Last edited: 23 October 2018      
Photovoltaic cooking, Benin, 11-30-15

A roadside chef in Benin prepares beans and rice with her solar fan assisted cookers. - Pakistan Ki Awaz

Photovoltaic cooking offers another approach to harvesting the sun to cook food. Instead of using the sun's direct radiation to cook, these systems use photovoltaic cells to create electricity that is used to power an electric stove. With the availability of a energy storing battery, the cooker would be able to be used after sunset. Photovoltaic cells are also used to power fans to increase the efficiency of Improved combustion stoves.

There is a concern though that the production of the solar cells uses a great deal of energy itself. The cells may have to create power for up to 37 months just to balance the amount of energy used in their manufacture.[1]


Hybrid PV soalr cooker, Seggy T Segaran, 5-30-18

A 100w photovoltaic panels provides additional cooking power with a heating pad located inside of the adjacent solar box cooker. Photo credit: Seggy T Segaran

  • June 2018: PV supplements solar cooking - Seggy T Segaran has experimented with adding more cooking power to a solar box cooker, provided by a heating pad located inside the cooker. It is powered by the nearby 100w photovoltaic panel. He reports the heating pad on its own put around 35 watts of power into the solar cooker. When placed in the sun, the cooker ran at around 70 watts of combined solar and electric power.
Modified commercial pot for TES 2018

Using a modified commercial electric cooker with erythritol as a storage medium

  • March 2016: Antonia Lecouna Neumann reports: "We use erythritol as heat storage material, cheap, durable, edible and has a melting heat similar to ice. We found it superior to other alternatives although long term durability is still an issue." Read more...


Articles in the media

  • November 2017: Green Energy Research Centre, IUB update - The Daily Star (Combined with photovoltaic farming innovations, GERC mentions developing their photovoltaic powered cooker to meet the needs of a family for regular cooking purposes.)

Audio and video

  • NEW: October 2018: 
Solar Electric Cooking and Uganda, Pete Schwartz, Cal Poly Physics

Solar Electric Cooking and Uganda, Pete Schwartz, Cal Poly Physics

Seggy Segaran solar cooker-PV hybrid, 8-13-18

Seggy Segaran solar cooker-PV hybrid Photo credit: Michael Bonke

  • June 2018: 


The SolaCooka stores energy in the ground in a phase change material. The concept has been tested with success, and now there is an effort to get it to mass production in India and similar countries where self-install kits are to be distributed, some for a price and some for free. Quotes have been obtained for 80W PV solar panels, which can be built for USD 10, making this practical and affordable. There is a plan to employ people living in the slums to put together the kits for people to install.

Schwartz Photovoltaic Solar Cooking-0

Schwartz Photovoltaic Solar Cooking-0

Electric cooking is convenient and widely adopted globally, while photovoltaic cells are ideal for small-scale electricity generation in many areas. Assuming the continuing decrease in photovoltaic prices, when might we expect PV solar cooking systems to be cost competitive?


  1. Energiebilanz von Solarzellen - Energie Weblog (English version)

All construction plans

All designs

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