Solar Cooking
Last edited: 11 May 2022      
Solar Household Energy logo, 3-15-12.jpg

A Darfur refugee adjusts stones that secure a HotPot solar cooker against the wind in the Gaga Refugee Camp in Chad

Solar Household Energy (SHE) is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization established in 1998, working to unleash the power of solar cooking to improve social, economic and environmental conditions in sun-rich areas around the world. This is accomplished through public education, supporting research, and partnering with local organizations to deliver solar cooking where it is most needed.

SHE seeks to introduce solar cooking where it can improve quality of life and relieve stress on the environment. Working with private entities, governments, and NGOs, SHE designs and oversees training and distribution projects in Mexico, Central America and Africa to introduce integrated cooking solutions, which include solar cooking, a fuel-efficient stove and a Heat-retention cooker.

Through field experience and research, SHE perceived the need for a mass-produced solar oven that was durable, efficient, easy-to-use, portable and commercially viable. After years of research the Solar Household Energy completed the HotPot design in 2004. The engineering was accomplished by the Florida Solar Energy Center, and the reflector was designed by Energy Laboratories, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida. Currently, the HotPot is manufactured in Mexico. For information on purchase of HotPots, contact: Solar Household Energy is also constantly working to improve both the HotPot and other solar ovens and developing strategies to to make them available to those in developing countries who can benefit from them most at a price they can afford.

SHE was a winner of the World Bank's Development Marketplace and also received a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency's Partnership for Clean Indoor Air to introduce the HotPot and train users across Mexico in collaboration with Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (FMCN). SHE and FMCN have been working together for a decade. SHE has also introduced solar cooking projects in El Salvador, Guatemala, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Morocco, Ghana, Cameroon and most recently in Chad.

In 2011, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees approached Solar Household Energy to implement a pilot project in the Gaga Refugee Camp in Chad which houses refugees from Sudan. With the assistance of Patrick Fourrier of Bolivia Inti-Sud Soleil of France, SHE delivered HotPot Solar Ovens to 50 households in the camp and trained the users in solar cooking. Initial results showed the recipients using their solar ovens everyday, with great satisfaction, as it saved them from having to leave the camp to collect firewood or from having to purchase it in the local camp market. UNHCR will be be deciding whether to scale up this program to include more households in this camp and in other refugee camps.

Solar Household Energy is also collaborating with the non-profit, Grupo Jaragua, in the Dominican Republic to train in solar cooking and distribute Global Sun Ovens manufactured locally by El Fuego del Sol. Grupo solar cooks in their community centers daily, using the opportunity to educate others about solar cooking. SHE is currently collaborating with The Nature Conservancy on a project to introduce integrated cooking in Haiti, just across the border from the Dominican Republic. The Nature Conservancy wanted to add solar cooking to their ongoing reforestation program in the region to offer more forest and environment-friendly cooking options for the local communities. SHE is providing Sun Ovens from El Fuego del Sol, along with fuel-efficient stoves, to households and providing them with training in solar cooking.

Our programs benefit families in impoverished and environmentally threatened regions of the world by providing the HotPot solar cooker, and training to assure its integration into routine cooking practices.

  • In El Salvador, women are using the HotPot almost daily. One enterprising woman cooks snacks using the HotPot to sell at local soccer games.
  • In Senegal, women are buying one-fourth less fuel wood and half the amount of gas for cooking, thanks to the HotPot.
  • In Mali, an entrepreneur has organized large conferences, training sessions, and attracted national television media attention to market the HotPot.

Most significant solar cooking projects[]

Workshop participants receive their HotPot solar cooker in Mexico.

  • The HotPot solar cooker introduction in Mexico - Solar Household Energy (SHE), spent several years developing a solar panel cooker called the HotPot, a variation on Solar Cookers International's cooker, the CooKit. In 2003 SHE received a grant from the World Bank’s Development Marketplace to mount a HotPot promotion project in Mexico working with the Mexican nature conservancy, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza (FMCN). By July 2004, 2,000 HotPots had been manufactured and trucked to eight local conservation NGOs that had agreed to participate in the HotPot distribution initiative. Solar Household Energy may be the global leader in promoting solar cooking. See The history of the HotPot project.



Rural customers from Oaxaca, Mexico, have adopted the Haines Solar Cooker. Photo credit: Lorena Harp

  • December 2020: Solar Household Energy has adopted the 100 Families Project that provides groceries, cooking devices, and other support for 100 families locked down in the Kariobangi slum in Nairobi Kenya.
  • January 2020: Scaling up Lorena Harp's Haines Solar Cooker Enterprise in Mexico - Solar Household Energy is currently supporting Mexican solar cooking expert Lorena Harp in her dream to bring solar cooking to the rural women of Oaxaca State through a sustainable social enterprise. Prior to launch of the initiative, Lorena conducted local market research and optimized the HSC for local consumer preferences. She then trained three rural women to become “solar cooking ambassadors” to sell HSCs for 500 pesos (about $25 USD) on a commission basis (earning 200 pesos, about $10 USD) to members of their communities and provide follow-up support to maximize adoption of this alternative cooking model. More information... 

Acceptance of the Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker evaluated at Ugandan refugee camps. Photo credit: Roger Haines

  • July 2018: Haines Cooker evaluation - Solar Household Energy has joined with a number of organizations to evaluate acceptance of the Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker in refugee camps in Northern Uganda. Partners include the Rotary Clubs of San Diego, California, USA and Gulu, Uganda, the Alliance for African Assistance, African Refugee Education Project, Solar Connect Association, and the U-Touch Technology Center. Last April, eight Rotarians, including SHE board member Roger Haines, traveled to northern Uganda to demonstrate the cooker. The Alliance for African Assistance will produce the cookers in Gulu, and hopes to scale up to make more cookers available in northern Uganda.
  • July 2018: SHE leads consortium to launch solar and biogas social enterprise in Haiti - SHE was invited by the Public Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF) to lead (and be a member of) a consortium of ten organizations joining forces to spread solar and biogas cooking in Haiti. Together, they developed a proposal for a project to launch a social enterprise to locally manufacture and sell proven solar cookers and biogas digesters and stoves, to be headquartered and managed by the University of Notre Dame of Haiti in Hinche (UNDH-H), with UNDH-H's Bioscience program students providing field work and research to achieve inclusive, human-centered design of these renewable energy cooking solutions and the social enterprise's operations.


  • September 2017: Solar Household Energy has partnered with Lorena Harp to provide solar cookers to earthquake victims in Mexico, as well as launch a new solar cooker social enterprise in the country. The partnership will work to "carry out market research, optimize the Haines Solar Cooker and its pot for adoption by rural women, train solar cooking ambassadors, and establish [Lorena Harp's] business, with the end goal of becoming financially sustainable." More information...
  • August 2016: Solar cooking volunteer needed -  Solar Household Energy is seeking a volunteer to represent SHE and demonstrate solar cooking at farmer's markets and other community events in the Washington D.C. area. The time commitment will be Saturdays from 8:30am - 1:30pm. More information...
  • August 2015: Louise Meyer featured in National Geographic - Louise Meyer, co-founder of Solar Household Energy, gives interview to National Geographic as part of the magazine's The PLATE: Serving daily discussions of food series. Louise discusses how she first became interested in solar cooking and why she feels solar cooking is important, especially in the developing world. Read more...
  • January 2015: Assessing lasting impacts of HotPot projects - Solar Household Energy is revitalizing relationships with previous partner the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza , or FMCN) to assess long-term project outcomes. FMCN has distributed over 25,000 HotPots in Mexico. Quantifying the lasting impacts of these projects will prove HotPot long-term adoption and durability, demonstrating that the HotPot is a viable clean cooking solution. Read more: Assessing lasting impacts of HotPot projects in Mexico - SHE
  • January 2015: More HotPot solar cookers for the Gaga refugee camp in Chad - The Lutheran World Foundation, now in charge of environmental activities in Gaga refugee camp, wishes to partner with Solar Household Energy to expand the HotPot project with 2,500 more HotPots--enough to cover 80% of households. Based on the success of the earlier HotPot project in Gaga refugee camp, SHE is also exploring options to introduce solar cookers in Burkina Faso refugee camps.

A woman adjusts the solar panel cooker she received through Solar Household Energy.

  • June 2013: World Refugee Day focuses on the needs of displaced populations - World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. Even though the day has passed, June 20th, awareness and action are continuing. Universal Giving has organized a group of relief projects to help raise donations. 100% of the donation reaches the intended foundation and project. This year Solar Household Energy is featured among the projects for their work promoting solar cooking worldwide. SHE is a global leader in this effort. Consider helping them. Donation information...
  • February 2013: Changes are coming to Tilori, Haiti as well. Twenty-five families are learning to cook Haitian meals like soup, beans, potatoes, yucca, plantains and rice with energy-efficient stoves and solar ovens — little or no wood or charcoal is needed. Solar Household Energy (SHE), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that introduces solar and alternative cooking to communities, recently distributed the stoves that were purchased with Nature Conservancy funding. Louise Meyer, trainer from SHE, will continue to provide on-going technical assistance and encourage the women to support each other as they learn this new way of cooking. Read more at Solar Cookers: Making Life Easier for Women

Louise Meyer, of Solar Household Energy, demonstrates solar cooking to the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjaminto.

  • November 2012: Solar Household Energy has again had a busy summer and fall. Louise Meyer provided solar cooking demonstrations, including to the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjaminto, and assisted the Nature Conservancy in Haiti to teach the Integrated Cooking Method as part of its larger reforestation program in the region. It is exciting and encouraging to see organizations such as SHE taking the promotion of solar cooking the next step, to increased global awareness. Read more about their efforts...
  • October 2012: The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has embraced a strong resolution sponsored by Solar Household Energy calling for increased support for solar cooking efforts worldwide. The measure was adopted in September at IUCN’s quadrennial World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. The organization recognized the health hazards of cooking over biomass fires, and the availability of current solar cooking technologies. Efforts continue to develop solar cookers that offer increased efficiency, are cost-effective to produce and distribute, and are sturdy enough to withstand extended use. Read more...
  • April 2012: Solar Household Energy has announced that it is seeking unpaid interns to assist with communications and program activities at their Washington D.C. office for Summer and Fall 2012. Both upper- level undergraduates and graduate students are eligible for this internship. Specific tasks will be assigned according to skill level and individual expertise. More Information...
  • March 2012: The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development. It will take place from September 6-15, 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and social organizations will discuss, debate and decide solutions for the world’s most pressing environment and development issues. The upcoming Congress has been approached by Solar Household Energy to present the case for solar cooking. Read more of their proposal.
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Articles in the media[]

Audio and video[]

  • NEW: May 2022:

Help Support Solar Cooking in the Gaga Refugee Camp-2

  • February 2022:

Paul Arveson - Solar, the Original Wireless Charging Station-2

  • May 2021


Solar Household Energy profiles the Oaxaca 'Women of the Sun' introduction to solar cooking, and how it has affected their lives

  • November 2019:

Solar Cookers Produce More Than Food for Mexican Women

  • September 2011:

Why Solar Cooking - Solar Household Energy

Louise Meyer makes the case for solar cooking.

  • September 2007:

Solar Oven Revolution! -

Louise Meyer narrates this video about the work of SHE in Mexico

See also[]

Buying a HotPot[]

External links[]
Facebook: @SolarHousholdEnergy
Twitter: @SolarHousehold
YouTube: SolarHouseholdEnergy


Solar Household Energy, Inc.
3327 18th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20010

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Facebook: @SolarHousholdEnergy
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