Most significant solar cooking projectsEdit
- January 2013: World's largest solar cooking class takes place in India - On January 19, 2013, middle school students gathered on the grounds of JES College in Jalna, India to be trained in the use of a simple solar panel cooker. After a quick breakfast, and guidance from 205 trainers, a record-breaking 2,044 students assembled their own solar cooker and placed prepared ingredients inside to cook. After speaker presentations, they were able to enjoy the lunch they had cooked themselves. This event, sponsored by Simplified Technology for Life, demonstrates that India is quite serious about introducing solar cooking to young students. 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.
- April 2010: Gadhia Solar Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. recently completed installation of an enormous 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.
- See other Most significant solar cooking projects worldwide.
News and recent developmentsEdit
- 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...
- March 2015: New solar cooking organization in India - On January 23, 2015 Solar Cookers India was formed. Dr. Mrs. Janak Palta McGilligan has graciously offered her services as the Honorary Executive Director of this new organization, which will work in close partnership with Solar Cookers International.
- March 2015: SCInet member wins national award - Janak McGilligan won the prestigious national Padmashri award for distinguished achievement in social service on January 26, 2015. The Padma Awards is one of the highest civilian awards given in India. As former Director and Founder of the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women, she pioneered solar parabolic cooking for community use.
- 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...
- 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...
- September 2014: Bhubaneswar: The state government will provide solar chullahs to 500 households inside Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary. This was done to reduce load on firewood, which the villagers collect from the sanctuary. There are around 5,000 households in the reserve, but initially 10% will be provided with the solar cooking device. The panchayati raj and forest departments will jointly conduct survey to identify the families to be given the chullah. A private party will donate the chullahs to the forest department. - Read more... - Times of India
- August 2014: International solar cooking expert, Ajay Chandak, has written about the recent installation of steam generating solar cooking systems at The Akshardham Temple located in New Delhi and at the Ram Krishna Mission Student’s Home, Mylapore, Chennai. The Akshardham Temple system is now able to serve 2,000 - 3,000 meals on a clear sunny day, saving approximately 30 to 50 scm of PNG each day in operation. MNRE has partly funded this installation and Clique Solar has manufactured and installed the system. The system at the Ram Krishna Mission Student’s Home as been adapted with the ability to store the excess heat generated mid-day to be able to cook very early in the day and after sunset. Read his reports: ARUN®100 Installation at Akshardham Temple, New Delhi and ARUN®100 with Thermal Storage at Ramkrishna Mission, Chennai - Ajay Chandak
- August 2014: A Bhayander based NGO, Keshav Srushti, in a bid to spread awareness on solar cooking, will be gathering students from 500 schools across Mumbai to cook solar-powered dishes. 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 3639 participants from 62 schools. Invigorated by the success, the NGO has announced an annual Maha Suryakumbh on January 15, 2015, is aiming to reach 25,000 schools students. More information...
- April 2014:
- March 2014: Rural schools receive solar cooking sysytems - Ajay Chandak wants to update the solar cooking community that a Scheffler Community Kitchen has been installed and tested at the Aapla Ghar school for homeless rural children located in Naldurg, India. After cooking their first meal on this solar system the students and management were more than happy. He brings particular attention and notice of appreciation to the local M.P. Dr. Ashok Ganguly, who arranged financing of the project through their M.P fund, contributing $23,000 USD to the project. Also, another Scheffler system is to be opened soon at an orphanage located in Dhule.
- February 2014: The Jawahar Navodiya Vidyalya school is saving $23,000 in annual fuel costs - The residential school Jawahar Navodiya Vidyalya located in Ladakh, India appreciates having their solar cooking system, which is saving them $23,000 USD in annual fuel costs. More than 570 students and staff members are served daily meals. "It is not only very easy to operate, but it provides us [with] hot water for washing the dishes in the cold season," says Tashi, one of the kitchen staff. The arid desert region is known as the "land of high passes". Previously, remote areas like this one have had to rely on kerosene and firewood for heating and cooking, and considerable money was being spent simply getting kerosene delivered. Read more... - Asia Times Online
- January 2014: School in North Coimbatore begins solar cooking mid-day meals Two PRINCE - 40 institutional parabolic solar cookers will soon be cooking noon meals for students at a school in North Coimbatore. Each PRINCE unit (designed by Professor Ajay Chandak) costs 68,000 Indian rupees ($1,000 USD) and includes a 35-liter (32 quart) pressure cooker. The first two units will be used on a test basis. If successful, the municipality will order PRINCE cookers for all sixteen schools in the region. The Indian National Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides a sixty percent subsidy for the solar cookers, which will cut expenses by reducing the consumption of LPG and wood. On December 9, 2013 Professor Ajay Chandak, a global leader in the solar thermal cooking sector, was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). Chandak will represent "Solar Heating and Cooling". ISES is a UN-accredited NGO that is active in over 110 countries.
- January 2014: India raises the bar for the world's largest solar cooking class - "As many as 3,484 children from over 80 schools participated in the largest solar cooking initiative Suryakumbh on January 4th, which has qualified as an entry to the Guinness Book of World Records. The emergence of renewable sources of energy as an answer to the imminent exhaustion of conventional energy sources pushed a Bhayander NGO, Keshav Srushti, to start with the most influential members of society, children." - dna The class was held in Mumbai, India. Read more...
The history of solar cooking in IndiaEdit
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. 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."
Culture and economicsEdit
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."
Fuels used for cookingEdit
- 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%), and
- LPG (5.67%) is now increasing in importance. 
In a February 7th, 2015 article, The Economist reported that there are roughly 1 million deaths in India each year due to cooking fires.
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.
The Telegraph (UK) reported in September 2013 that, "Food and fuel subsidies are gobbling up much of the budget, while investment atrophies."
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.
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. 
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.
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 princeindia.org website. See: PRINCE
- Explaining the Unexpectedly Low Use of Solar Cookers in Gujarat, India - Girja Sharan and Raju Pandya
- Enhancing the acceptance of solar cooking in India
- July 2006: Integrated Approach for Promoting Solar Cookers in Rural Areas of Tamil Nadu - Dr. Sathyavathi Muthu and Ms. G. Anuradha
- July 2006: Dissemination of Solar Cooker Information - Mamata Dutta
- July 2006: Sustainable Energy Policies for Promotion of Solar Cookers in India - Sudha Mahalingam
- An Analysis of Solar Cooker Usage - Bashir Ahmad
- Solar cooker dissemination and cultural variables
Possible funders of solar cooking projects in IndiaEdit
- August 2014: ARUN®100 Installation at Akshardham Temple, New Delhi - Ajay Chandak
- August 2014: ARUN®100 with Thermal Storage at Ramkrishna Mission, Chennai - Ajay Chandak
- June 2014: A (new) cultural turn toward solar cooking—Evidence from six case studies across India and Burkina Faso - Pia Otte
- November 2012: Explaining the Unexpectedly Low Use of Solar Cookers in Gujarat, India - Girja Sharan and Raju Pandya
- November 2012: Bashir Ahmad, a Research Fellow at the Technical University of Denmark, provides an analysis of solar cooker usage compared to conventional cooking methods. Data was collected for the study in India and Burkina Faso in the 80's and 90's. An Analysis of Solar Cooker Usage - Bashir Ahmad
- February 2012: Patricia McArdle attended a workshop dealing with the construction and proper alignment techniques for Scheffler Community Kitchens in Dhule, India: Read her report.
- January 2009: Watermelon Processing in Integrated Solar Heater, Cooker, and Dryer - P.C. Pande
- January 2009: Thematic Studies for Processing and Preservation of Foods with Solar Energy - Ranjita Bezbaruah Sharma
- January 2009: Fortification of Solar Dried Fruit Bars -G. Sarojini, V. Veena, M. Ramakrishna Rao
- January 2009: Perspectives of Solar Food Processing in India - C. Palaniappan
- January 2009: Micro-Enterprises in Solar Food Processing - M. Ramakrishna Rao, D.J. Rao, S.L. Kumar
- January 2009: Food Processing Through Solar Energy - Ghanshyam Lukhi
- January 2009: Promotion of SK14 Solar Cookers through an Eco Center- Case Study of a Unique North-South Co-operation - Dr. Shirin Gadhia
- January 2009: Promotion of Smoke Free Villages in Chittoor District & Employment Generation to Rural Youth - Jagadeeswara Reddy
- January 2009: Advancing towards achievement of Millennium Development Goals by training Rural and Tribal women in Solar Food Processing - A Hands-on Experience at Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Central India - Dr. Janak Palta McGilligan
- August 2008: A Solar Cooking Day
- July 2006: Disseminsation of Solar Cooker Information - Mamata Dutta
- July 2006: Sustainable Energy Policies for Promotion of Solar Cookers in India - Sudha Mahalingam
- March 2003: India's solar cooker program - Solar Cooker Review
- June 2001 S. Narayanaswamy Sheds Light on Solar Cooking - India Together
- May 1999: Solar Cooking Technology - How Far are Technology Promoters and Users From Each Other?
Articles in the mediaEdit
- NEW: April 2015: India: PRINCE Offers Solar Cooking Workshops for New Entrepreneurs - Global Solar Thermal Energy Council
- March 2015: Will mini-micro solar remain a toy for the middle-class and rich in India? - Moneylife
- March 2015: Fair Glow in Solar Energy - The Telegraph
- February 2015: Pollution in India and China: Indian winter - The Economist
- January 2015: Children to learn about clean solar cookers on festival day - gulfnews.com
- January 2015: Healthy food via solar cooker - Moneylife
- August 2014: Keshav Srushti opens ‘Maha Suryakumbh’ - The FREE PRESS Journal
- February 2014: Sun Smiles on a Cold Desert - Independent European Daily Express
- November 2013: More Indian schools to get solar cookers - The Hindu
- August 2013: Solar cooking technology - The Hindu
- June 2013: Go solar for healthier food' - The Times of India
- April 2013: Vintage Visakha organized a demonstration of solar cooking at its office at Abidnagar. Solar cooking demo held - The Hindu
- March 2013: Solar City on the beam - The New Indian Express
- November 2012: Sun fuels hearth at Akshardham - The Times of India
- August 2012: INDIA’s FIRST & UNIQUE “GREEN ASHRAM” at the Solar Capital of India GUJARAT – A model & multiplier for Renewable energy and Sustainable Community - urvishdave
- October 2012: Major Indian pilgrimage centres going green - AAJKI KABAR
- June 2012: Gujarat septuagenarian taps solar power - Daily News and Analysis
- June 2012: Ambaji temple goes green - The Times of India
- April 2012: Soon, Golden Temple may dish out solar-cooked langar - The Indian Express
- February 2012: Medical colleges into green mode for change - The Pioneer
- February 2012: Farooq for encouraging renewable energy sources - IBN Live
- December 2011: Plan to reap benefits of solar cooking system - The Hindu
- June 2011: Shirdi’s Prasadalaya achieves a first, using solar energy to make meals for devotees - Daily India.com
- May 2011: Gurgaon goes green - Hindustan Times
- August 2010: Sierra Club Helps Bring Green Jobs to India - The Bay Citizen
- July 2010: Renewal Energy Park in India Set to Open During October 2010 - A to Z Cleantech
- June 2010: Smoke-free solar cooker cooks up interest in this tiny hamlet - The Times of India
- November 2009: "Every [Indian] individual/household should have a solar cooker," says Arvind Virmani, Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- October 2009: Mass-market U.N. carbon scheme finds favor in India - Reuters
- July 2009: Economic Survey urges Indian Government to eliminate cooking fuel/kerosene subsidies and ensure rural households have a solar cooker and a solar lantern - The Hindu, Business Times
- July 2009: Solar energy to cook 30k meals at university - The Times of India
- February 2008: Bharat hot on solar cookers, new energy - The Times of India
- February 2008: Yes They Could, So They Did - New York Times
- July 2008: India's Temples Go Green - Time Magazine
- June 2008: India tackles climate change with renewable energy - The Guardian (UK)
- June 2008: Cooking with the sun - The Hindu
- June 2008: Kitchen for poor kids go high-tech (solar) in state homes - Express India
- June 2008: Gujarat industry opposed fuel price hikes - Thaindian News
- March 2008: Rewriting the Books in Ladakh - Cultural Survival Quarterly
- March 2008: Black carbon pollution emerges as major player in global warming - Scripps Institution of Oceanography
- February 2008: Fiscal policy to act as a tool to lighten the oil shock - The Economic Times
- February 2008: Govt looking for consultants to tap CDM benefits - The Economic Times
- January 2008: Everything under the sun - The Times of India
- July 2007: Holy smoke! Religious places too earning carbon credits - The Times of India
- April 2007: UN engages banks to light up rural India; Solar loans, energy access transform life for poor - EurekAlert
- March 2007: Solar cookers save Indian emissions - NDTV.com
Audio and videoEdit
- February 2015:
- July 2014:
- January 2014:
- December 2013:
- May 2013:
- February 2010:
- February 2010:
- September 2007:
- A Solar Cooking Day in India
- Solar Cooking on the Roof - David Delaney
- Google search showing English translations of pages containing the words for "solar cooker" in Hindi
Indian solar cooking blogsEdit
- ↑ http://static2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090624234723/solarcooking/images/8/8f/Performance_analysis_Solar_Parabolic_concentrator_for_cooking_applications_P._Rajamohan%2C_S._Shanmugan%2C_K._Ramanathan%2C_D._Mutharasu_%28January_2009%29.pdf
- ↑ http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21642172-narendra-modi-should-learn-chinas-mistakes-its-too-late-indian-winter?fsrc=scn/fb/te/pe/ed/indianwinter