Solar Cookers International has rated India as the #1 country in the world in terms of solar cooking potential. See their main article: The 25 countries with the most solar cooking potential.
Climates that are mostly dry and sunny
- Solar cooking is most useful where there are a few hours midday at least six months of the year without rain, clouds, fog or dust storms.
Deforestation and fuel scarcities are prime motives for trying solar cooking
- Cost: Families spend a large part of their income for cooking fuels that were once free or very cheap.
- Labor: Many hours are spent gathering fuel from ever-longer distances. Children miss school to gather fuel.
- Nutrition: Diets altered by insufficient cooking fuel cause malnutrition. For example, families reduce cooking to one meal a day or less, or barter food for fuel, or turn away from nutritious foods like beans, which require long hours of cooking.
Health and safety problems
- Diseases: Widespread intestinal diseases cause child deaths from unsafe drinking water. Many suffer lung and eye diseases from smoke.
- Injuries: Injuries from carrying heavy loads of fuel are common. Children suffer serious burns from open fires.
Other factors favoring solar cooking
- Cooking is already done outside and there are sunny areas where the cooker(s) and food can safely be left unattended.
- Black cooking pots are already commonly used.
- Main meal(s) are at noon or later in the day or soon after sunset.
- Fires require constant attention to prevent food from burning.
- Fires create soot requiring a lot of pot scrubbing and add heat to cooking areas on hot days
Factors that accelerate spread and use
- Transportation and communication systems are adequate to distribute supplies (it is easier to promote in cities and towns than remote rural villages).
- A strong retailer distribution network helps.
- Political stability is sufficient to allow people to travel and exchange information.
- Gender roles allow/encourage women to participate in community groups and have some say in family financial matters.
- Few families are employed in wood gathering, making charcoal or selling other fuels.
- Public policies encourage – or at least not impede – sustainable technologies like solar cooking.
- Local businesses or women’s organizations want to promote solar cooking and endorse local efforts.
- Venture capital is available. This can be difficult as many funders expect dramatic results in unreasonably short times of two to five years. Costs of start-up and spreading public awareness are often high in new areas.