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  • August 2015: According to a Times of India news article, the city of Ludhiana will get a boost of solar power as the Union government has included the industrial capital of Punjab among 50 cities to be developed as solar cities. As part of this part of this project, solar cooking systems must be utilized for hostels/hospitals etc. Read more...
Chennai school 1

Solar energy concentrator at Ramakrishna Mission’s Students’ Home

  • Investment brings large-scale solar cooking to Chennai school for orphans and underprivileged boys - Starting in 2013, a partnership between the UNDP, India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and the Global Environment Facility, led to a project to install an ARUN®100 solar concentrator at the Ramakrishna Mission’s Students’ Home. The system provides enough energy to cook 3,000 meals per day and reduces LPG consumption by half, which leads to a savings of US$8,000 per year. Read more...
Janak McGilligan

Janak McGilligan

  • February 2015: India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is inviting comments on its Draft Solar Policy - Sunday, March 1, 2015 will be the deadline for comments. The ten-page document, available here, outlines some of the government department’s thinking. “The Nodal Agency shall take necessary action to proliferate its application in feasible sectors including residential (solar water heaters, solar cookers, indoor air heating etc.), commercial & industrial sector (solar cooling, solar air dryers, large scale solar water heaters, large scale solar cooking utilizing solar concentrator technology, process heating etc.).” Read more...
Keshav Srushti 1

Thousands of students gather in Mumbai, India for a record-breaking solar cooking event.

  • January 2015: 15,000 students in Mumbai solar cook and set world-record - 15,000 students from 80 schools in Mumbai, India set a new world-record for the largest ever solar cooking gathering organized by Keshav Srushti. Each student was given a solar cooker and taught how to use it as part of a national campaign to spread awareness of the importance of solar technology. C Vidyasagar Rao, governor of Maharashtra and Ashish Shelar, minister of state, Power, Coal & New Renewable Energy, attended the record-setting gathering. Read more at: Over 15,000 students create a new world-record in solar cooking
  • January 2015: Annual Maha SuryaKumba reaches for a lofty goal - The Bhayander based NGO, Keshav Srushti, is committed to spreading awareness of solar cooking. Under the banner of Maha SuryaKumba, they will be gathering students from 500 schools across Mumbai in Bhayander,India, and then will be taking the festival to remote tribal villages. Hoping this year reach the magic number of 100,000 solar-powered prepared meals! Keshav Srushti has been accredited by the Guinness Book of World Records for having conducted the largest solar oven cooking class in January 2014 with 3,639 participants from 62 schools. The new goal of reaching so many students from remote areas will require financial support beyond the means of Keshav Srushti. Please contact Keshav Srushti If you can help, it will be appreciated. The NGO has announced there will now be an annual Maha SuryaKumba held on January 15th. More information...
  • September 2014: Bhubaneswar: The state government will provide solar chullahs to 500 households inside Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary. This was done to reduce load on firewood, which the villagers collect from the sanctuary. There are around 5,000 households in the reserve, but initially 10% will be provided with the solar cooking device. The panchayati raj and forest departments will jointly conduct survey to identify the families to be given the chullah. A private party will donate the chullahs to the forest department. - Read more... - Times of India
ARUN 100 at Akshardham, 8-12-14

The ARUN 100 solar cooking array at the Akshardham Temple, New Delhi, India.

  • August 2014: International solar cooking expert, Ajay Chandak, has written about the recent installation of steam generating solar cooking systems at The Akshardham Temple located in New Delhi and at the Ram Krishna Mission Student’s Home, Mylapore, Chennai. The Akshardham Temple system is now able to serve 2,000 - 3,000 meals on a clear sunny day, saving approximately 30 to 50 scm of PNG each day in operation. MNRE has partly funded this installation and Clique Solar has manufactured and installed the system. The system at the Ram Krishna Mission Student’s Home as been adapted with the ability to store the excess heat generated mid-day to be able to cook very early in the day and after sunset. Read his reports: ARUN®100 Installation at Akshardham Temple, New Delhi and ARUN®100 with Thermal Storage at Ramkrishna Mission, Chennai - Ajay Chandak
  • August 2014: A Bhayander based NGO, Keshav Srushti, in a bid to spread awareness on solar cooking, will be gathering students from 500 schools across Mumbai to cook solar-powered dishes. Keshav Srushti has been accredited by the Guinness Book of World Records for having conducted the largest solar oven cooking class in January 2014 with 3639 participants from 62 schools. Invigorated by the success, the NGO has announced an annual Maha Suryakumbh on January 15, 2015, is aiming to reach 25,000 schools students. More information...
  • April 2014:
    Indore Solar Food Processing Network article April 2014
  • March 2014: Rural schools receive solar cooking sysytems - Ajay Chandak wants to update the solar cooking community that a Scheffler Community Kitchen has been installed and tested at the Aapla Ghar school for homeless rural children located in Naldurg, India. After cooking their first meal on this solar system the students and management were more than happy. He brings particular attention and notice of appreciation to the local M.P. Dr. Ashok Ganguly, who arranged financing of the project through their M.P fund, contributing $23,000 USD to the project. Also, another Scheffler system is to be opened soon at an orphanage located in Dhule.
  • February 2014: The Jawahar Navodiya Vidyalya school is saving $23,000 in annual fuel costs - The residential school Jawahar Navodiya Vidyalya located in Ladakh, India appreciates having their solar cooking system, which is saving them $23,000 USD in annual fuel costs. More than 570 students and staff members are served daily meals. "It is not only very easy to operate, but it provides us [with] hot water for washing the dishes in the cold season," says Tashi, one of the kitchen staff. The arid desert region is known as the "land of high passes". Previously, remote areas like this one have had to rely on kerosene and firewood for heating and cooking, and considerable money was being spent simply getting kerosene delivered. Read more... - Asia Times Online
  • January 2014: School in North Coimbatore begins solar cooking mid-day meals Two PRINCE - 40 institutional parabolic solar cookers will soon be cooking noon meals for students at a school in North Coimbatore. Each PRINCE unit (designed by Professor Ajay Chandak) costs 68,000 Indian rupees ($1,000 USD) and includes a 35-liter (32 quart) pressure cooker. The first two units will be used on a test basis. If successful, the municipality will order PRINCE cookers for all sixteen schools in the region. The Indian National Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides a sixty percent subsidy for the solar cookers, which will cut expenses by reducing the consumption of LPG and wood. On December 9, 2013 Professor Ajay Chandak, a global leader in the solar thermal cooking sector, was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). Chandak will represent "Solar Heating and Cooling". ISES is a UN-accredited NGO that is active in over 110 countries.
Mumbai largest solar cooking class, 17-14

As many as 3,484 children from over 80 schools participated in the world's largest solar cooking class in Mumbai, India.

  • January 2014: India raises the bar for the world's largest solar cooking class - "As many as 3,484 children from over 80 schools participated in the largest solar cooking initiative Suryakumbh on January 4th, which has qualified as an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records. The emergence of renewable sources of energy as an answer to the imminent exhaustion of conventional energy sources pushed a Bhayander NGO, Keshav Srushti, to start with the most influential members of society, children." - dna The class was held in Mumbai, India. Read more...
Scheffler reflector, girl's hostel in Jaipur, 12-16-13

A Scheffler reflector used in the solar cooking systems installed in Jaipur, India.

  • December 2013: Government sponsored solar cooking systems installed in Jaipur - Two state run hostels for girls in Jaipur, India, have installed Scheffler Community Kitchen solar cooking systems to meet the cooking needs for 600 students. Each system has four dishes of 16 square meters and will help conserve 4,500 kgs of liquefied cooking gas (LPG) annually assuming about 275 normal sunny days. It is estimated the pay back will be less than 4 years and reduce the financial burden to the state government. Read more...
GlobolSol solar food dryer India, 11-26-13

Alec Gagneux of GloboSol worked with local craftspeople to build a solar food dryer in in Madhya Pradesh, India.

  • November 2013: GloboSol introduces solar cooking technology and bio-mass stoves in Madhya Pradesh, India - Alec Gagneux, of GloboSol, spent several months at one of the Ekta Parishad ashrams in the city of Katni in central India last spring. He demonstrated the value of using the simple technologies of solar cooking, solar food drying and bio-mass stoves. With the help of local craftspeople, the group assembled their own food dryers and solar cookers. During his stay, Alec met local residents who were willing to organize more demonstrations at local schools, intended to help draw the attention of local political leaders. Read more at:Report India 2013
Sun Focus magazine cover, 11-18-13
  • November 2013: Solar cooking receives a new platform to speak from - The second edition of Sun Focus, a quarterly magazine devoted to concentrated solar heat has just been released. The new publication from India was founded by Dr Farooq Addullah. He explains that the magazine will focus on off-grid applications of concentrated solar technologies (CSTs) for the purpose of saving fuel oil, firewood, and LPG in industrial and commercial establishments using heat between 80 °C and 250 °C. Solar cooking plays a major role in the content. This latest edition's cover article is devoted to the latest developments of the Scheffler Community Kitchen, written by noted solar cooking designer and advocate for solar cooking education in public schools, Ajay Chandak. Read his article on page 11. Scheffler Solar Concentrators in India - Sun Focus
  • October 2013: The Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency reports that Haryana is one of the few states in the country where solar cookers are being promoted by providing subsidy on box/dish type solar cooker. The Govt. of India is also promoting dish type solar cookers by providing subsidy@ Rs.2100/- per Sq. meter of the collector area limited to 30 % cost of the cooker and box type solar cookers @ Rs. 3600/- per sq. Meter of the collector area. During the year 2011-12, there was a target of distribution of 1750 solar cookers in the state with state subsidy provision of Rs. 20.0 lacs. During the year 2012-13, there is a target of 500 Dish type solar cookers & 1000 box type solar cookers with a state budget of Rs. 17.50 lac.
  • September 2013: The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), a public company in Ahmedabad, India, is distributing solar box cookers to villagers as part of a conservation program designed to make people aware that by using solar cookers to bake and simmer they can save their LPG for specific cooking needs and save money by reducing their consumption of this expensive fuel without having to give it up entirely. For more information, contact Devang Joshi at Rudra Solar Energy.
Mount Abu Scheffler installation, 7-23-13

Scheffler Community Kitchen in Taleti, near Mount Abu

  • July 2013: Scheffler solar kitchen installed at Mt. Abu spiritual center -The Scheffler Community Kitchen has been installed as a collaboration between the Academy for a Better World and Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, with technology from Solare Brücke, Germany. With 84 receivers and cooking at 650 degrees, the system can produce up to 38,500 meals a day when the sun is at its peak. Read more...
Solar cooker training - Barli Institute - May 2013

26 women trainees of the 104th batch along with Mr. Yogesh Jadhav (COO) and Mrs. Tahera Jadhav (Director) of Barli Development Institute for Rural Women, Indore, India.

  • May 2013: It was a solar week at Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in which a week-long solar cooker training of SK-14 solar cookers was organised at the Institute's campus (5-11 May 2013). The training was attended by 26 trainee-women of the outgoing 104th batch of women trainees. The rural and tribal women trainees eagerly learnt the process of assembling the solar cookers, cooking various dishes, and maintaining the cookers. The training was conducted by Mr. Yogesh Jadhav (Chief Operating Officer, Barli Institute) who took over from Mr. Jimmy McGilligan when he retired from the Institute in April 2011. After the training each of the trainees promised to save the environment and use the solar cookers.
  • April 2013: LPG cylinder replacment is slow and unpredictable - Gautam Raja reports that is his area gas customers will first receive two cylinders of fuel when they establish their gas service. But when they run out, replacement can take over two weeks. Deliveries arrive unannounced, so the customer may miss it, and have to start the process all over again. Many residents have switched over to electrical induction cook tops, but the power supply can be less than reliable. Concerned about missing his morning chai, Gautam then discovered solar cookers, and was amazed by their capabilities. They help fill the gap, that is until the monsoon season. Read more...
  • February 2013: Solar cooking and processing workshops in India - Celestino Ruivo, of the Instituto Superior de Engenharia da Universidade do Algarve in Portugal, traveled to India at the end of January to attend the 1st International Solar Food Processing Network workshop at the Muni Seva Ashram in Goraj, Vadodara, Gujarat, India. He brought with him 50 kg. of solar cooking bagage: 8 black pots, 16 glasses of windows cloth washing machines, corrugated sheet metal, reflective foil and tools to make low cost and effective portable funnel cookers. Creatively, Celestino used his suitcase as the mold to construct examples of his solar funnel cooker in concrete. He also gave a lecture about solar cooking and how to construct a funnel cooker at the CT institute in Punjab for more than 300 students, as well teaching solar cooking for ladies in domestic context at Jalandhar. The eight funnel cookers were donated to friends in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Muni Seva Ashram, Vadodara, Jalandhar and New Delhi.
Solar Food Processing Network group photo, 2-14-14

Participants at the 2013 Solar Food Processing Network conference.

  • February 2013: The Solar Food Processing Network (SFPN) held a regional workshop in January 2013 at the Muni Seva Ashram in Goraj, Vadodara, Gujarat, India. This gathering was a follow-up to the 2009 AFPN conference held in Indore, India in 2010. Workshop participants heard from food marketing and technology experts. Conference organizers, Deepak Gadhia and Rolf Behringer held discussions on local and international marketing, village industries, packaging, policy interventions, R&D, and effective monitoring and evaluation of projects. Attendees discussed the formation of an international solar food standard and shared their own practical experiences using solar technology for food processing. Visit the Solar Food Processing Network to see a muscial video of the event and videos of solar food processing projects in Burkina Faso.
Worlds Largest Solar Cooking Class

Worlds Largest Solar Cooking Class

2,044 middle school students learn to prepare lunch with solar cooking.

  • January 2013: World's largest solar cooking class takes place in India - On January 19, 2013, middle school students gathered on the grounds of JES College in Jalna, India to be trained in the use of a simple solar panel cooker. After a quick breakfast, and guidance from 205 trainers, a record-breaking 2,044 students assembled their own solar cooker and placed prepared ingredients inside to cook. After speaker presentations, they were able to enjoy the lunch they had cooked themselves. This event, sponsored by Simplified Technology for Life, demonstrates that India is quite serious about introducing solar cooking to young students.
Parabolic solar cooker (Demo)

Parabolic solar cooker (Demo)

The PRINCE - 40 is demonstrated at the rural schools.

WORT training demonstration, 1-5-13

A field demonstration of the PRINCE - 40 parabolic cooker.

  • January 2013: Parabolic community solar cookers used for midday meals in rural schools - WOTR is a nonprofit organization that has been operating in five Indian states since the early nineties. They have untaken a unique solar cooking project targeting Zilla Parishad primary schools in the Sangamner and Akole taluka of the Ahmadnagar district. The objective was to find ways to help prepare their midday meal. Currently, twenty-three solar cookers are in service. After a careful study of all options, it was decided to deploy the PRINCE - 40 parabolic solar cooker, designed by Ajay Chandak, for the pilot installation in fifty-three villages across three states – Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. Most of the schools where these cookers are installed are using them as main source of energy for the mid-day meals. Read more about the project at: A Report on Deployment of Parabolic Community Solar Cookers for Midday Meals in Rural Schools
  • December 2012: Indian Government's Ambitious New Solar Cooking Policy - Deepak Gadhia reports that the Indian government has announced a very ambitious Solar Cooking Policy under the Jawharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, JNSSM Phase II Targets for "Solar Cookers and Steam Generating Systems will include: At-least 100 institutions that would deploy solar cookers (Likely Solar Steam and Thermic Fluid System Cooking Systems for Institutional Cooking for 500 + people); Around 25,000 installations of solar cooking devices in schools for mid day meals. (Likely Scheffler Cookers, PRINCE 40, 60 and other mid-size solar cookers that can cook for 50+ people; An overall target of deployment of 50,000 solar cookers would be set in Phase II of JNNSM. (Likely the SK 10/ Sk 14/ Prince 15, etc. for domestic cooking).
  • November 2012: Regional Solar Food Processing Network to be established in India - Rolf Behringer reports that the German NGO WISIONS has agreed to support the establishment in India of the first regional Solar Food Processing Network. A workshop to inaugurate this effort will take place in early 2013 (date and location to be announced). The aim of the Solar Food Processing Network (SFPN) is to establish a global network of interested parties (NGOs, governments, farmers, and manufacturers) to develop and promote efficient methods of solar food processing and conservation. These are intended to help reduce poverty, improve local economic opportunities and health, and decrease environmental damage. In countries with high solar insolation, effective solar thermal production technologies will contribute to the sustainable development of small rural communities. SFPN is managed by the German NGO Solare Zukunft (Solar Future in English). It is financially supported by WISIONS, an initiative of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy to foster practical sustainable energy projects.
  • November 2012: The Times of India reports that the Akshardham temple in the capital has switched from piped natural gas to solar technology for cooking its daily quota of close to 4,000 meals every day. The solar concentrator, named ARUN®100, produces steam which powers the cooking process. Read more...
Golden Temple, Punjab, India 3-19-12

Golden Temple, Punjab, India

  • May 2012: The Telegraph of Calcutta reports that State Animal and Fish Resources Minister Giriraj Singh will not be affected if the government of India cuts subsidies for LPG cooking gas and kerosene. He has started using solar cookers to prepare meals at home. Fearing a rise in cooking gas prices, he has already started using solar cookers. He has also urged the state energy minister, Vijendra Prasad Yadav, to come up with a plan to reduce the dependence of government buildings on traditional sources of power. Solar energy, the minister suggested, would be a suitable alternative.
  • March 2012: To save the Golden Temple from the ill-effects of pollution the Punjab Energy Development Agency(PEDA) is developing a plan to prepare a daily meal of Langar dal with the help of a solar steam cooking system. PEDA is the governmental agency promoting renewable energy within Punjab, India. To prepare Langar dal for 50,000 to 60,000 devotees daily at the Golden Temple, requires one ton (909 kg) of dal to be cooked each day. A recent study has shown cooking dal with the help of steam will save at least 25 LPG cylinders and also keep the environment pollution-free. PEDA chairman Manjeet Singh said they would bear the entire project cost.
Solar Fire TinyTech Concentrator, 2-21-12

Solar Fire TinyTech Concentrator

  • February 2012: The Solar Fire TinyTech Concentrator has been developed by the TinyTech company for use as either a village power source, or to generate steam for institutional cooking. It measures 90 sq. meters and is a fixed focus completely folding concentrator, not requiring any foundation in the ground.
  • February 2012: Medical colleges including those owned by the State Governments across the country are gearing up to do their bit to tackle climate change by adopting environment-friendly measures. the Medical Council of India (MCI) has proposed that colleges give emphasis to promotion of national bio-gas and manure management programs (NBMMP), national biomass cook-stove programs (NBCP), and solar cooking systems according to their suitability to ensure sustainability.” Read More... - The Pioneer
  • February 2012: Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Farooq Abdullah, noted at a recent seminar in Ambala, India, that the rapid rise in the use of fossil fuels has threatened exhaustion of conventional energy sources in the country. He said most of the energy required in the industry, transportation and agriculture field is generated from fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas. Farooq said his ministry had chalked out a detailed plan to promote solar cooking. - IBN Live
  • January 2012: Private equity firm Zephyr Peacock has reportedly invested $11,000,000 USD in Mumbai-based Gadhia Solar in India.. The solar energy company provides energy solutions by using parabolic concentrated technology and has implemented some of the world’s largest solar thermal systems during the past two decades. Read more...
  • January 2012: Ajay Chandak reports that in the Indian government's 12th five year plan, 2012-2016, 30000 million INR (approx. 600 million USD) is budgeted for solar cooking in a half a million schools. This will not only help in saving environment, but will expose millions and millions of school children to solar cooking and build the confidence that these systems work. This project is included among Most significant solar cooking projects.
  • November 2011: The World Intellectual Property Organization commissioned an extensive report on the state of solar cooking, prepared by Scope e-Knowledge Center Private Limited based in India. Released in August 2011, the report validates the viability of solar cooking, a technology well-suited for a growing portion of the world's population. It also provides a number of examples of various designs that have applied for patents.
  • October 2011: The latest PRINCE newsletter announces a scheduled training for Scheffler Reflector Solar Cookers coming January 21 -27, 2012. Next, PRINCE founder Ajay Chandak has received an Energy Conservation Award from the Government of Maharashtra. Also, PRINCE has organized a networking workshop for all stakeholders in the renewable energy business on January 25 - 26, 2012. PRINCE Biogas Plants now approved by MNRE. Read more about these items: PRINCE newsletter, Fall 2011
  • June 2011: First Solar Cooking Training on World Environment Day - Janak McGillian reports that Sanawdiya, a village located at the historic Devguradiya Temple, is increasingly affected by smoke from toxic dumps. On World Environment Day, June 4th and 5th, Janak organized a program to combat this smoke. With many guest speakers, the highlight of the program was a demonstartion of solar cooking with a SK-14 parabolic solar cooker. There was considerable interest from the villagers from Sanawadiya and farmers from the surrounding area. Read details of the event at: First Solar Cooking Training on World Environment Day
  • January 2011: Government clears plan for sixty solar cities. The Centre will kick off an ambitious scheme to develop sixty solar cities in two years. It will be done in collaboration with city corporations, municipalities and district councils. The focus will be on renewable energy devices such as kitchen waste-based plants, solar water heating systems, solar cooking systems, solar steam generation, drying and air heating systems, solar air-conditioning, bio-mass gasification based systems and biogas.
  • January 2011: RNCOS Report Predicts Growth of Solar Cookers in India. RNCOS, market research and information analysis company, in its recent report titled, “Indian Solar Energy Market Outlook 2012”, studies the latest trends in the industry by utilizing inputs from the state and central regulatory background of the country. According to the report, the solar cookers in India will witness a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6% in 2010-2013. The report details the rapid growth of solar industry in India and predicts that it will grow more in future. There is a growing demand for solar products in rural areas, and the trend will continue in the future too. The report quotes that the Solar Cookers International has rated India as the foremost country with abundant solar cooking potential. It mentions the various steps taken by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India in popularizing the usage of solar cookers in government organizations, villages, societies, hostels and hotels. The report also discusses various factors that push the growth of solar cooker market in India.
  • December 2010: Institutional solar cooking gains momentum in India. A news release from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, reporting on important activities in 2010, states: Solar concentrating systems, comprising automatically tracked of parabolic dishes, have been found to be useful for generating steam to cook food for hundreds and thousands of people in community kitchens especially at religious places such as Shirdi, Mount Abu, Tirupati etc. The world’s largest system is functioning at Shirdi for cooking food for 20,000 people/day. These systems have found good applications for air conditioning and laundry also and a few demonstration plants have recently been installed. A total of around 80 concentrating systems of different capacities covering 25,000 sq.m. of dish area are functioning in the country, largely for cooking purpose. During 2010, 15 such systems were sanctioned covering a dish area of around 3000 sq.m. More Information...
  • July 2010: The Ahmedabad-based Self Employed Women’s Association has joined forces with the Sierra Club to provide new green jobs and technology for SEWA’s 1.5 million members in India. Ninety-three percent of India’s workforce remains in the informal sector, said Nanavaty, executive director of SEWA. “The Indian economy is growing tremendously, but how do the rural poor also avail of these opportunities?” Sailesh Rao, president and founder of the San Jose, Calif.-based Climate Healers, said his non-profit organization had come up with two solar cook stoves, one that could slow-cook a meal like rice and daal throughout the day, and another that could prepare rotis almost instantly. Women using the solar stoves could also generate an income by selling their carbon credits, Rao told India-West after the talk, envisioning a plan where the credits could be sold for $11 per metric ton, netting rural women about $4.
Tirupati solar installation
  • June 2010: India's richest temple - Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), at Tirumala is relying entirely on clean energy to feed over 70,000 people everyday. The temple has installed solar powered lights, solar cooking system, windmills and a water recycling station. "The basic principle is conversion of water into steam energy. We're converting the solar energy into steam energy. The water flows through the pipes and the solar dishes concentrate the solar energy to the concentrators. In the concentrators the water is converted into steam and that steam is utilised for cooking," says Deputy Executive Engineer (Mechanical) KV Raman Rao. The solar array is similar to to the one recently installed in Shirdi, and also uses the Scheffler parabolic solar oven as the basis for their system.
  • May 2010: Installation of solar cooking devices at the Vigyan ashram near Puna, India.. A project proposal for the installation of solar cooking devices(16sqm scheffler concentrator, PRINCE 40 solar parabolic cooker, tunnel drier, 12 sqm solar batch drier, Bakery / oven , biogas generator) at the Vigyan ashram was submitted to INDUSA. The proposal has been accepted for VA campus for the year 2010. The civil and foundation work are currently underway. More Information...
Shirdi roof collector array

Shirdi roof collector array

Shirdi collector diagram

Shirdi collector array diagram

Shirdi cooking photo

Cooking in the kitchen at Shirdi

  • April 2010: Gadhia Solar Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. recently completed installation of an enormous solar steam cooking system, capable of cooking 40,000-50,000 meals per day. It is located at Shirdi Saibaba temple in Shirdi, Maharashtra, India. With nearly 30,000 visitors each day, the temple’s dining halls are some of the largest in India. The solar steam cooking system is comprised of 73 rooftop-mounted reflective dishes of 16 square meters each. The dishes concentrate sunlight on receivers that contain water, generating steam that is piped down to the kitchen for cooking purposes. To maintain constant focus with the sun, the dishes automatically rotate throughout the day after being manually aligned once each morning. The solar steam cooking system is retrofitted to existing liquid petroleum gas-powered steam boilers that are still used in the evening and during prolonged periods of inclement weather. Though the solar steam cooking system cost nearly $300,000, government subsidies reduced the temple’s portion to about $170,000. Liquid petroleum gas use has been cut by roughly 100,000 kilograms each year, for an annual savings of approximately $45,000. The temple should recoup its investment in three to four years. According to company founder Deepak Gadhia, the solar steam cooking technology was originally developed in Germany. However, the equipment does not contain imported components and is manufactured with local machinery and labor, creating much-needed jobs. Gadhia has adapted the system for use in India, and has installed 50 such systems of varying sizes over the past two decades. The March edition of CNN’s Eco Solutions program highlights the Shirdi Saibaba temple solar steam cooking system.

  • December 2009: "Sabarmati Central Jail is upgrading facilities and living and working conditions... the jail authorities are setting up an economical solar cooking system for its large kitchen to replace gas-guzzling conventional burners..." Rs 40-lakh solar cooking system for city jail from Ahmedabad
  • July, 30 2009: Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah on Thursday inaugurated the world’s largest solar steam system installed at Sri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi. The solar system has been designed for cooking food for devotees visiting the Sansthan. The total cost of the solar steam system is estimated at Rs. 133.00 lakhs for which a subsidy of Rs. 58.40 lakhs has been provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy(MNRE). The solar system enables the Sansthan to cook food for 20,000 people a day, resulting in a huge annual savings of one lakh kg of LPG translating to nearly Rs.20,00,000 per year. The system has been installed within a record time of ten months. The Shirdi system generates about 3500 kg of steam every day, which is sufficient to cook food for about 20,000 people. The system has been designed in such a way that it will generate steam for cooking even in the absence of electricity to run the feed water pump for circulating water in the system.
Solar Canteen in India

Ajay Chandak and volunteers running solar canteen.

  • March 21, 2009: Energy Day was celebrated in a unique way in city of Dhule, India, by a voluntary organization PRINCE (Promoters & Researchers In Non Conventional Energy). With the help of around 100 students of mechanical engineering from SSVPS BSD College of Engineering a solar canteen was set up by Prof. Ajay Chandak, Prof. Sham Patil and Prof. Deepak Dubey. Three SK-14, solar dish cooker, one square PRINCE design of dish cooker and one Community solar cooker of 2.3 m dia. were used in the canteen. On these gadgets almost 1000 snacks were cooked and sold by the students. Staff and students of the Institute and invited guests from the city enjoyed solar food. Guests had fun watching the food being cooked in front of their eyes in the solar cookers and to taste the same as any other methods of cooking. Snacks cooked and sold on large scale were Idlis and coffee. However other snacks like Khichadi, Cakes etc. were also prepared for demonstration to the visitors. Many students, staff and visitors showed great interest in the solar cooking demonstrations and local manufacturer, M/s Essential Equipments, reported sell of around ten solar cookers in next two days, which is welcome outcome of such event. Many students were thrilled with the experience of this event for the first time in their life and have shown great interest to organize such events at different locations in the city, next year. Principal of the Institute Dr. Jahagirdar has promised to support such events in future. Other programs for energy day celebrations included demonstrations of energy efficient technologies for lighting, fans and domestic appliances. All these equipments were demonstrated to visitors. Many visitors reported having changed their copper and aluminum ballasts with electronic ballasts in next week. After all seeing is believing. One workshop was also organized for local masons, hoteliers and interested people to teach them skills of installation of biogas plants working on food waste. Chairperson of PRINCE, Prof. Ajay Chandak, has given up LPG since last four years and fuel requirement for his family comes up from the solar cookers and biogas plant working on food waste. PRINCE group has come up with a special cost effective design of biogas plant. After the workshop five people have shown interest in installation of the biogas plants.
  • March 1-3, 2009: Workshop on Entrepreneurship in Renewable Energy" with special emphasis on manufacturing parabolic solar cookers in Dhule, India. More information.
  • November 2008: Priests are urging organizers of community Durga Puja festivals in and around Kolkata to “go green” according to an article in India’s national newspaper The Hindu. They hope to reduce the amount of plastic serving dishes and utensils used during the festivals, and are promoting the use of solar cookers to prepare rice offerings to Devi Durga. The West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency will give out awards to puja organizers for use of renewable energy and incorporation of energy efficiency techniques.
Jimmy McGilligan

Jimmy McGilligan awarded OBE by Queen Elizabeth II

  • November 2008: Jimmy McGilligan, Manager of Barli Development Institute for Rural Women originally from Northern Ireland received his medal, OBE an honour bestowed by her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom at Windsor Castle during investiture ceremony on November 11. “For his services to social causes and the use of alternative energy in rural communities in India”, is the recognition of his dedicated service to the rural and tribal women in central India.
India Oct. 2008
  • October 2008: To commemorate the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister of India Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, which is celebrated as “Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy Day”. On the occasion, members of Inner Wheel Club of Pune Middtown provided a live demonstration of Solar cooker was demonstrated by roasting peanuts and snacks to the students and dignitaries of the Education department of Pune Municipal Corporation. The students realised the advantages of Solar energy and were delighted They shared their feedback on the occasion.
  • August 2008: Dr. Satyapriya Mukhopadhyay, author of the book “Solar Cookere Ranna” and an international adviser to Solar Cookers International, conducted a solar cooker demonstration and seminar on solar cooking and its usefulness at Srikrishna College in March. The awareness-generation program was organized by National Service Scheme (NSS) of Srikrishna College unit. In attendance were nearly 250 students, as well as all college staff and a significant number of local community members. Mukhopadhyay, with the help of NSS program officers and volunteers, used a variety of solar cookers to cook several solar dishes: rice, mutton curry, spicy onion fish, tomato sauce, cazu nut, Indian porridge, dal, and boiled eggs. Shri Arun Kanti Saha, ex-principal and head of mathematics, and Dr. Sankar Prasad Dey, post-doctoral fellow and head of chemistry, delivered lectures on solar concentrating systems and their domestic and industrial uses. According to Dey, “The local participants and students became highly encouraged and showed their interest for generating awareness about solar cooking among the local people. After the completion of this program, organizations … are frequently requesting to Dr. Mukhopadhyay for conduction such program so that they can adopt the technique for cooking their daily foods. From discussions with local people, it is obvious that the program will go a long way towards creation of awareness of the villagers.”
India august 2008 box cooker

Suryakiran box cooker

  • August 2008: Under the brand name SuryaKiran, Universal Engineers Enterprise has manufactured approximately 15,000 box-type solar cookers for various governmental nodal agencies and private sector clients in India since 1996, according to the company’s Chief Manager Neeraj Kumar Garg. The box cookers are tested, approved and certified by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and carry the Bureau of Indian Standards ISI mark. They are constructed with fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) or aluminum bodies, and have a solar-electric hybrid option. Universal Engineers Enterprise also sells parabolic-type solar cookers, along with a variety of solar lighting and water heating systems.
  • August 2008: India’s northern state of Haryana won a nation award for its 2002-2007 solar cooker program. The honor was presented to the Department of Renewable Energy and the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at a ceremony in New Delhi last November. HAREDA promotes solar cookers statewide and provides subsidies to women wishing to purchase solar cookers. Concentrator-type (or dish-type) solar cookers with a diameter of 1.4 meters retail for approximately 5,100 Rupees (Rs), but are available for 2,100 Rs after combined subsidies from national and state agencies. Solar box cookers sell for approximately 1,800 Rs, and are available for 1,300 Rs after subsidies. According to, 6,329 dish-type and 1,983 box-type solar cookers were distributed in Haryana during the five year period. Reports by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) show a total of 70,978 solar cookers distributed across India during that time period. For more information about the solar cooker program in Haryana visit
Scripps 2008
  • March 2008: A March 2007 white paper — by Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (USA), and Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan, head of the Environmental Health Engineering department at Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India — outlines a project to reduce air pollution and global warming with community-wide use of solar cookers and improved biofuel cooking devices. The authors provide many referenced details about the negative health and environmental impacts of biomass burning and biofuel cooking, which they say are “the major sources of elemental carbon (EC) in India and other developing nations.” Carbon dioxide and EC, or soot, are the “two largest agents of global warming.” In India, where a reported 90 percent of cooking is done over wood- and dung-fueled fires, several studies have documented that “indoor air pollution leads to 400,000-550,000 premature deaths … from lower respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. … The burden falls disproportionately on women and children, who inhale soot and other particles from smoke released by the burning of biofuels.” This soot combines with outdoor air pollution to form atmospheric brown clouds (ABCs) that “envelope most of India and the Indian Ocean … [leading] to a large reduction of sunlight at the ground and … atmospheric solar heating.” Since EC and other particles in ABCs have relatively short lifetimes compared to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the authors believe global EC reductions can “give us a decade or two to come up with viable and sustainable alternatives for fossil fuel combustion.” In the proposed “Project Surya,” solar cookers will be distributed in 65 villages in the Periyar PURA region in the Thanjavur and Pudukkottai districts of Tamil Nadu, benefiting approximately 6,500 households that currently use about 5 kilograms of firewood per day. Other fuel-efficient cooking devices will be available for use at night or on inclement days. The region has a strong base of local nongovernmental organizations and social networks, including women’s self-help groups, that will be useful for project implementation. Input and feedback from the communities will be gathered and used in a number of ways. Surveys of eating habits and estimated cooking fuel requirements will be conducted. Meetings with local leaders will be used to demonstrate a range of solar cooking technologies and to solicit feedback on their suitability and probability of acceptance in the communities at large. Educational outreach and incentives will be used to maximize use of clean cooking technologies. Installation, operation and maintenance training programs will be offered for those interested. Data collection will begin six months before the project launch, and will continue for at least a year after. Using special instrument towers, researchers will measure concentrations of particulates and soot content, as well as surface solar radiation. If feasible, indoor air pollution will be monitored using special equipment installed in select homes. (Alternatively, a mobile laboratory may be used.) Children will be involved as well, collecting data on cooking fuel use and cooking times, among other things. This data will help quantify the reduction in biofuel use and soot emissions. Though the authors state “it is difficult and costly to [accurately] quantify the disease burden due to indoor air pollution,” they “propose to build the evidence for expected health improvements … through documentation of exposure reduction and subsequently through reduction in incidence and severity of diseases.” The stated goals of the project, in order of importance, are: 1. To eliminate the detrimental health effects of indoor smoke; 2. To reduce the negative effects of EC in ABCs on the summer monsoon rainfall, Himalyan glacier retreat and agriculture; 3. To mitigate the global warming effects of CO2 and elemental carbon. Contact: Vanessa A. Balta Cook, Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate at SIO-UCSD. Tel: 858-534-8815, e-mail:, Web: Sun Shine Energy
Community solar cooker 2007

The new 2.3 meter parabolic Community cooker ready for operation

  • November 2007: Professor Ajay Chandak, of Promoters and Researchers in Non-Conventional Energy (Prince India), reports completion of an ambitious project to manufacture, transport, install and commission over 300 large parabolic solar cookers at tribal schools in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The project was coordinated by Chandak, with manufacturing by PRINCE trainees M/s Essential Equipments and three contractual manufacturers. Twenty-five trained teams carried out installation and testing of the cookers. The entire process took just 45 days, and resulted in 100 schools being equipped. The Community solar cookers, as Chandak refers to them, are 2.3 meters in diameter and powerful enough for a 22-liter pressure cooker. Each cooker cost around Rs. 26,000 ($650) and comes with a large pressure cooker and other accessories.
  • October 2007: Finally the awareness to harness Solar energy and use it to cut costs and save money has arrived in Mumbai. Cut Cost Technologies have introduced the Fuel-Free Cooker in Mumbai, INDIA. Surprisingly its use, in Mumbai, is going to be pioneered by an NGO which is already at the fore-front of adopting renewable energy Sources. The Fuel Free Cooker is an addition to their other renewable energy exploitation. They already have in place solar water heaters and a bio gas plant. Surely more will follow the example of this NGO and save money by cutting costs....because the money saved will be used for the larger good of the society.
Fair Fabricators Cooker 2007
  • April 2007: Fair Fabricators has been honored for its "outstanding performance" in India’s solar cooker program. The award was sponsored by the governmental Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES). Fair Fabricators reports that it has manufactured and sold more than 100,000 solar cookers in the last two decades. The company is a leading manufacturer of aluminum-bodied solar box cookers, but also manufactures parabolic-type solar cookers and expects to begin production of solar box cookers made of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). Contact: Fair Fabricators
Suspended Box Solar Oven
  • April 2007: Sankha Subhra Datta has designed a solar box cooker that is suspended at two points within a support frame, allowing for rotation of the entire cooker around a horizontal axis from 5 to 70 degrees with respect to the ground. The cooker can therefore maintain a nearly 90-degree angle to the light as the sun's position in the sky changes. The cooker is rotated around a horizontal axis by repositioning a bar that is attached to the lower front corners of the box between any of 14 slots spread across the base of the frame. Datta says this system has advantages over solar box cookers with tilt-adjusting rear legs — a greater range of rotation can be achieved, and the cook can rotate the unit smoothly without having to lift its entire weight and risk food spillage. Another design feature that helps to prevent food spills is the weighted, rotating cooking tray that keeps the pot horizontal at all times. Regardless of cooker rotation, the pot is always at the center of the cooker because the tray rotates on the horizontal axis of the pot. "This tray holding arrangement is designed for proper utilization of top and bottom reflectors at every inclination … which is not possible in simply suspended tray arrangements [because] shifting of pot location from the central position of the inner box due to the rotation of pot around pivots," Datta says. The cooker frame sits on casters for easy rotation around the vertical axis. The outer box is constructed of galvanized iron and the inner box is aluminum, with glass wool insulation in between. The glazing is double-paned glass with a two-centimeter air gap.
  • February 2007: New Delhi, IPS article Indoor Air Pollution - Silent Killer of Women Over 1.5 million females die prematurely every year by inhaling poisonous fumes as they cook or heat their homes...
  • November 2006: Rural Development Trust, a nonprofit organization near Chennai, has assembled 30 solar box cookers and distributed them to villages in the area for demonstrations and awareness creation. The Trust has prepared simple Tamil-language instructions on how to build a solar cooker and use it to cook common dishes like rice and lentils.
Giant solar cooking system in India

Snow-capped mountains can be seen in the background of the solar cooking system

  • November 2006: An article by M.A. Siraj, appearing in the November/December 2005 issue of Refocus magazine, highlights a solar cooking system installed by Gadhia Solar Energy Systems for the Indian Army. Here is an excerpt: "The Indian Army has commissioned a giant solar cooking system at Leh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Located in the Ladakh region at 4,000 meters, it is said to be the world’s highest altitude solar cooking system with the capacity to prepare food for 500 army personnel. Mr. Deepak Gadhia of Gadhia Solar Energy Systems … [said] this was one of the most challenging projects undertaken by his company as the team had to work in extremely adverse climate conditions such as snow, cold winds and sub-zero temperatures. … Prior to solar cooking being introduced, the army kitchen at this base was using nearly 50 kilograms of liquefied petroleum gas and 70 liters of diesel each day to cook food. Described as an icy desert, the region has no vegetation and hence no firewood. Diesel and gas cylinders are transported by air for the Army and the tribal population. The solar cooking system has halved the consumption of these fuels. Gadhia says the heat is generated by five pairs of 9.5 square meter parabolic reflectors which produce steam that is piped down to the kitchen for cooking purpose." Due to the cold climate, the system requires thick pipe insulation, and must be regularly drained of water when not in use.
Ajay Chandak receives award

Professor Ajay Chandak accepts a renewable energy award from Mr. Vinay Kore, the Maharasthra state minister for non-conventional energy, as other dignitaries look on

Deepak and Shirin Gadhia

Deepak (left) and Shirin Gadhia

Steam generators

Solar steam cooking system mounted atop Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam

  • March 2006: Representatives from hotels and educational institutions gathered recently in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, to learn about solar concentrating systems for steam generation that can cook thousands of meals daily. Representatives from other industries that could benefit from solar steam generation also attended. The meeting was organized by the Non-Conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NEDCAP) and sponsored by the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES). Mr. Deepak Gadhia, Managing Director of Gadhia Solar, detailed how solar concentrating systems work and mentioned several industrial uses in addition to cooking: incineration, waste water evaporation, solar desalination, solar air conditioning and solar space heating, to name a few. Two testimonials were provided. First, Mr. Malliah, Vice President of Sanghi Employee Welfare Association, told of how he attended a lecture by Mr. Gadhia a few years earlier and was convinced that his organization needed to install such a system, given that they are always looking at ways to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and protect the environment. Their system, which cost about $12,500 after a 50% government subsidy, is working well. Costs were recouped within two years. Next, Mr. Kachwaha told of a system that was installed in a silk processing plant. Not only did this system reduce energy costs, but it also reduced noise and air pollution within the plant, resulting in a better work environment and greater productivity. The system has since been repurposed from solar steam generation to solar water heating, with a daily capacity of 1600 liters. After the gathering, participants toured the world’s largest solar steam cooking system at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. The system is comprised of 106 rooftop-mounted parabolic concentrators that generate steam for cooking up to 30,000 meals daily. The gathering was covered in a number of newspapers and appeared on television news stations. Contact: Jagadeeswara Reddy
  • January 2006: Professor Ajay Chandak of Promoters & Researchers In Non-Conventional Energy (PRINCE) led a workshop titled “Manufacturing Parabolic Solar Cookers and an introduction to renewable energy technologies.” Twenty people from eight states participated in the workshop, mostly renewable energy professionals. Mr. Chandak hopes that several of them will consider manufacturing parabolic solar cookers in their own states. Large community-size cookers, two meters or more in diameter, proved quite popular. These cookers can cook meals for 30-50 people. Smaller, family-side cookers were also shown, as were related technologies like solar food dryers. Contact: Ajay Chandak, Prince India


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