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Last updated: 18 January 2017      

Suryakumbh 01-16

Gwr & limca certi (1280x985)

January 2016: World's largest solar cooking class takes place in India - On January 12, 2016, a total of 5,760 middle school students from over 102 schools gathered for celebrating the festival of Suryakumbh organized by Simplified Technologies for Life (STFL) & Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture (CMIA). Held at MIT College in Aurangabad, India, and trained by over 330 engineering college students, the participants assembled their own solar ovens, prepared noodles in it and then took the ovens back home to share the magic of solar cooking with their friends and families.

This has been accredited as the World's Largest Solar Oven Cooking Class by Guinness World Record & Limca Book of Records.


  • NEW: 16-18 January 2017: 6th SCI World Conference 2017: Organized by Solar Cookers International, the conference opened on 16 January 2017 under the banner: “Improve health, feed families, protect our environment.” Topics being addressed include: solar cooking, solar food processing, energy policy, marketing & scaling up, coalition building & entrepreneurship, and solar thermal industrial applications. Conference updates on Facebook. There will be optional off-site technology visits and an entrepreneurial workshop scheduled after the conference. See the information below.
  • 19-22 January 2017: Supplemental conference site visits: Solar Cooking Technology Tour - A very special four day optional tour has been organized after the conference to give participants real life exposure to an incredible variety of solar power systems located in India. Simple meals and comfortable but modest local accommodations are included in the overall cost of the tour. Conference registration fees do not include site visit expenses. A summary of the site visits itinerary is listed below. Detailed site visit itinerary and registration information
19 January: Muni Seva Ashram to Tapi Food Products in Surat. Evening is free for people to visit Surat City. Stay overnight in Surat in a local hotel.
20 January: Travel from Surat to Dhule. Visit Dr. Ajay Chandak and stay overnight in Dhule.
21 January: Travel from Dhule to Indore. Visit the the Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development and stay overnight in Indore.
22 January: Visit Jaivik Setu and the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore. The tour will end in Indore, India on the 22nd of January. The bus will return to the Ashram by 9 pm on the 22nd of January.
See also: Global Calendar of Events and Past events in India

Most significant projects

Shirdi roof collector array

Shirdi roof collector array

Shirdi collector diagram

Shirdi collector array diagram

Shirdi cooking photo

Cooking in the kitchen at Shirdi

  • Roof-top solar installation feeds 50,000 people per day: Gadhia Solar Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. completed installation of an solar steam cooking system, capable of cooking 40,000-50,000 meals per day. It is located at Shirdi Saibaba temple in Shirdi, Maharashtra, India. With nearly 30,000 visitors each day, the temple’s dining halls are some of the largest in India. The solar steam cooking system is comprised of seventy-three rooftop-mounted Scheffler reflectors of sixteen square meters each. The dishes concentrate sunlight on receivers that contain water, generating steam that is piped down to the kitchen for cooking purposes. To maintain constant focus with the sun, the dishes automatically rotate throughout the day after being manually aligned once each morning. The solar steam cooking system is retrofitted to existing liquid petroleum gas-powered steam boilers that are still used in the evening and during prolonged periods of inclement weather. Though the solar steam cooking system cost nearly $300,000, government subsidies reduced the temple’s portion to about $170,000. Liquid petroleum gas use has been cut by roughly 100,000 kilograms each year, for an annual savings of approximately $45,000. The temple should recoup its investment in three to four years. According to company founder Deepak Gadhia, the solar steam cooking technology was originally developed in Germany. However, the equipment does not contain imported components and is manufactured with local machinery and labor, creating much-needed jobs. Gadhia has adapted the system for use in India, and has installed 50 such systems of varying sizes over the past two decades. The March edition of CNN’s Eco Solutions program highlights the Shirdi Saibaba temple solar steam cooking system.
Keshav Srushti 5
  • World's largest solar cooking class takes place in India - On January 12, 2016, 5,760 middle school students from over thirty schools gathered for Maha Suryakumbh organized by Keshav Srushti. Held at MIT College in Aurangabad, India, the students prepared a simple meal and learned to use a simple solar panel cooker. The event is up for accreditation by the Guinness Book of World Records. Ajay Chandak reports that included in the Indian government's five-year plan for 2012 through 2016, 30,000 million INR (approx. $600,000,000USD) is budgeted for solar cooking instruction in 500,000 schools. Read more about the event...


Alzubair Saiyed leads solar cooker workshop for engineering students, 11-28-16

Alzubair Saiyed leads a solar cooker construction workshop for Rajkot engineering students Photo credit: Alzubair Saiyed

  • NEW: December 2016: Engineering students construct solar cookers - On 28 November 2016, a total of 120 engineering students from the B.H Gardi College of Engineering and Technology in Rajkot, Gujarat, participated in a Solar Cooking Festival organized by Innov8 Solar Energy. Lead by Alzubair Saiyed, they built 60 solar cookers, which appear to be the Copenhagen Solar Cooker Light design, and then cooked noodles for those in attendance in about 30 minutes.
Muni Seva Ashram Scheffler array (India Herald), 12-19-16

The Muni Seva Ashram, has converted its steam-based Scheffler solar cooking array to use thermic fluid to be able to provide nighttime cooking. - Photo credit: India Herald

  • NEW: December 2016: Ashram switches from steam to thermic fluid solar cooking - The Muni Seva Ashram, located in Goraj, Vadodara, India, has converted its steam-based Scheffler solar cooking array to use thermic fluid, with heat storage capabilities, to be able to provide nighttime cooking. This is the first such conversion in India, where many existing Scheffler reflector systems are currently in use. The new thermic fluid system also provides the ability to roast, bake, and fry foods, within comfort of the kitchen, not possible with the steam-based system. Read more...
15409783 1146695842052682 1270159166 o

Alzubair Saiyed presents a solar cooking workshop to women in Rajkot, Gujarat.Photo credit: Alzubair Saiyed

  • NEW: December 2016: Women receive solar cooking training in Gujarat - Alzubair Saiyed, an Assistant Professor at the B.H Gardi College of Engineering and Technology in Rajkot, Gujarat, has recently conducted solar cooking workshops at the Shri Kanta Stri Vikas Gruh Girls High School and the Institute of Quality Education (Sister Nivedita Trust). With both groups together, he was able to introduce solar cooking to over 800 women. See more details at about the events at his personal page, Alzubair Saiyed.
Clique Solar ARUN installation, Mahrashtra, 11-1-16

New ARUN 100 system installed in Maharashtra by Clique Solar in September 2016. Photo: Cilque Solar

  • October 2016: New ARUN system installed in Maharashtra - Clique Solar has designed, installed and commissioned two separate cooking systems, one with ARUN®100 and another with Arun®30 at Maharogi Sewa Samiti’s (MSS) headquarter Anandwan in Chandrapur district in Maharashtra state. Arun®100 caters to MSS Kitchen while Arun®30 is installed at their guest house. Read more...
Indian women business start-ups, 10-5-16

Women of Maharashtra and Bihar, India start solar businesses to lessen the impact of household air pollution.

  • October 2016: Women in India find empowerment with solar businesses, and win UN climate award - Varsha Pawar is one of the 1,010 women entrepreneurs in the villages of Maharashtra and Bihar in India who have empowered themselves by running successful businesses of selling solar appliances to rural households. This was made possible through the efforts of Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a non-profit based in Pune in Maharashtra that helps village women to become clean energy entrepreneurs. The clean energy project will be one of thirteen initiatives that will be recognized at the UN climate summit to be held in Marrakech, Morocco, in November. Read more... - INDIA CLIMATE DIALOGUE
  • October 2016: HIMURJA provides over 37,000 solar cookers - daijiworld
  • September 2016: Solar cookers to be distributed in sixteen villages of the Agra region - The Times of India is reporting that the India Post in collaboration with Western Union Money Transfer will be distributing solar cookers and lights to the villages beginning in October. Local leaders will be interviewed to help find recipients most in need of the cookers and lighting. The Agra project is the first of this type of collaboration between the Post and private funding. If successful, other regions will be incorporated into the program. Read more...
  • June 2016: "In order to promote solar thermal technologies to meet cooking energy requirements and to reduce dependence on traditional biomass and fossil fuels, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in the month of September 2014 sanctioned sale and distribution of 15000 Solar Cookers in three different phases at various locations in J&K at a tentative cost of Rs 1687.5 lakh. In the first phase, 5000 solar cookers were procured but only 2183 have been distributed till date despite the fact that target of 5000 was set on the basis of requisitions made by the district officers of the JAKEDA. Similarly, against target of 20000 biomass cookstoves only 3302 have been distributed by the JAKEDA."[1]
Aavin milk pasteurization, 6-20-16

Aavin solar pasteurization array for milk processing - Photo credit: The Hindu

  • June 2016: Aavin steps up production of with solar milk pasteurization - Aavin is the latest government agency to harness solar thermal energy for its daily operations in India. The hundreds of curved mirrors in two structures generate steam to pasteurize nearly one lakh(100,000) liters of milk a day. Read more...
Shirdi roof collector array

Shirdi roof collector array

  • May 2016: Shirdi Temple wins solar thermal award - The Sai Prasadalaya, a community kitchen of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Shirdi has received the coveted Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) and Solar Cooker Excellence Awards- 2016 by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE). Shirdi Sai temple, which draws thousands of devotees every day, has one of world's largest Solar System Projects for community cooking installed in 2014. More information...
ARUN 100 award, India, 5-17-16
  • May 2016: Solar thermal excellence award - Ramakrishna Mission Students’ Home in Chennai was recently conferred with an award for Concentrated Solar Thermal Excellence (CST) for their Solar Cooking System by MNRE, Government of India. The award was given for the school's installation of the ARUN 100 institutional solar steam generating and heat storage system. Award for excellence - NYOOOZ
Piyush Goyal, state minister, 4-30-16

Piyush Goyal, Minister for State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy - Photo: Saur Energy

  • April 2016: India to lead in solar energy Piyush Goyal, Minister for State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, states India has exceeded solar targets by 116% this past year. Goyal said that India now will lead the world towards clean energy rather than follow. More Information...
Roorkee IIT institutional array, 4-14-16

Steam generating solar array at Roorkee IIT saves 5,000LPG cylinders each year cooking student meals. Photo: The Tribune, India

  • April 2016: The Institute of Technology in Roorkee has been using a solar installation to provide steam for student meal preparation for the past two years. They have saved the expense of as many as 5,000 LPG cylinders each year. Dean Dr Naveen Nawani said with the introduction of the solar steam cooking process, the quality of food has improved drastically. Read more...
  • March 2016: BENGALURU: The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has invited applications and proposals from educational institutions to convert to green campuses...Solar cooking systems must be utilised for hostels/hospitals etc. All houses, hostels and kitchens must have solar water heaters. Read more...
  • January 2016: Keshav Srushti continues its extensive efforts to promote solar cooking in India. On January 24th, after this year's Maha SuryaKumbh, they will be opening an educational energy park in Uttan, a coastal town north of Mumbai. It will house an array of solar devices, including solar dryers and solar cookers. More information...
  • August 2015: According to a Times of India news article, the city of Ludhiana will get a boost of solar power as the Union government has included the industrial capital of Punjab among 50 cities to be developed as solar cities. As part of this part of this project, solar cooking systems must be utilized for hostels/hospitals etc. Read more...
Chennai school 1

Solar energy concentrator at Ramakrishna Mission’s Students’ Home

  • Investment brings large-scale solar cooking to Chennai school for orphans and underprivileged boys - Starting in 2013, a partnership between the UNDP, India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and the Global Environment Facility, led to a project to install an ARUN®100 solar concentrator at the Ramakrishna Mission’s Students’ Home. The system provides enough energy to cook 3,000 meals per day and reduces LPG consumption by half, which leads to a savings of US$8,000 per year. Read more...
Janak McGilligan

Janak McGilligan

  • February 2015: India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is inviting comments on its Draft Solar Policy - Sunday, March 1, 2015 will be the deadline for comments. The ten-page document, available here, outlines some of the government department’s thinking. “The Nodal Agency shall take necessary action to proliferate its application in feasible sectors including residential (solar water heaters, solar cookers, indoor air heating etc.), commercial & industrial sector (solar cooling, solar air dryers, large scale solar water heaters, large scale solar cooking utilizing solar concentrator technology, process heating etc.).” Read more...
Keshav Srushti 1

Thousands of students gather in Mumbai, India for a record-breaking solar cooking event.

  • January 2015: 15,000 students in Mumbai solar cook and set world-record - 15,000 students from 80 schools in Mumbai, India set a new world-record for the largest ever solar cooking gathering organized by Keshav Srushti. Each student was given a solar cooker and taught how to use it as part of a national campaign to spread awareness of the importance of solar technology. C Vidyasagar Rao, governor of Maharashtra and Ashish Shelar, minister of state, Power, Coal & New Renewable Energy, attended the record-setting gathering. Read more at: Over 15,000 students create a new world-record in solar cooking
  • January 2015: Annual Maha SuryaKumba reaches for a lofty goal - The Bhayander based NGO, Keshav Srushti, is committed to spreading awareness of solar cooking. Under the banner of Maha SuryaKumba, they will be gathering students from 500 schools across Mumbai in Bhayander,India, and then will be taking the festival to remote tribal villages. Hoping this year reach the magic number of 100,000 solar-powered prepared meals! Keshav Srushti has been accredited by the Guinness Book of World Records for having conducted the largest solar oven cooking class in January 2014 with 3,639 participants from 62 schools. The new goal of reaching so many students from remote areas will require financial support beyond the means of Keshav Srushti. Please contact Keshav Srushti If you can help, it will be appreciated. The NGO has announced there will now be an annual Maha SuryaKumba held on January 15th. More information...
See older news...


India history 02-09-16

A solar cooking demonstration in Delhi in 1956. Photo credit: Wake-Up India

India, Asia's second largest country, next to China, has also the second largest number of solar cookers. The situation in India is more complex than that of China. More is also known about Indian programs. The Third World Conference on Solar Cooking was held in India, permitting the history and progress of solar the technology's uses to become better known around the world.

An official government report informs the reader that the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), Government of India, was established in 1982, first as a Department and later as a Ministry. The Ministry's mandate extends well beyond solar cooking, including fuel efficient wood and charcoal stoves, power from other renewable sources, energy from industrial wastes, research and development in a number of related fields (photovoltaics, biogas, and pollution prevention, for example). MNES began seriously to promote solar cooking in the early 80s, with an initial focus almost entirely on the box cooker.

The population of India is roughly 70% rural. MNES states that "cooking accounts for a major share of the total energy consumption in rural homes (Singhal, correspondence, 2003, p. 1). Sources of that energy are largely fuelwood, animal dung, or crop residues, all of which emit smoke, pollute the atmosphere, and are deterimental to health and safety of family members, particularly women. Fuelwood is become scarcer each year. FAO data show that 21.6% of the Indian land mass is forested, and conservation efforts are in place to reverse previous loss. The effort is affected by the large and dense population and a slowing but still substantial birth rate (continuing to increase at 1.7% per annum, or 17% in a decade). Solar cooking has been viewed as one way to alleviate a number of India's problems and as such was supported by government efforts.

The Press Bureau of the Government of India reported in 2007 that there are 525,000 solar cookers installed in India.[1] The Press Bureau also reported in 2003 that, "The solar cooker programme has been expanded by introducing new designs for community use. Three solar steam cooking systems based on automatic tracking concentrating collective technology for cooking food for 600-3,000 people per day, and one system based on ‘Solar Bowl’ technology, have been installed. World's largest solar steam cooking system has been installed at Tirumala Tirupati. The system is designed to cook two meals for 15,000 persons in one day. Another system for 2,000 people was erected at Brahmakumaris Ashram in Gurgaon in July, 2002. Three community cookers for indoor cooking have been installed at a training hostel and an NGO’s establishment in Leh. In all, six such systems have been installed under the MNES demonstration scheme. A total of 500 dish solar cookers and 60 community solar cookers have been installed so far."[2]

Archived articles

Climate and culture

Solar Cookers International has rated India as the #1 country worldwide for solar cooking potential. In the year 2020, the estimated number of people in India who will suffer from fuel scarcity is 157,400,000, but these people will continue to have ample access to the sun. In December 2007, the Indian Government instituted a program of rebates on various renewable energy devices including solar cookers. Solar cooking has even been recommended in the Rig Veda, a sacred Hindu text, stating: "All edibles ripened or cooked in the sun’s rays change into super medicine, the amrita."

India Solar Resource map, 12-3-12

India Solar Resource Map provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

India Solar Radiation Map 2015

Fuels used for cooking


  • LPG (47.96%)
  • Firewood (22.74%)
  • Kerosene (19.16%) and
  • Other fuels (10.14)


  • Firewood (64.10%)
  • Other sources of biomass – crop residue (13.10%)
  • Cow‐dung (12.80%)
  • LPG (5.67%) is now increasing in importance. [2]

In a February 7th, 2015 article, The Economist reported that there are roughly 1 million deaths in India each year due to cooking fires[3].

Fuel subsidies

The Economic Times of India reports:

While 300 million people live below poverty line, making do with energy inefficient dung cakes, twigs and branches, and occasional bits of coal, the urban middle class and the rural rich are splurging on cheap petrol and diesel and even cheaper kerosene and liquified petroleum gas.
The subsidy is massive - hidden by a disingenuous device called oil bonds. Here are some rock solid facts. IOC, HPCL and BPCL are currently losing $137 million a day (i.e., Rs 582 crore per day at Rs 42.50 = $1). They lose Rs 16.34 for each litre of petrol, and Rs 23.49 for each litre of diesel sold in Delhi.
The subsidy on kerosene at Rs 28.72 per litre is over three times the current retail price; and the subsidy on a cylinder of cooking gas at Rs 306 per cylinder exceeds the retail price. The total under-recovery for the oil marketing companies for 2006-07 was over $19 billion. With oil prices touching $135, under-recoveries can be $50 billion this year, unless retail prices are substantially increased.[4]

The Telegraph (UK) reported in September 2013 that, "Food and fuel subsidies are gobbling up much of the budget, while investment atrophies."[5]

Solar cooking already has a significant presense in India, especially with large scale projects, but the potential remains for its use to still significantly replace the use of conventioal fuels. 

Cultural acceptance

In a report presented during the Asian Clean Energy Forum in June 2008, Soma Dutta, Asia Regional Network Coordinator for the Amsterdam-based ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, states that only 45% of India’s 70% rural population have access to electricity, and over 80 percent still rely on firewood as their primary cooking fuel, the gathering of which is a responsibility that almost always falls to the women and girls in a society. The long hours and significant effort spent simply gathering firewood leaves them little time for education or employment. [6]

Introductions of new technologies fail in villages for many reasons, but most commonly due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of local cultural customs. Solar cooking has often suffered this fate despite the purported cost savings because it is not introduced in a way that suited the lifestyles of the individuals using it.

A solar stove is most powerful at the times of the strongest sunlight, which is mid-day and early afternoon. As in many agricultural populations, village farmers in India consume their biggest meals by early to mid-morning and then again late at night, after the sun has set. In addition, certain solar stoves are not conducive to Indian-style cooking which is done mostly with oil (with the exception of rice) and requires frequent temperature manipulation as well as stirring and flipping which was is difficult with many solar cookers.[7]

While technical constraints limit the types of solar cookers likely to be widely adopted in India, there is historic precedent for solar cooking in Indian culture. A passage in ancient Vedic texts state, " Sun cooked food improves cellular health and longevity of life. It strengthens health and mind removes three major physical disorders to do with digestion, blood and respiratory system, balances inner body temperatures, life, glows aura and keeps various obstacles away. Sun cooked food has great medicinal value. It enhances intellect, genius." ' Rig Veda'. - Reference from the website. See: PRINCE

See also


Blogs and newsletters

Project evaluations

Possible funders



Articles in the media

Audio and video

  • May 2016:
CST and Solar Cooker Excellence Award 201617:59

CST and Solar Cooker Excellence Award 2016

Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, presents on solar energy use in India.

  • January 2016:
Aurangabad Setting A World Record By Cooking With Solar Energy02:04

Aurangabad Setting A World Record By Cooking With Solar Energy

  • June 2015:
The Solar Bowl02:28

The Solar Bowl

A charitable institution inTamil Nadu, India is using solar energy to cook 3,000 meals for 650 children a day, reducing dependence on cooking gas and saving nearly US$ 8,000 each year.

  • February 2015:


News story four minutes into the video showing thousands of students solar cooking at the Maha Suryakumbha event in January 2015.

  • July 2014:
McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers09:28

McGilligan Empowering young Rural and Tribal women with Solar Cookers

  • May 2013:
Square Parabolic Solar Cooker02:52

Square Parabolic Solar Cooker

Goldin Bennet of the Department of Instrumentation and Control Engineering National Institute of Technology Tiruchirapalli, shows how they have fabricated a parabolic solar cooker using small square panels in 2013.

  • February 2010:
Haybox Easy cooker02:33

Haybox Easy cooker

  • February 2010:
Solar Cookers in India, Global Ideas06:43

Solar Cookers in India, Global Ideas

Deepak Gadhia's efforts promoting various solar powered projects

  • September 2007:
The Smokeless Village03:08

The Smokeless Village

News report showing the Smokeless Village where all inhabitants cook with solar cookers



Manufacturers and vendors


Government agencies

    Educational institutions

    See also


    1. Govt fails to provide benefits of Rs 45 cr worth schemes of MNRE to people

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