Last edited: 31 May 2022
Solar Cookers International (SCI) helps lead global efforts to promote solar cooking. Solar cookers have no emissions and use free solar energy accessible worldwide for cooking and water pasteurization. SCI raises solar cooking knowledge and awareness by organizing and attending international conferences. It also hosts the Solar Cookers International Association, the Solar Cooking Wiki, as well as SCI's organizational website. This work assists in the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Tens of thousands of individuals and organizations from around the world have learned about solar cooking through SCI's advocacy, leadership, education resources, and information exchange network. SCI, based in Sacramento, California, USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-governmental organization supporting and reporting on the work of hundreds of partner organizations and individuals in 142 countries.
- SCI has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
- SCI sponsors the Solar Cooking Wiki (this site), an internationally recognized resource for solar cooking information.
- SCI was named as a winner in the Keeling Curve Prize for sustainable planet solutions in August 2021. SCI won for its work “improving human and environmental health by supporting the expansion of effective carbon-free solar cooking in world regions of greatest need” in the Social and Cultural Pathways category.
- SCI has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.
- SCI's Worldwide Office is located in Sacramento, California, USA (Map).
In addition to its advocacy, leadership, research, and networking activities, SCI provides grant funding to pilot projects that focus on innovative processes that scale up solar cooking technologies in the regions of the world where the human and environmental needs are greatest.
Solar Cookers International is spearheading the solar cooker Performance Evaluation Process (PEP). Evaluation of the performance, user experience, and quality of solar cookers was identified as a high priority by the attendees of the 5th SCI World Conference in Sacramento, California, USA, 2014. The process and instrumentation was presented and demonstrated at the 6th SCI World Conference in Gujarat, India, January 2017.
If you would like to promote SCI's global work to introduce solar cooking technology to families around the world to improve health, quality of life, and the environment, please make a donation online or to the postal address below. The majority of SCI's funding comes from individual donors and foundations supporting social impact and environmental sustainability.
See SCI's website for detailed information.
Most significant solar cooking projects
- A refugee camp in Kenya was the first to receive a large scale solar cooking project - The Kakuma Refugee Camp was formed in 1972 when Sudanese refugees first arrived in Kakuma, Kenya. Introducing solar cooking to the camp was Solar Cookers International’s first large-scale refugee project, beginning in January 1995. Kakuma had considerable refugee turnover, but by 2004, when Solar Cookers International (SCI) concluded the project, the camp had tripled in size to nearly 90,000 refugees. Though rapid growth posed problems for assisting all those who wanted to solar cook, SCI ultimately served over 15,000 families. This project was one of the earliest to use the CooKit solar panel cooker to introduce solar cooking. The program also extended solar cooker technology to schools, especially primary school, through demonstrations, poems, songs and drama.
- NEW: May 2022: SCI profiled in media article - SCI Executive Director, Caitlyn Hughes, was interviewed by Annie Eubank of Gastro Obscura's Favorite Things, providing background and the current status of solar cooking in helping to create a more sustainable world. Read article...
- March 2022: United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Forum - Solar Cookers International Executive Director, Caitlyn Hughes and Alan Bigelow, SCI Science Director, presented first-hand accounts of solar cooking initiatives empowering women. Other speakers included Esther Wang'ombe, Senior Deputy Director, Renewable Energy, Ministry of Energy, Terry Tempest Williams, author, conservationist, and activist, Dr. Daniel Kammen, Senior Advisor for Energy Innovation at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Rocío Maldonado, SCI Global Advisor. Watch the video below of the proceedings.
- November 2021: Solar Cookers International presented advancements made in solar cooking at this year's COP26
- October 2021: Recognizing the need for solar cooking: - Solar Cookers International was pleased to be recognized for its effort in promoting solar cooking by CNN. Approximately four million solar cookers are in use at this time worldwide, helping to save entire forests from destruction. SCI Advisor, Janak McGilligan, describes the efforts the Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development has contributed to many communities in India with their solar cooking introductory programs. Read the article...
- August 2021: SCI named as winner! - Solar Cookers International has been named as a winner in the Keeling Curve Prize for sustainable planet solutions. SCI won for its work “improving human and environmental health by supporting the expansion of effective carbon-free solar cooking in world regions of greatest need” in the Social and Cultural Pathways category. Dr. Shishpal Rawat, SCI’s Board President, said, “This recognition helps elevate the role of solar cookers as a key technology to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” SCI estimates that there are over four million solar cookers directly and positively impacting over 14 million people, preventing over 5.8 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to taking more than 1.25 million cars off the road, and an estimated 30 million tons of CO2 is prevented over the lifetime of solar cookers distributed, equivalent to not burning over 34 billion pounds of coal or driving over 76 billion miles. Read more about the SCI award in Mongabay.com. The awards ceremony is included at approximately the 48 minute mark in the following video.
- June 2021: Solar cookers and sustainable cooking equipment distributed in Nepal - With assistance from Solar Cookers International, approximately 300 people from especially vulnerable groups from communities in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kavre, Okhaldhunga, and Solukhumbu districts have received solar cookers, solar dryers, heat-retention boxes, and water pasteurization and safety equipment, as well as the necessary training. These locations in Nepal have limited local resources, and the new appliances help the recipients be better prepared for the challenges facing their communities. Read more in the SCI Summer 2021 Newsletter
- April 2021: SCI named as finalist - Solar Cookers International has been named as a finalist in the Keeling Curve Prize for sustainable planet solutions. The award announcement of the ten programs selected for the prize is scheduled to be made 31 July 2021.
- March 2021: The Solar Cookers International Order of Excellence annual award for 2020 has been given to the Republic of Kenya for including solar cooking in its Voluntary National Review (VNR) to track progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The award recognizes the most outstanding people and organizations whose sustained efforts have contributed most to empowering people to cook food and pasteurize water with solar energy.
- December 2020: SCI presented on solar cooking's positive impacts for women and the environment at the United Nations Climate Dialogues virtual event - Even though the United Nations Climate Conference did not happen in person this year, SCI continued to raise your voice in support of solar cooking at the United Nations Climate Dialogues virtual event which took place on December 2, 2020. In collaboration with The Women and Gender Constituency, SCI discussed solar cooking's positive impacts for women and the environment. Watch video
- November 2020: SCI shares successes at the ReEnergy Africa E-Summit - SCI's Executive Director Caitlyn Hughes discusses the impact of solar cooking around the world and shared success stories from Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. Watch video
- November 2020: Alan Bigelow, SCI's Science Director, presents at virtual Carnegie Science Center session "DARE to Solar Cook - The Physics of Cooking with Sunshine" - SCI’s Science Director Alan Bigelow, Ph.D. spoke at the Carnegie Science Center for their event called Virtual Cafe Sci: D.A.R.E. to Solar Cook - The Physics of Cooking with Sunshine on November 2, 2020. He spoke alongside SCI Global Advisor Mary Buchenic and SCI Associate Jennifer Gasser. Alan discussed the technical details of solar cooking and incorporating the science of materials and light optics. Mary and Jennifer shared their experiences promoting solar cooking STEM curricula and the collaborations they enjoy with colleagues in Haiti and around the world. Café Sci is the Carnegie Science Center program where anyone interested in science can get together in a virtual setting to discuss today's science issues with experts. Watch video.
- October 2020: Solar Cookers International featured in Leaders magazine - Solar Cookers International was profiled in Leaders magazine, a publication dedicated to sustainable living in Indonesia. Highlights include a brief history of SCI, the importance of solar cooking, and SCI's plans to promote solar cooking in Asia. Read more...
- August 2020: SCI hosts virtual UN Sustainable Development Goals event - Solar Cookers International (SCI), the Public-Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF) and Konbit pou Developman Commune Kote de Fer (KDCK) held a virtual Side Event showcasing solar cooking as a transformative approach in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2020. Video...
- June 2020: PEP Update - On a 19 June 2020 video conference, SCI Executive Director, Caitlyn Hughes and Science Director, Alan Bigelow, conducted a basic overview of the different types of solar cookers, explained the various parts of the Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) test station, and the history behind the process. They also shared results and lessons learned from conducting tests on specific solar cookers.
- May 2020: Resource guide - Solar Cookers International has assembled a number of resources in one location for easy access for interested users. SCI Download Resources includes links to:
- Solar Cooking Economic Impact
- Promotion Toolkit
- Solar Cooking Basics
- Adoption Program Evaluations
- Publications, and more.
- April 2020: Solar Cookers International published its Spring 2020 newsletter
- April 2020: Solar Cookers International published The Analysis of the Economic Impacts of Solar Cooking. The document explores that with approximately 3 billion people cooking over open fires, there is tremendous potential for countries to save money by avoiding the environmental and health costs associated with biomass cooking. If people relying on solid fuels for cooking switched to cooking with solar cookers even ¼ of the time, countries can save millions, and even billions, of dollars.
- Read the report: The Analysis of the Economic Impacts of Solar Cooking
- January 2020: Solar Cookers International featured in Physics World article and podcast - Solar Cookers International was featured in a Physics World article and podcast, Physics World Weekly, with a discussion about SCI's work and the benefits of solar cooking. Article... Podcast...
- December 2019: Solar Cookers International updates impact map - Solar Cookers International updated the Distribution of Solar Cookers Map. 3.9+ million solar cookers have been distributed globally. Distribution of Solar Cookers Map...
- December 2019: COP25 presentation - Solar Cookers International at COP25: Building Solar Cooking Capacity Worldwide (Listen On-Demand)
- December 2019: Solar Cookers International presents solar cooking to Speaker Nancy Pelosi at COP25 - While attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 25, SCI Executive Director Caitlyn Hughes and SCI Board Member Mike Paparian, had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of solar thermal cooking technology with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Betty McCollum. More information...
- December 2019: Attending the United Nations COP25 conference, Caitlyn Hughes, Executive Director of Solar Cookers International, explained the case for solar cooking. Watch video...
- November 2019: SCI to exhibit and advocate at COP25 conference in Madrid, Spain - Solar Cookers International (SCI) will be advocating for increased adoption of solar cookers at the United Nations Climate Conference, known as COP25, in Madrid, Spain on December 2-13. We will be promoting the urgent need for solar cooking with influential government and NGO leaders from around the world. Solar Cookers International will have an exhibit booth during the first week of the conference (Monday December 2 through Saturday Dec 7th). SCI will also hold press conferences on Monday Dec 2, Wednesday Dec 4, Friday Dec 6, Monday Dec 9, and Wednesday Dec 11, each from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Everyone in attendance at COP is invited to visit SCI’s exhibit booth and watch our press conferences. Press conferences will also be broadcast to the public by the United Nations, and everyone around the world is encouraged to watch. More information...
- September 2019: Alan Bigelow’s Solar-Cooking Revolution - The New Yorker
- June 2019: Solar Cookers International opens new PEP testing center at the University of Nairobi, Kenya - SCI’s PEP test allows manufacturers and consumers to know the cooking power of solar cookers without brand bias and to develop a baseline for comparison. PEP testing demonstrates to solar cooker users and investors the power, in watts, they can expect from a specific model of solar cooker. SCI PEP results are trustworthy because the PEP test is based on an internationally accepted protocol for testing and reporting solar cooker performance. SCI also has centers in Lalitpur, Nepal; New York, USA; and California, USA. Having global locations for SCI PEP testing centers is important to advancing the adoption of solar cooking worldwide and affirms SCI’s role as the leader within the solar cooking sector. Local testing of solar cookers supports the regional economy, job growth and builds capacity in the sector. 
- June 2019: Solar Cookers International has recently brought life-saving solar cooking to more than 300 people in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. Before you stepped in, women were often forced to sell their precious food rations for cooking fuel, putting their children at risk of malnutrition. If they dared to journey outside of the camp to collect firewood, they risked violence.
- May 2019: 3.3+ Million Solar Cookers and Counting - Solar Cookers International's crowd-sourced impact map now shows there are 3.3 million solar cookers in use globally, directly impacting more than 11.8 million people. More information...
- January 2019: Watch on-demand videos of solar cooking press conferences at UN COP24 Climate Change Conference
- November 2018: SCI's Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) was named as a Finalist in the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Climate CoLab "Energy Supply 2018" contest. Judges agreed that solar cooking is an "exciting new approach to tackling climate change-from reducing emissions to shifting public perception to pricing carbon." The MIT Climate CoLab is an online crowdsourcing platform of over 100,000 global members, sourcing proposals on climate adaptation, reducing emissions from buildings and transport, behavioral change strategies, etc. More information...
- October 2018: Caitlyn Hughes has been hired as Executive Director of Solar Cookers International. Caitlyn has worked with SCI as Program Director and most recently as Interim Executive Director between July 1, 2018, and October 5, 2018. More information...
- May 2020: SCI offers downloadable resources for international, national, and community solar cooking impact
- Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use, and Enjoy
- Trainers Manual: Teaching Solar Cooking
- Field Guide: Spreading Solar Cooking
- Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use, and Enjoy
- April 2020: The Analysis of the Economic Impacts of Solar Cooking - Solar Cookers International
- April 2020: Solar Cooking Economic Impact Summaries Sources and Calculations - Solar Cookers International
- July 2018: Solar Cookers International White Paper - Edward Ortiz
- January 2018: Solar Cookers International Report Recent Gains in Global Solar Cooking Movement (Slides, Abstract) - Julie Greene, et al
- January 2018: Solar Cookers International Test Stations for a Performance Evaluation Process Motivate a Network of Testing Centers (Abstract) - Alan Bigelow, et al
- February 2016: Key Disruptors for the 21st Century - Julie Greene, Solar Cookers International, USA
- February 2016: Three Million Solar Cookers Worldwide Impacting Over Eleven Million People - Caitlyn Hughes, Julie Greene
- November 2009: TchadSolaire Project Evaluation, Touloum Refugee Camp, Chad
- November 2008: International Program Development, Kenya Report Status report of SCI programs including the Safe Water Project and Sunny Solutions by Karyn Ellis, SCI Director of International Development.
- October 2008: Sunny Solutions Independent final evaluation
- September 2008: Sunny Solutions Final Report
- July 2008: East Africa Report: Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya by Karyn Ellis, SCI Director of International Development.
- October 2007: Solar Cooker Project Evaluation, Iridimi Refugee Camp, Chad
- December 2003: Evaluation of Solar CooKit Project in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya - Final Report
- January 2003: Aisha Solar Cooking Project, Evaluation Report to Solar Cookers International, Aisha refugee camp, Ethiopia.
SCI Digest (Archive)
- See SCI Digest.
Solar Cooker Review (Archive)
- See Solar Cooker Review.
Articles in the media
- NEW: May 2022: Can solar cookers save the world? - Gastro Obscura
- October 2021 'Whole forests will be saved': Is solar cooking more than just a flash in the pan? - CNN
- January 2021: Solar Cookers International: Clean Cooking Solutions - Indiaspora
- October 2020: What's Cooking With Solar Cookers? - LEADERS: Indonesia's Forum for Sustainable Living
- April 2020: Sun Power - Evolving practices help bring solar cooking to the world stage - Comstock's Magazine
- December 2019: Qatar’s climate-friendly plan for WC 2022 highlighted at COP25
- December 2019: MME at COP25 presents tech solutions to meet green challenges - Gulf Times
- September 2019: Alan Bigelow’s Solar-Cooking Revolution - The New Yorker
- July 2019: Is it hot enough to fry an egg outside? We got cracking to find out - The Washington Post
- August 2017: Can solar cookers offer higher living standards and reduced emissions? - Energy World
- July 2017: Indore: Dr. McGilligan shares struggle of empowering tribal women at UN - The Free Press Journal
- December 2016: Julie Greene is on a sun-fueled mission - Sacramento Business Journal
- July 2015: Solar cookers sizzle in Sacramento heat - The Sacramento Bee
- Solar Cooking: The No-Fuel, No-Emissions Way to Make Dinner - Edible Manhattan
- December 2011: Solar cooking works, from sunny Brazil to Seattle - Crosscut.com
- June 2011: Sierra High School partners with Solar Cookers International - Sierra Sun
- May 2011: The Science Channel explains the need for solar cooking in Iridimi refugee camps, and the work of the KoZon Foundation and Solar Cookers International. - The Science Channel
- September 2010: The Art of Solar Cooking - East Bay Express
- August 2010 Solar Cooking for the Rural and Marginalized Communities - Global Action Atlas
- June 2010: Valley club makes solar cooking sizzle - The Fresno Bee
- January 2010: Solar Cookers International to Help Haitian Families - Sacramento Press
- January 2010: Solar Salvation for Haiti? - MSNBC
- November 2009: Youth giving, solar style - Solar Cooker Review
- October 2009: Kenya: Entrepreneurs Cashing in on Green Campaign - Business Daily (Nairobi)
- July 2009: SCI gives demonstrations galore in the Sacramento, California area - Solar Cooker Review
- April 2009: Sri Lanka's Sun in a Box! - Islam Online
- April 2009: VENTURE: Integrated Solar Cooking - genV Campaigns
- April 2009: Paper and Fuel Wood Biggest Stresses on Forests - Lester Brown
- January 2009: The dish on solar cooking: Local group touts the benefits of the sun’s power - Sacramento News & Review
- August 2008: Nuts + Bolts-Cooking with Sunlight - Natural Home Magazine
- July 2008: Taming harsh sunrays to make cooking easy - The Standard
- June 2008: Be Green: Here comes the sun - The Record
- May 2007: Sacramento’s Solar Cookers International uses the sun to improve quality of life, one village at a time - Sacramento News Review
- March 2007: A life in the Peace Corps: Public health volunteer in Kenya - Savannah Morning News
- February 2007: Rural Kenyan women on vanguard of African solar revolution - Agence France Presse
- January 2006: Cooking with the Sun - Highlights
Audio and video
- March 2022:
- January 2022:
- July 2021:
- March 2021:
- December 2020:
- November 2020:
- November 2020:
- October 2020:
- July 2020:
Additional audio and video
- August 2016: Solar Cookers International covered by local Sacramento television news
- November 2017: On September 14, SCI Executive Director Julie Greene and solar cooking aficionado Phyllis Davies were guests on the "Hometown Radio with Dave Congalton Show", broadcast by KVEC 920 AM from San Luis Obispo, California, USA. The 40-minute interview spanned numerous topics, from the health impact of no-emission passive solar cooking to the need for performance testing protocols to SCI's work with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Listen to the audio file.
- October 2017: Julie Greene from SCI, and Ole Kaven, geophysicist, discuss earthquakes and solar cooking options when power is out. Julie's discussion begins at 14:30. From a 2015 recording. - 3BL Media
- January 2016: SunPod interview with SCI director Julie Greene from recent Portugal conference
- August 2015: SCI is featured on local Sacramento, California TV news demonstrating how solar cookers allow a household to cook during the current heat wave without heating up the kitchen.
- 2013: Monica Woods, SCI Board Member and News 10 Chief Meteorologist, discusses how a basic solar cooker functions, and the social, environmental, and health benefits of cooking with the sun. Listen to the interview...
- July 2013: Mendocino County Public Broadcasting interviews Julie Greene, Executive Director of Solar Cookers International about solar cooking strategies, equipment, and the impact of SCI's work in emerging nations. Listen to the program...
- August 2009: Dr. Bob Metcalf gave a very informative interview to Kirk Hamilton PA-C, of http://www.prescription2000.com, an online resource that delivers credible nutrition research to health professionals and to the public. Listen here. There is also a transcript available.
- January 2009: Solar Cookers Head to Haiti (Audio) - Capital Public Radio
- April 2008: World Bank audio interview with SCI's Margaret Owino
- April 2008: World Bank audio interview with SCI's Margaret Owino
- January 2007: A video interview with SCI's Faustine Odaba at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
- October 2007: Suncookers - A DVD showing the work of Solar Cookers International in Kenya
- September 2006: A video interview with SCI's Margaret Owino (Low bandwidth version here)
Donating to SCI
- Donate online: Donate to Solar Cookers International. All donations may be tax-deductible in the United States through Solar Cookers International, a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization (Tax ID 68-0153141).
- Buy from Amazon.com Shop at Amazon.com and 0.5% of your payment will be donated to SCI. Just use this link and shop as you normally do: Support SCI with your Amazon Smile purchase.
- Good Search / Good Shop- Search the web with GoodSearch.com and each time you do a search, GoodSearch will donate a penny to our cause! Shop online at GoodShop.com and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating including Amazon, Target, Staples, Best Buy and more! Code for inserting a Good Shop banner
- Fun(d)-raising - Your group or community can support SCI, AND have fun too. Creative events people have organized include community Solarbrations, Sol Food pot-lucks and Sun Runs. Please see these ways that schools and young people have raised money for our work.
- Sell items on eBay! SCI is a certified charity on eBay, which means you can help fundraise for us. Visit our eBay charity page for more information.
- Contact SCI's Sacramento, California office to discuss these or other options.
- Brochure showing the benefits for target groups of SCI's work
- The history of Solar Cookers International from 1988 to 1999
- Solar Cookers International website
- The Solar Cookers International PEP testing program (Schedule a test.)
- SCI Board of Directors
- Become an SCI Associate
- Make a donation
- Legacy giving
Tel: +(1) 916-455-4499 or 916-455-4498
Organizational website: http://solarcookers.org
US Tax Exemption ID: 68-0153141