Solar Cooking
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Last edited: 27 December 2021      
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In 2016, USA NGO Solar Cookers International and the International Solar Energy Society began the process of creating a solar cooker testing program called the Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) under the direction of Dr. Alan Bigelow. The project involves establishing a uniform method of testing, and then providing information for interested parties to build their own testing station.

Events[]

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  • NEW: 21-24 June 2022: ASES Solar 2022 (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Energy Transition with Economic Justice - The 51st Annual National Solar Conference at the University of New Mexico and online. The theme of this year’s conference is “Energy Transition with Economic Justice,” focussing on an equitable renewable energy transformation. Schedule and registration information...
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  • NEW: 20-21 May 2022: Solar Zentrum 2022: Cooking and Drying with the Sun - Aquaponics - Coordinated from the Solar Zentrum in Wietow, Germany with assistance from Michael Bonke. The Zoom conference Program Schedule, with the first day in English, the second day in German. This is a free event. Zoom link information to come.
See also: Global Calendar of Events and past events in USA

News[]

Public library in Hubbard, Ohio receives grant for solar cooker lending. Photo credit: Solar Education Project

  • January 2021: Grant for solar cooking lending at library - The Hubbard Public Library in Ohio has received a grant from Constellation Energy Resources, LLC to implement a solar cooker lending program. Specifically, the funding was used to purchase an All American Sun Oven and selected accessories. “Constellation’s Community Champions program is designed to support causes that are important to the community, especially those causes for which the project, organization, or initiative focuses on education, environment, or youth,”

Luther Krueger on his podcast tour 2020

  • October 2020: Luther Krueger is establishing himself as one of the foremost solar cooking enthusiasts in North America. He has created a solar cooker museum, with many of the cookers preparing meals in his Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA backyard. The goal is to have one of every solar cooker ever produced. He also recently completed a tour of the western United States to visit with a number of other enthusiasts and solar cooking professionals to record dialogue for his solar cooking podcast. On his trip Luther acquired a Villager Sun Oven, which he towed back home to Minnesota. Solar Today published a profile of Luther in their Fall 2020 publication Cookin'in the Sun.
See older news...

History[]

Some of the many solar cooking non-governmental organizations based in the US are Solar Cookers International (SCI), Rotary International, the Solar Oven Society, and Solar Household Energy, Inc.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

No precise numbers are available, but estimates suggest that perhaps as many as 10,000 Americans use solar cookers regularly. The electrical utility of the Sacramento, CA area, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), has been a strong supporter of solar energy usage. SMUD serves an area of more than a million people. Under earlier leadership, it pioneered the development of cleaner electricity generation, including building the first solar-powered generating station in the United States. It has offered rebates for replacing old appliances with energy-efficient equipment, and it cooperated in planting trees to lower the cost of air conditioning to consumers, as examples. For purposes of this report, it is important to note the strong support of SMUD for solar cooking education, including outreach to schools and community organizations. They have placed solar cookers with Scout troops, offered workshops in 65 schools of the area, and made available plans to build cookers to customers throughout their service area. In 1991, SMUD even produced a solar cooking cookbook. Reducing the use of electricity is in everyone's interest; this interesting example of a public utility's contribution to solar cooking as one contribution to solving the problem was noteworthy.

George Loff

The "Umbroiler" parabolic solar cooker designed by George Lof, in use with his daughter, Linnea, in 1955.

The late George Lof, a former director of the Industrial Research Institute at the University of Denver, Colorado, was an early pioneer of solar-powered technology, including solar cooking. In the fifties, he experimented with a parabolic solar cooker design that he dubbed the "Umbroiler" because of its umbrella-like structure. He marketed the design, but it was a commercial failure for the times.

Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center

Considerable activity can also be found in the state of Arizona, probably the sunniest of the U.S. fifty states. The most important solar cooking fact about Arizona is that the late Barbara Kerr, the foremost expert on solar cooking in the U.S., lived in a small community in this state. She created and lived in the Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center, which demonstrates a wide range of ways to live lightly, rather than destructively, on the earth. Barbara is the author of several books (The full text of one is here) and articles on solar cooking, the creator and marketer (with her colleague, Sherry Cole) of a cardboard box cooker, the refiner of the CooKit as the first inexpensive but efficient solar cooker, and a never-ending source of information to those who seek her knowledge on the internet. A visit to Taylor, Arizona, is a trip to an important piece of solar cooking history.

Individuals

Solar devices are also manufactured in this area. Early pioneers, the late Bob Larson and his wife Heather Larson, produced cookbooks and plans for solar dryers until their untimely deaths. Jay Campbell, a New Mexican engineer, has invented a range of cooking devices that won prizes for ingenuity and efficiency, though he is not a manufacturer but rather an idea person. One firm, Zone Works, makes and sells parabolics out of Albuquerque, NM.

Solar Oven Society

Unlikely as it may sound, the state of Minnesota has also made contributions to the development of solar cooking. Mike and Martha Port, founders of the Solar Oven Society, have worked in a variety of Central American and Caribbean nations on various projects. Recently, they completed research and development of a new cooker, manufactured from recycled soda bottles; the device will help to fill the gap between the very inexpensive (but not so long lasting) CooKit and the more expensive box or parabolic cookers. With the assistance of a small business development grant from the State of Minnesota, charitable contributions from a range of churches and organizations, and the dedicated volunteer labor of the Ports over many years, they have recently been able to begin the sale and marketing, both in the U.S. and abroad, of the Sport. A collectivity of Minnesota churches made possible the shipment of 400 unassembled cookers to Afghanistan for sale at a subsidized price to people whose need for cooking energy is great.

Nevada Solar Cookers Association

The Nevada Solar Cookers Association was formed to share recipes, ideas, and stories and to spread the news about solar cooking in their area. Solar Cooker Review, March 2003.

Solar Cookers International

The Sacramento, California NGO Solar Cookers International, the sponsor of this Wiki, has worked since 1989 to promote solar cooking around the world.

Archived articles

Climate and culture[]

Resources[]

Possible funders[]

See Raising funds through grants and donations.

Facebook groups[]

Solar cooking blogs[]

Solar cooking clubs[]

Project evaluations[]

Main article: Project evaluations

Reports[]

Articles in the media[]

Audio and video[]

  • November 2021:
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Jamie O'Shea & Bjorn Quenemoen- Solar Popped-Bjorn Qorn (will Roasted Qoffee be next?)-2

Video credit: Luther Krueger

  • January 2011:
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Fun in the sun Solar cooking (04 24 09)

Ben Brown of Charlotte, Michigan, USA, demonstrates solar cooking at the Charlotte Community Library, 2009.

  • July 2010:
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Navajo Students Native Sun Fresnel Solar Cooker.mov

Science teacher Paul McCarl inspired his students at Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, Utah to build and enter a Fresnel solar cooker in the Spirit of Innovation Award contest. The students' Native Sun Solar cooker which can make traditional fry bread was a finalist in the competition.

  • July 2009:
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Solar Potluck

Solar Cookout sponsored by Sustainable NE Seattle, Washington, USA, 2010.

Contacts[]

The entities listed below are either based in USA, or have established solar cooking projects there:

SCI Associates[]

NGOs[]

Manufacturers and vendors[]

Individuals[]

Government agencies[]

Educational institutions[]

See also[]

References[]