Error: Image is invalid or non-existent.
Last edited: 5 November 2020
Solar box cookers and solar panel cookers normally do not need to be turned to follow the sun unless you are cooking beans or an especially large amount of food, or if you are cooking on a day where sunlight is not optimal. They may need to be turned once over a three- or four-hour cooking period. However, parabolic solar cookers require reorientation with the sun much more often. If tracking the sun is necessary, some of the ideas below will serve this purpose.
When designing tracking systems, it can useful to determine the annual movement of the sun for various locations. Besides annual range, this useful tool also gives real-time sun information for a specific location. Suncalc.org
The 2016 Edition of the Solar Electricity Handbook also offers a convenient visual tool to calculate the sun's position in virtually all cities around the globe. It can be found at: Solar Angle Calculator
- November 2020: Stan Wells demonstrates the latest version of the Sun Rover
- May 2018: Dr. Paul Sallis Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering reports: Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) devices such as solar cookers benefit greatly from accurate solar tracking, but this feature is usually too costly to apply commercially. This is because active solar trackers often employ optical sensors, microprocessors, and electromechanical devices to enable accurate alignment of the collector with the sun throughout the day. Simpler systems are possible whereby thermally responsive materials such as shape memory alloys (SMA) provide the mechanical force to drive the tracking movement, however, these materials are still costly and are not sustainable in many countries. Research at Newcastle University has shown that responsive materials such as hygromorphic composites (HC) can generate significant useful mechanical force that can be utilised in a passive actuator to achieve mechanical tracking of simple solar cookers or other CSP. These HC materials give predictable and consistent time-dependent responses which means they act as mechanical clocks and need no feedback control from sensors to achieve accurate solar tracking, the required rotation of 15 degrees per hour simply being achieved by an adjustable mechanical linkage to the rotation axis of the solar collector (e.g. solar cooker). There is considerable scope for this research to be developed further, with a partner from the solar cooking industry, into a low-cost high-performance solar cooker for conventional applications. However, it would also open up new opportunities to use such a device for household-level disinfection of drinking water (boiling). This is particularly relevant in low and middle-income countries where simple sustainable technologies are needed to deal with waterborne pathogens in untreated drinking water.
- September 2017: Another approach to stay oriented to the sun - Researchers working at the Instituto de Energías Renovables in Mexico have developed a version of a solar box cooker offering an increased solar tracking positioning capability. This feature decreases the number of times the cooker needs to be reoriented to maintain maximum exposure to the sun. More information... - (English version)
- Main article: Scheffler Community Kitchen
Still in its infancy, programmable tracking systems are being developed with software to not only rotate the reflector to maintain maximum exposure to the sun, but also to control cooking time and desired temperatures. One example of an auto tracking and monitoring system is the SolarCue system. Another is the Raspberry Pi: Solrmatic, but there are a range of such programmable sun trackers.
The resulting electrical imbalance causes the dominant panel to engage the motor. The turntable will rotate until both photovoltaic panels face the sun equally and the motor disengages. The simple system can be fairly lightweight for rotating a box or panel cooker. However, a larger parabolic solar cooker, which will benefit the most from a good tracking system, will require a stronger motor and larger panels to rotate the cooker.
More information about the system can be found at DIY solar tracking system
- Main article: HotPot
- Main article: Solrmatic
The Solrmatic features thermostats, time delay, timed cooking, and web monitoring, allowing you to cook almost everything you normally cook in a traditional oven. The Solrmatic has cooked leg of lamb, brisket, veggies, bread, cookies, bacon, and even dehydrated apples.
- January 2017: The solar cooker that seeks its own place in the sun - The Guardian
- November 2015: Advances in getting solar onto the grid, and into the home - eNCA
- October 2020: Plans for the Sun Oven Tracker and Amazon.com parts list for same and Optional Tracker Additions - Stan Wells
- January 2020: SunStore Cooker – A Battery Type Solar Cooker Charged by an Automated Sun Tracking System (Slides) - Akiko Ishibashi, Jonn Reim, Jakob Jensen
- November 2020
- Stan Wells give a demonstration of his latest version of the Sun Rover tracking system.
- October 2020
- Stan Wells demonstrates his tracking system incorporating a thermostat for temperature control.
- August 2020:
- July 2015:
- December 2014:
- May 2013:
- February 2013:
- March 2011:
- December 2010:
- December 2010:
- October 2010:
- March 2010:
- May 2008:
- April 2008:
- December 2007:
- See Ideas for low-tech solar tracking.Ideas for low-tech solar tracking