The Association of Solar Artisans of Villaseca operates the Delicias del Sol restaurant in the village of Villaseca, Chile. Now in its twelfth year of operation in 2012, the local establishment is a collective made up of twenty-five partners from the region. Solar ovens were originally introduced to the village as a trial project from the University of Chile and the Institute for Nutrition and Food Technology. It was done to see if they could get people to use solar energy at home.
With the help of a $20,000USD grant from the United Nations Development Program, the restaurant followed soon after the association was formed. This energy-efficient success is particularly well-suited to the aptly named 'Villaseca' or 'Dry Town' community. It receives approximately 310 days of sunshine a year. Fuelwood for wood-burning ovens is scarce in this arid region of Chile, and is increasingly more expensive. This makes the sun-powered ovens even more attractive to locals looking to save on fuel costs.
Juan Ibacache, President of the association, relates: " The original project wasn't to start a restaurant. The project that came from Santiago was for people to use solar ovens in their own homes. However, that same dream combined with the entrepreneurship of those involved, inspired us to show people what we were doing at home on a daily basis - cooking with solar energy. We wanted to show tourists what really can be done with a solar oven - saving energy, protecting the environment, preventing deforestation."
With an initial seating capacity of sixteen, the solar restaurant now seats 120. Due to high demand, the restaurant has even teamed up with tour operators to arrange visits.
Articles in the media
- December 2012: Chilean Solar Oven Restaurant Shines - NTD Television
- December 2012: Delicias del Sol: Chilean resto uses solar ovens - Solar News BETA
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