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Solar Cooking:This week's featured article/2008-08-03

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Fun-Panel 45 degree view

The Fun-Panel solar panel cooker can be built in about an hour from a single cardboard box and some aluminum foil. This is significant since traditional solar panel cookers such as the CooKit often require a large sheet of cardboard for construction. The Fun-Panel can also be adjusted more easily for different sun angles. This very powerful cooker is a true breakthough.

Teong Tan, the inventor, based the cooker on Steven Jones's Funnel Cooker with the following changes: The Funnel cooker is very efficient in capturing sunlight with its 60° conical reflecting surface. However, it has an unstable shape that makes it difficult to keep the cooker and the pot in position. Also it is not possible to fit a regular size cooking pot into a regular size Funnel cooker because of limited space at the lower end of the cooker. The Fun-Panel retains the very efficient conical reflecting surface of the funner cooker but eliminates its disadvantages.


  • It's easy to figure out how to cut and fold using the cardboard from a single box -- you don't need a big sheet of perfect cardboard.
  • All cuts are 90 degree cuts -- no curves.
  • It is easily scaled to the size of cardboard box you have on hand.
  • You can cook at low sun angles (morning and evening or high latitudes)


  • This cardboard cooker is not waterproof.

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