Last updated: 13 May 2017      
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See also: Global Calendar of Events and past events in Costa Rica



Shyam Nandwani conducts a workshop on non-cooking uses for solar cookers in Costa Rica.

  • September 2014: Shyam Nandwani spoke at the Promesa at Santa Ana organization, lecturing on Solar Energy and Productive uses with solar devices, and assembeled Box Solar Oven about heated/cooked meals. The objective was to learn how solar cookers and other solar devices could be used for other purposes, and the end product could be sold. For instance, heating sandwiches, making candles, drying herbs etc. by using clean, free and abundant fuel- the Sun. The group now have the basic concepts and some possible uses. They plan to submit a proposal/project to get seed money (around $2,000 USD) to buy some materials, tools to start a small buisness and use part of the income to make the project sustainable.
  • August 2014: Professor Shyam Nandwani was recognized by the Energy Globe Foundation for his work as Energy Globe Ambassador for Costa Rica since 2012 and awarded the Energy Globe Silver Medal of Honor.
Costarican school lunch photo, 12-22-12

School lunches are warmed in solar ovens at schools in Costa Rica.

  • November 2012: Solar Ovens used to warm lunches at educational centers - Due to electric rationing imposed by local Costarican Electricity utility company in January 1979, Shyam Nandwani made the first solar oven for his family in Feb. 1979, to warm the lunch cooked previous night. Shyam has observed the rising demand of our solar ovens at educational institutes to warm the lunch for the students at schools and colleges etc. According to school directors, the reason is to reduce the queue for using microwave ovens as well to reduce the electric bill for the institute and promote environmental culture for the students as well as also for the parents. Read the article
Rolando Madriz, Heredia, Costa Rica, 3-5-12

Rolando Madriz demonstrates a solar cooker at National University’s solar energy laboratory in Heredia, March 2012.

  • March 2012: After a roughly 16-year hiatus, the Costa Rican Solar Energy Association (Acesolar) rides again, and they want nothing less than to capture the sun. They recently held a demonstration of solar cookers at National University’s solar energy laboratory in Heredia. Much of the lab’s research is geared not toward to photovoltaic production of electricity, but toward thermal solar energy – harnessing the sun’s heat that enters our atmosphere and channeling it to some productive end. Read more...
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Costa Rica has a rich resource in the presence of Indian-born Shyam Nandwani, a Professor of Physics at the University Nacional in Heredia, a city near San Jose. Dr. Nandwani's personal interest and long time demonstrations of the power of the sun for domestic purposes have been an inspiration to many, not only in Costa Rica but also around the world. He has been a speaker at numerous international conferences, including all of the world conferences on solar cooking, and has been a guest lecturer at universities in Germany and the United States, among others. He is a sparkplug in the coordination of networks of solar cookers, both in Central America and for the entire continent; almost single handedly, he was responsible for-the organization and implementation of the Second World Conference, held at his university. Surely, most Latin American solar cooks and promoters are familiar with his professional contributions.

Another outstanding contribution to the world of solar cooking is a demonstration site at the Universidad Nacional, where an outstanding collection of solar cookers and dryers of many types and varied size and scope, from household to field army, can be seen. Here one can see, touch, and thus understand the use of devices usually only seen in diagrams and pictures. Students in the university continue the research of Dr. Nandwani by working on and testing new designs, making old ones more efficient, and teaching others about the technology.

Dr. Nandwani not only demonstrates solar devices in his laboratory; his home is also a model for all who want to live lightly on the earth. He uses solar cookers, one of which has electrical backup in case of rain, solar water heaters, even a microwave powered by a photovoltaic cell. The house is a delight to see and visit, a "must" in Costa Rica for solar cooker enthusiasts.

Another major actor on the solar cooking scene in Costa Rica is the organization called Fundaccion Costaricense Sol de Vida (Sun of Life). This organization was one of those initiated in Central America by the work of an American, Bill Lankford. The network is known in the area by its Spanish name of PROCESO. More details of this work are given in the section on Guatemala, where the initial and largest project has been underway for some years, as well as in this section in headings under the other Central American states where similar organizations exist.

An early activity of Sol de Vida in Costa Rica was (in keeping with Latin traditions of celebrations) establishing one such event - La Fiesta del Sol, honoring the sun and held annually. It proved to be a marvelous event for publicizing solar cooking, calling attention of many to this technology. It is not an isolated activity but rather an integral part of the larger project, Sol de Vida. In 1999, the organization was awarded the National Prize in Energy ~ Innovative Project for its work. The Ministry of Environment and Energy, the National Power and Light Company, the Chamber of Industries and the Association sponsor that award for the Investigation and Development of Energy and the Environment.

Sol de Vida has also created an educational facility, EduSol, to house its promotional and teaching activity. The organization is recognized as an innovator beyond the borders of Costa Rica, as well. Above, in the Multi-Nation Promoters section, the United Nations Development Fund is mentioned, specifically its Small Grant Program, which operates on the national level in many countries. Sol de Vida was one of the Costa Rican awardees in 2001, and is featured in the Annual Report of the organization's work, accompanied by an outstanding photograph.

Another Costa Rica project was honored at Johannesburg by the award of the Equator Prize, offered by the same Small Grants Project program of UNDP. Association ANAI, a local NGO in Costa Rica, promotes solar cookers that enable women to engage in income generating activities, thus improving their living conditions and reducing fossil burning. They report a strong focus on encouraging women to pass on their knowledge to their children, thus promoting the use of solar cookers into the future. The Equator initiative prize is offered for community work associated with a World Heritage Site, thus attempting to reconcile bio-diversity conservation with local livelihoods and household issues.

As can be seen, Costa Rica, noted for many forward looking national objectives, is a major player in solar cooking promotion in Central America.

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      • January 2017:

      Dr. Shyam Nandwani - Promotional Activities of Solar Cooking in Costa Rica and Other Countries

      • July 2014:
      Nandwani Solar Food warmers for Educational Centres in Costa Rica

      Nandwani Solar Food warmers for Educational Centres in Costa Rica

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