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Institutional solar cooking involves cooking for groups with an single integrated solar cooking system, rather than simply using many smaller solar cookers. It may be designed for communal village use, a restaurant or bakery, or large-scale production facilities preparing many thousands of meals per day. The cooking equipment employs basic solar cooking principles, and takes advantage of economy of scale. Steam production is also an option for institutional solar cooking systems, allowing the cooking to take place indoors.


  • NEW: May 2016: Usability of the solar dish cooker for large scale community cooking - Kurukshetra Journal
Ajay article
Ajay article 2
ARUN 100 award, India, 5-17-16
  • NEW: 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
SEEC- parabolic cooker, S. Hamadto, 5-4-16

Student at SEEC training facility - Photo: Salih Hamadto

Roorkee IIT institutional array, 4-14-16

Roorkee IIT institutional array

Using steam heat

Tirupati solar installation

Rooftop Scheffler reflectors used to create steam for cooking at the Tirupati shrine in India

Auroville Solar Bowl 2

Solar Bowl on the roof of the Auroville Solar Kitchen.

Some of the most familiar examples of institutional cooking have used Scheffler reflector technology to heat water to create steam for cooking. Installations at religous shrines, such as those at Tirupati and Shirdi in India, illustrate the prodigious cooking capability of this approach. The system at the Shirdi shrine uses seventy-three parabolic reflectors mounted on the kitchen rooftop, and prepares food for 20,000 devotees daily. It is in use over 300 days per year. The remaining days it uses the back-up wood fired boiler, which had been their sole source for cooking until January 2011.

Another example of concentrating parabolic reflector techinology is used at the Auroville Solar Kitchen, a collective kitchen for the Auroville community, an "experimental" township in the Viluppuram district, in Tamil Nadu, India. It serves lunch daily in its dining hall, and sends lunches out to schools and to individuals as well. It derives its name from the large Auroville Solar Bowlon its roof, which provides the steam for cooking on all the sunny days of the year. Back-up steam, if needed, is provided by a diesel fired boiler.

Using direct sunlight

Scheffler Kitchen

Egypt’s first Scheffler Community Kitchen at El Sherouk Farm near Alexandria using sunlight directly.

Institutional, or community systems, can also use large Parabolic solar reflectors to focus sunlight directly onto a cooking chamber, often with an integral grilling surface used with the Scheffler Community Kitchen.

A smaller scale example of a parabolic community solar cooker is the Community Solar Cooker 3 SQ MT designed by Ajay Chandak.

Scheffler reflector principles

Paul Munsen Flickr

Paul Munsen demonstrates a Villiager Sun Oven.

A solar box cooker approach, scaled for community use, has been created by Sun Ovens International, and is called the Villager Sun Oven. Villager Sun Ovens are currently in use in fifty-five countries around the world. The primary use is for large scale feeding or for bakeries. The oven is capable of reaching temperatures in excess of 260°C (500°F).

There is an optional 150 piece Sun-Bakery package, enabling the creation of a self-sustaining micro-enterprise to turn out fresh baked goods, while creating jobs and eliminating the cost of fuel. Some schools use a Villager oven to cook lunches and then bake bread in the afternoon. The bread is sold to help generate income.

Audio and video

  • July 2015:
National Geographic Channel India 's Megakitchens 28 June 2015 21min 57sec 11 30am-121:58

National Geographic Channel India 's Megakitchens 28 June 2015 21min 57sec 11 30am-1

National Geographic Channel India 's Megakitchen at Shirdi

  • July 2014:
Otte Relevant factors for the successful adoption of institutional solar cookers06:49

Otte Relevant factors for the successful adoption of institutional solar cookers

  • March 2010:
Shirdi - Solar Cooking for 100,000 - CNN02:01

Shirdi - Solar Cooking for 100,000 - CNN.flv

Deepak Gadhia explains the workings of the Scheffler solar cooking kitchen at Shirdi in Maharashtra, India.


Articles in the media

See also

All Institutional solar cookers

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