• Solar Cooking with the CooKit

    SCI's CooKit was successfully introduced in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya in 2001. Photo: Pascale Dennery

Solar Cooker Basics

Until you see a solar cooker in action, it is hard to appreciate its power and simplicity for saving lives and changing lives. Most solar cookers follow this basic principle:  sunlight is converted to heat energy that is retained for cooking.

This simple principle has led people to cook with sun for centuries.  Because traditional fuels are increasingly scarce and expensive, we see solar thermal cooking technology as one modern solution to the critical shortage for household fuel worldwide.

There are three basic types of solar cookers: panel, box, and parabolic reflector.  Materials and construction vary widely, ranging from found or recycled materials, to sophisticated, engineered polymers.  Different cookers serve different needs, though all are designed to give a cook the oven she or he needs to cook local foods and pasteurize drinking water for families.

The panel cooker shown here is the SCI CooKit This iconic solar cooker was designed for performance, convenience, low cost and adaptability. Since its creation in 1994, this elegant and deceptively simple solar oven has cooked meals and pasteurized water for hundreds of thousands of refugees and many others who live in sun-rich regions where fuel is scarce or expensive.

Explore a collection of articles about solar cooking basics. If you’re trying solar cooking for the first time, looking for recipes, researching solar oven designs, or want to buy a commercial solar cooker, SCI can help.

Solar Cooking with the CooKit

For first-time solar cooks. Courtesy of Rick and Melody Romancito.