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Monica Woods explains Solar Cookers International's mission

Monica Woods explains Solar Cookers International's mission

Solar Cookers International All About Access

Solar Cookers International All About Access

Household air pollution: causes and solutions

SCI Annual Report 2018 masthead

Read SCI's Annual Report for 2018

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. By spreading solar cooking knowledge and awareness through the Solar Cookers International Association and this website, SCI helps achieve the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Tens of thousands of individuals and organization from all over 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 138 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 publishes the bi-weekly digital SCI Digest announcing solar cooking developments and key events throughout the world.
  • SCI won an Ashden Award in 2002 for their work with solar cookers in Kenya. In August 2006, SCI was the winner of the World Renewable Energy Award[1].
  • 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


Refugees from Sudan are trained by Solar Cookers International in the use of their new CooKit solar cookers.

  • 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.



SCI PEP University of Nairobi Kenya 2019
  • 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. [2]
Kakuma 2019

Refugee women with a Heliac Solar Cooker

PEP cropped 2017

SCI's PEP device

  • 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: Solar Cookers International held a solar oven demonstration at the San Diego Clean Energy Fair. The event also featured several clean energy-related workshops and presentations on topics including solar energy, energy storage, and electric and hybrid vehicles. Read more...
  • July 2018: Julie Greene steps down as Executive Director and Caitlyn Hughes becomes interim Executive Director.
Alan Bigelow in Haiti, 4-18

SCI Science Director, Dr. Alan Bigelow, meets with University Notre Dame Hinche students in Haiti to discuss solar cooking technology Photo credit: SCI

  • July 2018: SCI Science Director visits Haiti - Dr. Alan Bigelow worked in Haiti with SCI Associate Rose Bazile to share solar cooking technology and the Performance Evaluation Process. They discussed water pasteurization, types of solar cookers, and integration with biogas with University Notre Dame Hinche students, professors, and graduates during their Science Day presentation. They also worked with the local group Haitian Adolescent Girls Network (HAGN) to educate young girls about the benefits of using solar cooking for entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • May 2018: Solar Cookers International is now offering a service to measure the standardized cooking power of solar cookers (in Watts) at testing centers in Nepal, California, and New York, USA. SCI’s performance evaluation process (PEP) uses a test station that automates the ASAE S580.1 protocol for testing and reporting solar cooker performance. The ASAE S580.1 protocol harmonizes with ISO/TC 285 standardization in the field of clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions. Test results provide a single measure of thermal performance, so customers may compare different designs when selecting a solar cooker. The standardized-cooking-power specification for solar cookers is akin to the miles-per-gallon (or kilometers-per-liter) specification for automobiles, which helps guide consumer choice. With this testing service now available, SCI is keen to promote and partner with projects using solar cookers that have been tested according to SCI’s PEP. SCI has posted some of the preliminary PEP result reports from its 2017 pilot study on the Performance Evaluation Process. SCI will post official PEP results as they emerge during the 2018 testing season. SCI welcomes manufacturers to have their solar cookers tested, even during the design and prototype stages of development to reduce the number of costly redesigns. Please contact SCI at to arrange to have your solar cooker tested. To hear more about SCI’s testing program, listen to an interview with SCI Science Director and Representative at the United Nations Alan Bigelow, Ph.D. See also Testing.
SCI Tanzania Phase 2 2018
  • April 2018: Update on SCI project in Tanzania - Thanks to Solar Cookers International (SCI) supporters, 60 more women received solar box cookers, retained-heat baskets, and Water Pasteurization Indicators (WAPIs) in March. The solar box cookers were made locally by artisans in Tanzania, which supports the local economy. And local repairs and maintenance are available. The women received two days of training and cooked ugali, rice, meat, makande (maize mixed with beans), and vegetables. These are the foods this community eats. Locally made solar cookers that cook local foods; these solar box cookers are a good match for families in this corner of Tanzania. The trainers were women who were part of an earlier 2010 project and Phase 1 of the solar cooker project in 2016. Tapping the expertise of local cooks and trainers is an important part of making solar cooking a reality. This project is Phase 2 of the original SCI project that empowered 30 Tanzanian women with solar cookers in 2016. Results to date: As with Phase 1, the women in the community will use the Solar Cooking Adoption and Impact Survey, developed by SCI, to track the value that solar cooking is having on their lives. In Phase 1, the women were collectively able to save 556 kg (1223.2 lbs) of charcoal (28% savings), 1,955 bundles of wood (24% savings), and 25% of their fuel costs, in only 10 months.
PRINCE - 40 parabolic cooker, 2-6-12

The PRINCE-40 parabolic cooker

  • April 2018: Solar cooking in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria - In February and March, MSA Renewtech Foundation (India) and the United Clergy Task Force (UCTF) (US) responded to requests from ten faith-based communities in rural Puerto Rico for community-sized solar cookers. With private funding, coordination by UCTF, training by Mr. Pranav Gadhia of MSA Renewtech, and bilingual technical instructions, curriculum, and survey tools from Solar Cookers International (SCI), ten faith congregations of more than 100 people each are being trained in the assembly and use of the PRINCE-40 parabolic dish solar cooker in rural Puerto Rico. In late April, Ms. Anne Patterson, an SCI Global Advisor, will deploy 25+ Solavore solar ovens from Punta Santiago to the Toro Negro rain forest and Morovis. Most of these places are still largely without power and families spend a lot of money on fuel for generators. Monitoring and evaluation are incorporated into this project to track results. The evaluation tools used in these projects can be downloaded from Also available in Spanish from SCI.
  • March 2018: Alan Bigelow, Julie Greene, Caitlyn Hughes, and Justin Tabatchnick reported on global solar cooking gains, including developments with the Performance Evaluation Process (PEP), data sharing, and global solar cooker distribution figures at CONSOLFOOD 2018, (View the presentation)
  • February 2018: Performance Evaluation Process featured in Public Private Alliance Foundation newsletter - Solar Cookers International's Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) was featured in the February 9th, 2018 issue of the Public Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF) newsletter. PPAF states that "the PEP provides public accountability among manufacturers and provides users (individuals, government agencies, etc.) with information they need to select appropriate solar cooking devices. The units are low cost and portable, with open source components. Testing stations have been set up so far in New York, California and Nepal." Read more...
  • December 2017: Solar Cookers International is a FINALIST in the MIT Climate CoLab "Energy Supply" contest - The MIT Climate CoLab is an online crowdsourcing platform of over 90,000 members from around the world, sourcing innovative proposals on how to address climate change. Topic areas range from climate adaptation, reducing emissions from buildings and transport, behavioral change strategies, and many more. After reviewing nearly 300 proposals over 2 evaluation rounds, judges chose SCI as 1 of 5 finalists in the 2017 Energy Supply contest, selected for providing an "exciting new approach to tackling climate change — from reducing emissions to shifting public perception to pricing carbon." From now until January 15, 2018, you can support SCI by casting your "Popular Choice" vote on the MIT Climate CoLab website. The proposal with the most votes will be named as the Popular Choice Winner, and, along with the contests' Judges Choice Winners, will be eligible for a $10,000 Grand Prize. And here is the link to SCI’s proposal:
  • September 2017: Webinar: Solar Cooking Sector Updates Refugee Working Group Call - SCI sponsored the refugee working group phone conversation on 21 September as part of the Sector Updates webinar. Godfrey Mawira submitted a summary of current projects in Kenya from the Eco-mandate Group. Eco-mandate efforts in Kenya - Godfrey Mawira
Alan Bigelow at UN, 8-25-17

Dr. Alan Bigelow addresses the UN

  • September 2017: Dr. Alan Bigelow addresses the UN - Alan reached a large audience on 25 August in New York with his message to learn, support, and partner with the solar cooking sector. We need to take advantage of this zero-emission technology, and scale the solar cooking sector together.
SCI annual report 2017

Julie Greene and Alan Bigalow at UN July 2017

SCI Executive Director Julie Greene consults with SCI UN Representative Alan Bigelow.

  • July 2017: Update from the SCI UN Team - "Too slow,” I thought, "as I listened to sustainable development presentations on the SDGs at the UN #HLPF2017 this week. Presenters talked about indicators, ecosystems, and metrics — all important to track progress on the global sustainable development goals. But for the sake of our health and our planet, we need to act effectively. Fast. When we follow sustainable practices, we thrive. So many people want to improve the way we use our global resources. These are exciting changes; they improve our health, our happiness, and our environment. We have the creativity, knowledge, and drive to make these transitions. Solar cooking is of course my favorite step to include sustainable energy actions into our daily lives. Not only is solar cooking my personal favorite sustainable activity, solar cooking helps achieve all 17 SDGs. Compared to other technology sectors, our solar cooking sector is small. Our compact size means that we are nimble and highly connected to each other. We can dream big, test small, and iterate, iterate, iterate. When we share our results, failures, and successes, we speed up the absorption of solar cooking into our many cultures. The SCI Digest is designed to help you, our solar cooking partners and stakeholders, share your knowledge, connect to partners, and commit to action. Learn more ways you can help accelerate the global solar cooking movement in this and every edition of the SCI Digest. – Julie Greene, Executive Director and SCI Digest Editor
Macedonia Ministries Tanzania 2017
  • July 2017: Solar Cookers International is partnering with local organization Macedonia Ministry to provide 90 women with solar box cookers and training. Macedonia Ministry was recommended by project expert Jack Anderson who has worked with Macedonia Ministry on solar cooking projects previously. The women will meet once a month to discuss solar cooking and track their fuel savings using the recently created Solar Cooking Adoption and Impact Survey. The women also received heat retaining baskets. Rose Shangarai, one of the leaders in Rau village where the project is taking place, learned about solar cooking from Solar Cookers International's Order of Excellence Recipient Darwin Curtis. The first phase involved 30 women and the second phase is planned to involve 60 women. Sperancea Gabone, the Macedonia Ministry leader of this project, will exchange ideas on developing a solar cooker business with another solar cooking partner in Uganda. Sperancea Gabone and Caitlyn Hughes (SCI Program Manager) presented results from this project at the 6th Solar Cookers International World Conference 2017 in India.
  • July 2017: The United Nations is where the world gathers. SCI’s advocacy team will work to include clean solar cooking solutions in the SDG Voluntary National Review (VNR) documents at the High Level Political Forum 10 – 19 July 2017 at United Nations, New York, USA. More than 40 nations are reviewing these documents that show progress toward achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Adopted in 2015, the global community is eager to begin seeing and measuring progress toward these 17 global development goals. Twelve percent of global air pollution is caused by cooking fires. This is the moment to provide the evidence to many nation leaders that solar cooking can help reduce global air pollution. SCI’s advocacy plan includes seizing input opportunities to the VNRs, inputs through Major Groups, social media, media, networking and presenting at Side Events. SCI’s advocacy team for this 11-day event will include SCI Global Advisor Dr. Mrs. Janak Palta McGilligan, SCI Science Director Dr. Alan Bigelow, SCI Executive Director Julie Greene, SCI board members Wyldon Fishman and Mike Paparian, and volunteer UN reps Ernestina Williams, Liliya Pinkasov, Jannis Jakob Buerger, Prabhat Supekar, Choudhury Ahmed, and P. A. Gallett. If you will be in New York 10 – 19 July 2017 and would like to be part of the advocacy team, contact
McGilligan five solar cooker subsidy to landless women, 6-22-17

Women training women to use solar cookers, celebrate World Environment Day. Photo credit: J. McGilligan, 2017.

  • June 2017: Dr. Janak McGilligan, SCI Global Advisor, was joined by chief guest Dr. Vandana Shiva, a plenary speaker at the 6th SCI World Conference 2017, at the World Environment Day celebration. Five parabolic solar cookers were distributed to five landless women who have currently been cooking over open fires. The women contributed 10% of the purchase price for the PRINCE cookers. The remainder was subsidized by Solar Cookers International donors.
PEP 2017

A Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) testing station

  • June 2017: Solar Cookers International (SCI) launches pilot solar cooker testing centers in California and New York - The purpose of this pilot project is to check the repeatability, reliability and reproducibility of results from SCI Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) testing stations for solar cookers, irrespective of location. SCI’s pilot testing centers are located at different latitudes and at different elevations. The two locations also experience different weather conditions. The solar cookers, the cookware and the testing instrumentation, however, are the same at both locations. This pilot project is testing sets of three types of solar cookers: reflective-panel cookers, box ovens and parabolic reflectors. The PEP results provide cooking power measured in Watts, which is only one of many ways to evaluate solar cooker performance. In June, weather conditions at SCI’s pilot testing centers are well suited for testing solar cookers according to the ASABE S580.1 protocol for Testing and Reporting Solar Cooker Performance. This protocol requires that outdoor ambient temperature must be between 20 - 35 °C (68 - 95 °F). This temperature range is generally available at both SCI pilot testing centers between the vernal (spring) equinox and the autumnal (fall) equinox. Testing days within the required temperature range should also be clear days with consistent solar energy. SCI welcomes others to join this pilot solar cooker testing project to validate the reproducibility of the SCI PEP testing stations. By using the same instrumentation, results have a consistent format for data comparison. Potential project partners can access the assembly manual for the SCI PEP testing station, available as open-source content online at SCI’s PEP web page. To join SCI's pilot solar cookers testing project, email
  • May 2017: Contribute your data: Drive solar cooking results - Solar cooking contributes to long-term progress from cleaner, more efficient, sustainable cooking solutions worldwide. It is crucial to convey the positive health, economic, and environmental impacts of solar cooking to government agencies and other stakeholders. To help build this case, SCI is reaching out to all solar cooking partners. SCI invites your input in the form of data on baseline information, number and type of solar cookers, number of years of the project, location, outcomes, etc. With your help, we can work to include solar-thermal cooking in national energy and sustainability plans. You provide:
  • Number of solar cookers
  • Type
  • Location
  • Time period
  • Distributed
  • Sold
  • Manufactured
Submit your solar cooking data by filling out a simple form on the Solar Cookers International website or email
  • May 2017: Haiti: Response to call for data - SCI thanks all who have replied to the call for data needed for advocacy for solar cooking in Haiti. Nine responses were received from the USA, Nepal, Canada and Chile. Combined with SCI’s research thus far, the total number of solar cookers deployed in Haiti is 9,283. SCI will submit its feedback to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves by 15 May 2017. At stake is whether solar cooking will be part of the Action Plan for the Transformation of the Cookstoves and Fuels Market in Haiti. If you and/or your organization has been involved with solar cooking projects in Haiti, SCI would like to hear from you. SCI welcomes your data on baseline information, number and type of solar cookers, number of years of the project, location, outcomes, etc. Please submit your Haiti data to SCI by 10 May 2017 at
  • April 2017: United Nations update - Cooking is now one of four main topics in the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Global Tracking Framework (GTF) — a shift to high-level visibility for cooking. GTF launched last week at a three-day SEforALL meeting in Brooklyn, New York, USA and was attended by SCI’s science director, Dr. Alan Bigelow. Online version of GTF is available at
  • April 2017: SCI closes its online store - When SCI opened its doors in 1987, there were few places one could buy a solar cooker. In 2017, with growing demand for solar cookers and growth in solar cooker manufacturing worldwide, there are more ways for people to buy solar cookers than ever before. Therefore, SCI will close its online store in the autumn of 2017 to focus on crucial programs that will promote the global solar cooking industry. SCI will continue to build support and work with manufacturers and vendors as partners together to achieve SCI’s mission: to solve inadequate household energy facing nearly three billion people on our planet.
  • April 2017: Solar Cooking Social Campaign - Help celebrate SCI's 30th anniversary and show the world how you solar cook. Send a short video that is less than 30 seconds long, and say your name, what country you live in, and how you solar cook. Email your video files to The videos will be combined into one to demonstrate the global impact of solar cooking. See an example video by SCI Vice President Monica Woods.
  • March 2017: SCI is nominating a team of solar cooking experts for the UNHCR Energy Expert Roster to provide solar cooking consultancy to refugee camps.
  • January 2017: Several important commitments grew from the 6th SCI World Conference 2017 for solar cooking in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons. After Solar Cookers International (SCI) led discussions with experts and those implementing solar cooker projects in Bhutan, Nepal, Chad, Uganda, and many other locations, several plans and commitments occurred: 1) SCI formed a refugee working group to strategize for more solar cooker project implementation in camps and informal settlements; 2) A new partnership formed, leveraging the skills of a crowdfunder with on-the-ground experience in refugee settlements in Uganda; 3) A strategy to educate humanitarian aid donors who choose solar cooking for camps; 4) A data-driven target for solar cooker interventions to decrease wood fuel use by 10% (data indicate that solar cookers can save 40-50% of the wood fuel supplied to camp residents).
  • January 2017: Solar Cookers International (SCI) connected five organizations with solar cooker restaurant experience at its 6th SCI World Conference 2017. Said Rocio Maldonado: "Pierre's experience with a solar cooker restaurant in France will be very useful to us in Bolivia." Representatives from several countries expect to create guidelines for starting solar cooking restaurants, which they will share with international partners.
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  2. Global Solar Council newsletter - June 2019
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