Last edited: 9 October 2019
Vietnam Solar Serve is an organization of volunteers that promotes solar cooking in Vietnam. They support charitable projects and also runs a social green enterprise. The aim of both is to benefit all people, poor and rich, with alternative energy and helping them to use it properly. It will also provide jobs for local and disadvantaged people in building the devices at their Solar Serve center.
Vietnam Solar Serve started in 2000 and has so far provided more than 1750 box and parabolic cookers (updated 2012).
Many people in Vietnam still depend on coal, straw, leaves or wood for cooking. Open fires contribute to air pollution and cause lung and eye diseases owing to people spending time in hot and smoky kitchens. This traditional cooking method also compels women and children to walk for hours each day to find wood for daily cooking.
Vietnam receives 1400-2000 hours of sunshine per year in the north and 2000-3000 hours per year in the central and southern part, but not many people take advantage of solar energy for daily cooking. Only one basic solar cooker is needed to save lives, money, time and even the environment
Since 2000, simple solar cookers for cooking food have been introduced by Solar Serve in Vietnam. 1500 families (updated 2008) have been provided and almost 79% are using these solar cookers frequently. People have been able to save money, time and even improve their health.
Over the years, local people have progressively adopted solar cooking as an alternative cooking method. Therefore Solar Serve hopes to benefit more people in cooking with free solar energy in the coming years.
- October 2019: Solar Serve News #60 Around 25 American students from different universities came to visit us. They were all studying environmental subjects and wanted to know what we were doing. It was a nice group of young people. We showed them our parabolic cooker on arrival. It was already late in the afternoon but there was still enough sun to boil water. After showing a short video, we answered several questions and told them that protecting the environment was not just the responsibility of the government, but it must work through all spheres of social life. Later they visited our factory and were very interested in what we did. Although it was sometimes very simple, it turned out to be something very new for the students.
- July 2019: Solar Serve News #59 Thousands of cooking stoves were piled up in our center. What a relief when we received the news that the people in the north got permission to hand out the stoves in rural areas. Immediately we were able to ship several containers full with cooking stoves to Haiphong. We were also happy that the main sponsor from Korea did not hold back after this delay and helped us financially so we were able to pay our workers, buy the right material and purchase new equipment. It worked out very well. What a blessing!
- April 2019: Solar Serve News #58 If you have visited our Solar Serve center recently, maybe ‘full house’ came to your mind. It is not that we are fully occupied with staff or workers, but our place is filled with thousands of cooking stoves. We are recently not able to send new containers full of cooking stoves to the north. The agency that is responsible to distribute them to the poor has been stopped by the authorities. The reason is unclear but we are hopeful that it will be resolved soon. We are still making new stoves, although our placed is now packed (full house) waiting to be sent to the north. Please stand with us that bureaucracy will not hinder us from helping the poor in the north.
- Januari 2019: Solar Serve News #57 First of all, greetings from Danang. We wish you a wonderful year where im- possible things will be possible. We as Solar Serve have seen a breakthrough in the last few months, and we’d love to see that happen with you too. We encourage you to use your ability to create new things and don’t give up if it is not working yet. Many years ago we started with making our solar box cookers and later on the parabolic cookers. It has been a process of learning and taking right decisions, but also being able to give up when something was not working well. It brought us to where we are now. Let us give you the latest update and see for yourself the change we went through.
- October 2018: Solar Serve News #56 Our staff needs to be in good shape. Physical exercises will help them to keep going. Now they are playing football after work in front of our center and some of them are going to a gym. We and other neighbors have been asking for years if a large piece of waste land opposite our center could be used for physical entertainment. Finally to everyone’s surprise many wild trees were cut off last month and trucks loaded with sand showed up and it was announced that in three months’ time there will be a park for everyone. This will affect our neighborhood and also the physical conditions of our staff. They need that for the coming months if you read more about our next challenges.
- Sept 2018: We just posted a new youtube video in how to benefit your community. It shows you how we do it in Danang since 1997: 1. Charity: We are helping people during natural disasters and other needs. 2. Social Enterprise: We manufacture different types of green products made by local workers and disadvantaged people. 3. Training: We train local people to start their own family business in order to come out of poverty. Now they can support their families, churches and communities with their own profits.
- July 2018: Solar Serve News #55 There has been a demand for more clean stoves in Vietnam and across the borders. In our last letter we told you that we were not able to make the covers of our stoves anymore. After being mistreated by a dishonest company we asked a retired engineer to design a machine for us so we could make the covers by ourselves. Together with his son, he came up with two heavy machines for cutting and pressing. They have been installed already and after some changes, we have cut and pressed thousands of covers ourselves already. Now we are no longer dependent on others in producing a good clean stove.
- April 2018: Solar Serve News #54 We received a donation from Swiss Create, the business development branch of a Swiss Consulting Group. The purpose was to make 600 clean stoves and 50 solar lamps for the victims of typhoon Damrey and also for the victims of a severe flood. We already had 1000 stoves in our store, so we were able to help the first typhoon victims immediately in the province of Quang Ngai. It was just the beginning of helping many others in the provinces of Quang Nam, Binh Dinh and Lam Dong, and even in the Mekong Delta. For us it was so great when Swiss Create got involved, so that we were able to help immediately. May this be an inspiration for you when hands and feet are coming together. Please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
- October 2017: Solar Serve News #53 We have built a small cottage in our research & display center. A windmill was placed in front and our waterwheel beside for supplying electricity. We filled the cottage with a few clean cookers, a solar lamp and a parabolic and box cooker in front. It became a great spot to show our work and to take pictures with our visitors.
- Aug 2017: Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves In the coming year we as Solar Serve are planning to make around 9000 clean cookers and distribute them among the minorities and people in poor areas in Vietnam. The stoves are loved especially by the minorities but they do not see the need or have not the ability to buy them. They often do not want to change their (cooking) habits, even if it is damaging their health by indoor smoke. They still have a long way to go. So we are going to help them anyway http://www.vietnamsolarserve.org.
- July 2017: Solar Serve News #52In the third week of May our new building was finished. We had electricity, the toilets worked well and our workers did the final touch by making a fence in front of the building. We repaired all our products we had made the last 20 years and displayed them all over the building. A bamboo cottage will be built where visitors can see how everything is used. We hope to attract visitors who are interested what we are doing. We will also use the building for research and designing new products. So if you have time, come to visit us! It is easy to find when you travel from the airport to the Marble mountains or Hoi An.
- April 2017: Solar Serve News #51 During a social enterprise conference in Singapore one man from Myanmar became interested in our work and asked if he could send some workers to Danang so we could teach them how to make our products. Although one of his workers could not come, the man himself arrived with his family and two workers in April and we were able to teach them for one week. They are great people and eager to learn. First there was a day of teaching the principles of all instruments and after that the practical aspects and making the instruments (parabol & clean cooker) with our workers. It worked out very well!
- January 2017: Solar Serve News #50 We made a suggestion to friends in Vietnam that our solar lamp "Light of the World” was available as a Christmas gift to bless families, friends or staff of their organization. We have done this with our own staff and they were very happy with it. The good thing about our lamp is that it is a solid product that can be used for years in comparison to the cheaper ones on the market. The lamps are still available for other occasions to bless people in areas where electricity can be a problem. Even mobile phones (etc.) can be recharged with it.
- November 2016:Solar Serve News #49 10.11.2016 - Caritas Chính Toà và Solar Serve ở Đà Nẵng cứu trợ nạn nhân lũ lụt tại Quảng Bình - Hàng trăm chăn ấm, bếp sạch di động nhỏ, nước sạch và hỗ trợ tài chính. On 10.11.2016 Caritas Chinh Toa and Solar Serve in Danang helped flood victims in Quang Binh with hundreds of blankets, clean cooking stoves, clean water and financial support
- September 2016:How to use our new solar lamp This is our latest solar product.] This time a handy solar light for fishermen, farmers, local people and minorities in the mountains, when they run out of electricity. Watch this clip and you will understand why we get excited in helping those people with our new solar lamp. They are made in our Solar Serve Center in Danang - Vietnam.
- August 2016:New YouTube video clips Please check up our latest YouTube video clips in English and Vietnamese.
- July 2016: Solar Serve News #48 “Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.” Although the origin of this proverb is not clear, it helps us to explain what we are doing as Solar Serve. It is more than only making solar ovens or clean cookers, or any human effort to help others. For us it is important that people learn to fish well, so that they can stand strong in life. What a joy if we are able to help people to learn fishing. Here are some stories:
- April 2016: Solar Serve News #47 A man from France came to visit us in Danang. He runs a restaurant in Vung Tau, a popular seaside resort in the south of Vietnam. He knew all about solar cookers and other environmentally friendly devices. He was very excited and wanted to buy several devices for his restaurant (three box cookers, two parabols and three clean cookstoves). He also ordered two solar lamps. For us it was interesting that after several years someone requested our boxcookers again. Because of the sunny weather in the south they could be an attraction for tourists eating in his restaurant.
- April 2016: A Portable Clean Cookstove Our latest video.*
- January 2016: Solar Serve News #46 The year 2016 is already several days old. Our wish for you is that everything will turn out for good. Don’t give up! Although the world is shaking, we have decided not to hold back. There are still many things to do. We learn from the ants that they refuse to take it easy. They are working hard and storing up against the coming time. We also do not want to just look a few feet in front of us by not preparing for the future. So, here are some goals for the coming year!
- October 2015: Solar Serve News #45 There are 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. Most of the minorities live in the mountains and are hard to reach. We needed open areas for our solar cooker projects, but this was not always possible in places with lots of trees. But since we helped them also with our clean cookers, things changed. We already have been working with seven different minorities (see picture).
- July 2015: Solar Serve News #44 For 15 years we have been doing charity work and since 2006 we are also running a social enterprise. It was not always easy to work with products depending on the environment. It was sometimes very hard to change the mindset of people. We learned a lot. The turn came when we included the clean cookstoves in our work. It became a good alternative in combination with the parabolic cookers. It improved people’s health, finances but also the environment. This is one of the reasons why we kept on going after 15 years. And thanks to you, that we have never felt alone.
- June 2015: An amazing small clean cookstove This new clean cookstove is a great cooking alternative when there is no sunshine. Just watch the introduction on Youtube.
- April 2015: Solar Serve News #43 Here we are again. In Solar Serve we all have our responsibility and it is good that we can use our talents. Creativity is needed when we meet new challenges. The last few months we have been working together with several other agencies, organizations and social enterprises. It was good to work together. We also received some training and now we are able to pass it on to others. Here are some of the latest stories.
Design and manufacturingEdit
- Box cookers: In partnership with Dutch organization Solar Cooker Workgroup Sliedrecht NL, we have developed a new lightweight solar box cooker for use in Vietnam. The previous SLS solar box cooker was made from wood, which was increasing difficult to purchase in Vietnam. The new cooker is made from aluminum sheets that are shaped using two molds, one for the inner box and one for the outer box. It weights only 12 kg.See also: Solar Serve box cooker-
|Two molds are used for the inner and outer box of the new solar box cooker|
- Parabolic cookers: Besides making our present parabolic cooker, we have been asked to design a parabolic cooker easy for transport. We used the same mold of our present parabolic cooker (1.30m) and divided it in four parts. It took some time, but we came up with the cooker you see in the pictures below. We also made the stand foldable. The new four-part parabolic cooker is working well and weights only 23 kg. It fits in 100 x 80 x 20 cm carton boxes, which is good for transport. The deaf workers were very excited when we got some orders from Canada and Holland. See also: Solar Serve parabolic cooker-
|Parabolic disc in four parts. A foldable stand. Weight: 23 kg. Fits in a 100 x 80 20 cm carton box|
- Box cookers and parabolic cookers are available upon request.
- History- Brief Solar Serve history in pictures
- Photo gallery- Solar Serve photo gallery
Audio and videoEdit
- September 2018:
Solar Serve publicationsEdit
- Solar Serve News- Solar Serve Newsletters
- English - Vietnamese - Dutch - Solar Serve fliers for printing
- Vietnam Solar Serve Website: Vietnamese and English version
- Bich's story: Unlikely partners develop solar cooker for the poor
- March 2008: Reducing black carbon - Solar Serve and Solar Cookers Internatinal - Global warning video clip
- June 2007: 1,200 solar energy cookers for remote areas - Peoples Army Daily
- July 2006: An audio interview with Solar Serve director Nguyen Tan Bich discussing the work of his group
- November 2005: Unlikely partners develop solar cooker for the poor - VietNamNet Bridge
- May 2005: More locals in central Vietnam exposed to solar cookers - Thanh Nien Daily
- November 2004: Insight from Vietnam's Solar Serve organization
Tel: +84 0511 - 3 967 108
Mobile: 0919 511 552