with glass mirrors. Read more...
- January 2015: Joel Goodman offers an updated presentation of his thru-wall solar cooker prefabricated parts. Read more...
- December 2014: Joel Goodman describes his design for thru-wall solar cooker prefabricated parts. Two prefabricated parts that fit together are a thru-wall doorframe CSEB masonry form, and an unglazed reflector box with cookware support grill. An intention is for large quantity production with bio-plastics and in-shop mirror tiling. An aim is to produce prototypes with ferro-cement or other suitable prototype materials. Cookware sizes determine door clearance dimensions. Dimension E is tall enough for upward door swing clearance. A thru-wall solar cooker has significant house plan and site design solar access factors, complicating house cluster and multi-story design. Read more...
- December 2014: Joel Goodman describes his design for prefabricated oven door from CSEB walls. The expansion-contraction difference between the CSEB and ferro-cement, and movements (foundations, tremors, etc.) are concerns. And the wall curvature approximated with flat mirror tiles is a factor for the tile shapes and tile pattern. If there is a construction joint with sealant between the CSEB and ferro-cement (G), the prefabricated ferro-cement door form can be shaped so there are only straight line mirror tile cuts. Read more...
- July 2014: Thru-wall solar kitchen with multi-tube racks roll in-out. Joel Goodman describes a thru-wall solar kitchen with multi-tube racks that roll in-out through doors into the exterior cooking caustic zone, so that batch after batch can be cooked in a day. The multi-tube racks are within the volume of the exterior nonimaging reflector boxes and avoid wind, so that east- and west-end reflectors (repositioned at noon), flapping in wind gusts, could not damage the tubes. Also, the tubes can slip out of the racks for ease-of-tube cleaning.
- December 2012: Joel Goodman describes and illustrates the constraints and opportunities for incorporating a permanent thru-wall solar cooker in home design. Wisconsin Thru-the-Wall Solar Cooker
Scheffler Community Kitchen variation
- Main article: Scheffler Community Kitchen
The Scheffler Community Kitchen, designed by Wolfgang Scheffler, incorporates a large parabolic reflector installed facing the exterior kitchen wall, which focuses the concentrated light through an opening in the wall. The reflector typically has a tracking system to keep the reflector aligned with the sun. On the other side of the wall, cooks can bake and grill food at a convenient working height. The cook space can be installed in a traditional home or behind a freestanding wall on a raised platform, allowing the cooks to work in a shaded space. A community kitchen like this can be shared by village members.
SunGenius Built-in Solar Oven
Johan van Wyk, the founder of SunGenius, undertook the challenge to take solar cooking to the comfort of the inside of the house. He believes it should be a state-of-the-art household appliance, which will compete with other household appliances for quality, convenience, and style.
Due to the specific requirements and nature of the SunGenius Built-in Solar Oven, most houses were never designed to be fitted with such an appliance. Unfortunately, very little can be done about that, so we focus on practical solutions and new developments. The SunGenius oven and new architectural housing designs make the SunGenius Built-in Solar Oven a very attractive alternative to conventional mobile solar cookers.
Tolokatsin Solar Cooker
Sunrice: The Solar Rice Cooker
The Sunrice solar cooker was developed by Avinash Prabhune, a student of the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay. It is designed to be mounted in a south facing window opening, allowing the cooker to be tended form inside the home at a height similar to other kitchen appliances. This innovation was awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2018, by the Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind at an event held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 19 March 2018. Read more...
Audio and video
- Solar Wall Oven Do-It-Yourself Guidelines
- Thru-wall solar cooker prefabricated parts, reflector box and doorframe
- PV Pergola Cooker Studies
- Reflector augmented solar cookers, stills, autoclaves with PV pergola shade
- Environmental Feedback and Anthropometrical Results of a Solar Cooker for Houses in Arid Zones
- Wisconsin Thru-the-Wall Solar Cooker
- Scheffler Community Kitchen
- Solar Z
- Prefabricated through-the-wall solar oven doorway frame - Joel Goodman
- December 2014: Ferro-cement form for a thru-the-wall solar cooker - Joel Goodman
- December 2014: Glazed cookware are considered for thru-wall cookers to unglazed nonimaging reflectors
- July 2006: Environmental Feedback and Anthropometrical Results of a Solar Cooker for Houses in Arid Zones - Arturo F. Buigues
- Window-mounted solar oven - Design Innovation Center (Mumbai)
- Design and experimental testing of an innovative building-integrated box type solar cooker - ScienceDirect (This article is available for a USD 35.95 fee.)
- Solar Wall Oven frequently-asked-questions
- Barbara Kerr's US Patent for a Through-the-wall oven
- Through-the-wall ovens: Weather-proof ovens that allow access from inside the kitchen - Dr. Paul A. Funk
- The Scheffler Community Kitchen is another type of through-the-wall solar cooker.
All construction plans
- See below:
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