Last updated: 13 March 2018      
Solar Cooking Festival 2014

Solar Cooking Festival 2014

Video from the SCInet Solar Cooking Festival 2014




  • NEW: 9-10 April 2018: (Sacramento) - Green California Summit: The annual Green California Summit was established eleven years ago to support emissions reduction and environmental stewardship, and to provide information, education and resources to the public and private sector professionals who create, manage and execute green projects and programs. Admission to the keynote, Expo, and Leadership Awards is free. More information...



  • NEW: 2-30 April 2018: (Dodgeville) - The BIETR, etc. exhibit by Joel Goodman will be on display throughout April at the Iowa County Courthouse in Dodgeville from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays. It will include solar collector and storage building studies for heating and cooling, solar kitchens for the tropics, reused wind blades, PV pergolas, and various other works. More information...
See also: Global Calendar of Events and past events in USA


Kua O Ka La school converts old bus to solar dehyrator, 7-5-17

Kua O Ka La school in Hawaii has converted an old school bus into a solar dehydrator. Photo credit: Kua O Ka La

  • July 2017: Old school bus becomes a solar dryer - The resourceful staff and students at the remote Kua O Ka La Public Charter School in Pū‘ala‘a, Hawaii, have converted an old school bus into a solar food dehydrator. Off grid, a primary goal at the school is to be able to run everything with solar power. More information...
PEP 2017

A Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) testing station.

  • June 2017: Solar Cookers International (SCI) launches pilot solar cooker testing centers in California and New York - The purpose of this pilot project is to check the repeatability, reliability, and reproducibility of results from SCI Performance Evaluation Process (PEP) testing stations for solar cookers, irrespective of location. SCI’s pilot testing centers are located at different latitudes and at different elevations. The two locations also experience different weather conditions. The solar cookers, the cookware, and the testing instrumentation, however, are the same at both locations. This pilot project is testing sets of three types of solar cookers: reflective-panel cookers, box ovens and parabolic reflectors. The PEP results provide cooking power measured in Watts, which is only one of many ways to evaluate solar cooker performance. In June, weather conditions at SCI’s pilot testing centers are well suited for testing solar cookers according to the ASABE S580.1 protocol for Testing and Reporting Solar Cooker Performance. This protocol requires that outdoor ambient temperature must be between 20 - 35 °C (68 - 95 °F). This temperature range is generally available at both SCI pilot testing centers between the vernal (spring) equinox and the autumnal (fall) equinox. Testing days within the required temperature range should also be clear days with consistent solar energy. SCI welcomes others to join this pilot solar cooker testing project to validate the reproducibility of the SCI PEP testing stations. By using the same instrumentation, results have a consistent format for data comparison. Potential project partners can access the assembly manual for the SCI PEP testing station, available as open-source content online at SCI’s PEP web page. To join SCI's pilot solar cookers testing project, email
Middle students cooker project, The Registar Guard, 5-27-17

Hamlin Middle School sixth-graders learn about science, civics and more while making solar-powered stove. Photo credit: The Register Guard

  • May 2017: Solar cooking project builds on STEAM - Middle school students in Springfield, Oregon, USA, were exposed to a multi-facetted lesson plan, with their challenge to design and build their own solar cooker. The lesson met the requirements for STEAM recognition. To qualify, a project typically integrates each of the core classes, including math, science, language arts, and social studies. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. Read more...
  • March 2017: Solar Cookers International is nominating a team of solar cooking experts for the UNHCR Energy Expert Roster to provide solar cooking consultancy to refugee camps.
Sxsl 10-16

Solar cookers at the South by South Lawn Festival. Photo credit: José Andrés

PPG Foundation solar support check, 9-20-16

The PPG Foundation providing funding for elementary school solar project in Texico, Illinois. Photo credit: PPG

  • September 2016: The PPG Foundation has provided financial support for a solar oven engineering/science project for second-grade students in Texico, Illinois.
Just B-Solar kids, 8-26-16

Young Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, students learn about facing a solar future. Photo credit: James L. Stroud, Jr., MSR News

  • August 2016: Children learn about their solar future - At a weeklong day camp in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, young participants learned how solar energy will integrate into their coming lives. They learned to build solar lanterns, design a solar oven to bake a cake, and working in teams, design their own solar-powered devices. Read more...
  • July 2016: Solar cooker manufacturer receives rational certification as a women's business enterprise - WBENC's national standard of certification is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business, in this case Solavore, is at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a woman or women. Read more...
Arizona university students have solar oven throwdown, 10-15-15

University of Arizona students have "Solar Oven Throwdown."

  • October 2015: University of Arizona students have "Solar Oven Throwdown" - UA faculty have designed a course that includes a solar cooker contest for students who are considering a career in engineering, be they freshmen at the UA or upperclassmen at certain local high schools. It is a chance to learn about how engineering works by working through design and construction of a device with a team. Read more... - Arizona Public Media
Tracking Solar Cooker, C. Alan Nichols, 7-23-15

Tracking Solar Cooker provided to Civano Middle School in Arizona by C. Alan Nichols. - C. Alan Nichols

  • July 2015: Tracking solar cooker headed to middle school - The Civano Middle School located in Tucson, Arizona, USA, will be receiving a tracking solar box cooker for fall semester. Students will be able to learn firsthand about solar cooking. The cooker and tracking system has been designed by C. Alan Nichols, an engineer from the Tucson area. Read more about the system at The Tracking Solar Cooker.
Solar cooked tacos, Jose Andres, 6-18-15

Mushroom tacos made by Chef José Andrés' team on a solar-powered stove. - Alice Dishes

  • June 2015: Solar cooking meets the tech community - Chef José Andrés invited Kirk Smith, a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, at UC Berkeley, USA, to join him at a panel discussion for environmentalists challenging the tech community held in Silicon Valley, California. Dr. Kirk has discounted solar cooking in the past, but now feels it is a viable part of the clean cooking solution to help preserve the environment and improve the health of the many cooks cooking over open fires. Dr. Smith and Andrés called on the audience to go back to their employers – the technology companies of the Bay Area – and apply as much innovative thinking to clean cooking as has been applied to electric cars and evolving the jet engine. Delicious solar-cooked mushroom tacos were prepared on the grounds outside of the conference. More information
  • January 2015: Irene Perbal has explained how she used her experience promoting solar cooking in Sudan and Brazil to help out back in her home state of California, USA. She has been encouraging the use of solar cooking at local food banks. She began doing talks and seminars to train locals on how to build and use the cookers, including the underserved frequenting the food banks. Often her presentation includes sharing a lunch of solar cooked lasagne. Thinking Globally and Acting Locally - Huffington Post
  • December 2014: In an article for National Geographic, Chef José Andrés writes about his pop-up restaurant, Sunny Day, which he opened at the Life is Beautiful event in Las Vegas, NV. Sunny Day used solar cookers to cook their signature dish, vegetarian tacos, during the day and clean-burning ethanol in the evening. Read article...
  • November 2014: As part of the "What I'm Thankful For" series, José Andrés explains that he is thankful that his family has a simple and safe method to cook their food, and how solar cooking and other fuel-efficient cooking methods are bringing this benefit to the world's poor, for whom access to traditional cooking fuels is becoming more difficult and expensive every year. Read more...
  • October 2014: At the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, NV, José Andrés debuted Sunny Day, his new solar-powered pop-up restaurant. His goal for the new pop-up restaurant is to educate Americans about clean cooking around the world. Interview with José Andrés
  • September 2014: Hawaii company awards solar energy grants - Hawaii Pacific Solar (HPS), a Maui-based solar PV design and installation company, has awarded two education grants totaling USD 2,718 for solar energy-related projects at Hokulani Elementary School and King William C. Lunalilo Elementary School, both Kaimuki Complex schools. A USD 500 grant was awarded to Aiea Elementary School to build a solar oven out of recycled products using renewable energy.
Sun Juicer image, 8-21-14

The Sun Juicer lightweight parabolic solar cooker.

  • September 2014: Leonel Gotlibowski and The Sun Juicer completed a successful Kickstarter campaign! They set a goal of USD 15,000 and raised a total of USD 19,152. They describe the Sun Juicer as an emergency ultralight, compact parabolic solar cooker. Read more...
  • August 2014: A group of volunteers known as the Haiti Solar Oven Partners from First United Methodist Church of Jamestown, North Dakota, recently traveled to Moffit, ND, to help fabricate solar ovens to be used in Haiti. Teams of volunteers travel to Haiti each year to live in communities that have invited them. For ten days, these volunteers work with Haitians to build ovens and educate people about solar cooking. Their goal is to deliver 2,300 solar ovens plus hands-on training to Haitian families every year. Read more...
Sacramento festival 2014
  • July 2014: Solar cooking conference extols virtues of cookers to developing world (Sacramento Bee) - Hundreds of people Saturday cooked using only the power of the sun – a practice little used in the United States, but considered a liberating tool for women in developing countries that also helps curb greenhouse gas emissions. Read more...
  • July 2014: Results of the US Solar Cooking Survey were presented by Natalia Blackburn at the American Solar Energy Society's SOLAR 2014 conference in San Francisco. During the afternoon of the paper's presentation, solar cooker volunteers Judy, Rene, and two local elementary school students brought in panel cookers, a box cooker, and an evacuated tube cooker for display. They talked about their solar cooking projects and answered questions. Judy had baked up scones in the San Francisco morning sun so that the mostly photovoltaic-oriented crowd could taste what solar cooking was all about.
See older news...


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
George Lof Unbroiler

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.


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


Possible funders

See Raising funds through grants and donations.

Project evaluations


Articles in the media

Audio and video

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

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:
Navajo Students Native Sun Fresnel Solar Cooker

Navajo Students Native Sun Fresnel Solar

  • July 2009:
Solar Potluck

Solar Potluck

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

Solar cooking blogs

Solar cooking clubs


SCI Associates


Manufacturers and vendors


Government agencies

Educational institutions

See also