Last updated: 7 January 2017
Vietnam Solar Serve is an organization of volunteers that promotes solar cooking in Vietnam. They support charitable projects and also runs a social green enterprise. The aim of both is to benefit all people, poor and rich, with alternative energy and helping them to use it properly. It will also provide jobs for local and disadvantaged people in building the devices at their Solar Serve center.
Vietnam Solar Serve started in 2000 and has so far provided more than 1750 box and parabolic cookers (updated 2012).
Many people in Vietnam still depend on coal, straw, leaves or wood for cooking. Open fires contribute to air pollution and cause lung and eye diseases owing to people spending time in hot and smoky kitchens. This traditional cooking method also compels women and children to walk for hours each day to find wood for daily cooking.
Vietnam receives 1400-2000 hours of sunshine per year in the north and 2000-3000 hours per year in the central and southern part, but not many people take advantage of solar energy for daily cooking. Only one basic solar cooker is needed to save lives, money, time and even the environment
Since 2000, simple solar cookers for cooking food have been introduced by Solar Serve in Vietnam. 1500 families (updated 2008) have been provided and almost 79% are using these solar cookers frequently. People have been able to save money, time and even improve their health.
Over the years, local people have progressively adopted solar cooking as an alternative cooking method. Therefore Solar Serve hopes to benefit more people in cooking with free solar energy in the coming years.
News and recent developments
- April 2017: Solar Serve News #51During a social enterprise conference in Singapore one man from Myanmar became interested in our work and asked if he could send some workers to Danang so we could teach them how to make our products. Although one of his workers could not come, the man himself arrived with his family and two workers in April and we were able to teach them for one week. They are great people and eager to learn. First there was a day of teaching the principles of all instruments and after that the practical aspects and making the instruments (parabol & clean cooker) with our workers. It worked out very well!
- January 2017: Solar Serve News #50 We made a suggestion to friends in Vietnam that our solar lamp "Light of the World” was available as a Christmas gift to bless families, friends or staff of their organization. We have done this with our own staff and they were very happy with it. The good thing about our lamp is that it is a solid product that can be used for years in comparison to the cheaper ones on the market. The lamps are still available for other occasions to bless people in areas where electricity can be a problem. Even mobile phones (etc.) can be recharged with it.
- November 2016:
- September 2016:How to use our new solar lamp This is our latest solar product.] This time a handy solar light for fishermen, farmers, local people and minorities in the mountains, when they run out of electricity. Watch this clip and you will understand why we get excited in helping those people with our new solar lamp. They are made in our Solar Serve Center in Danang - Vietnam.
- August 2016: New YouTube video clips Please check up our latest YouTube video clips in English and Vietnamese.
- July 2016: Solar Serve News #48 “Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.” Although the origin of this proverb is not clear, it helps us to explain what we are doing as Solar Serve. It is more than only making solar ovens or clean cookers, or any human effort to help others. For us it is important that people learn to fish well, so that they can stand strong in life. What a joy if we are able to help people to learn fishing. Here are some stories:
- April 2016: Solar Serve News #47 A man from France came to visit us in Danang. He runs a restaurant in Vung Tau, a popular seaside resort in the south of Vietnam. He knew all about solar cookers and other environmentally friendly devices. He was very excited and wanted to buy several devices for his restaurant (three box cookers, two parabols and three clean cookstoves). He also ordered two solar lamps. For us it was interesting that after several years someone requested our boxcookers again. Because of the sunny weather in the south they could be an attraction for tourists eating in his restaurant.
- April 2016: A Portable Clean Cookstove Our latest video.*
- January 2016: Solar Serve News #46 The year 2016 is already several days old. Our wish for you is that everything will turn out for good. Don’t give up! Although the world is shaking, we have decided not to hold back. There are still many things to do. We learn from the ants that they refuse to take it easy. They are working hard and storing up against the coming time. We also do not want to just look a few feet in front of us by not preparing for the future. So, here are some goals for the coming year!
- October 2015: Solar Serve News #45 There are 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. Most of the minorities live in the mountains and are hard to reach. We needed open areas for our solar cooker projects, but this was not always possible in places with lots of trees. But since we helped them also with our clean cookers, things changed. We already have been working with seven different minorities (see picture).
- July 2015: Solar Serve News #44 For 15 years we have been doing charity work and since 2006 we are also running a social enterprise. It was not always easy to work with products depending on the environment. It was sometimes very hard to change the mindset of people. We learned a lot. The turn came when we included the clean cookstoves in our work. It became a good alternative in combination with the parabolic cookers. It improved people’s health, finances but also the environment. This is one of the reasons why we kept on going after 15 years. And thanks to you, that we have never felt alone.
- June 2015: An amazing small clean cookstove This new clean cookstove is a great cooking alternative when there is no sunshine. Just watch the introduction on Youtube.
- April 2015: Solar Serve News #43 Here we are again. In Solar Serve we all have our responsibility and it is good that we can use our talents. Creativity is needed when we meet new challenges. The last few months we have been working together with several other agencies, organizations and social enterprises. It was good to work together. We also received some training and now we are able to pass it on to others. Here are some of the latest stories.
- October 2014: Solar Serve News #42 A middle-aged man came to visit us. In the Vietnamese war he lost his arm during a bomb explosion. It was hard for him to grow up especially when he was young and full of energy. He finally left Vietnam and ended up in Europe. After many years he was able to forgive and wanted to visit his country again. He had to face the wounds of the past but was very courageous and very serious in showing forgiveness. He even offered to help us a few days with one of our designs. It was great to see him working at our center with a passion to help. Very touching!
- Septemeber 2014: Youtube: 100 parabolic cookers & 100 clean cookstoves for low income families On August 19th till 21st (2014) Solar Serve supplied 100 parabolic cookers & 100 clean cookstoves for low-income families in three villages near Hoi An city with the support of a recycling shop in Sliedrecht (Holland).
- July 2014: Solar Serve News #41 We received a letter from Energy Globe, that we as Solar Serve were the national winner of the Energy Globe Award 2014 for Vietnam. With more than 160 participating countries and over 1000 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that safeguard resources such as energy or develop renewable or emission-free sources. Unfortunately, we were not able to receive the award, but were honored for this recognition. Read more...
- April 2014: Solar Serve News #40
- January 2014: Solar Serve News #39
- October 2013: Solar Serve News #38 We just finished the Mid-Autumn Festival, with gifts, lanterns, drums, lion dances and special dishes to eat. A very special dish is the moon cake. Companies buy expensive moon cakes for their workers or customers. This year the festival was surrounded by rain and storm, so many children could not participate in it and many moon cakes were left over. For us it was more a start of new excitement, which we would like to share in this letter.
- July 2013: Solar Serve News #37 Every three months Solar Serve writes their newsletter with all their past, present and future activities. This year it was 13 years ago that they officially started Solar Serve. Their first newsletter was written in 2003. At the moment they are preparing themselves for difficult times ahead. It could be for solar aid to anyone and everywhere.
- June 2013: See and Believe - Thấy và Tin' is a short video clip to make you believe that cooking with the sun is possible. Explore our website: www.vietnamsolarserve.org or watch our Youtube Solar Serve video clips.
- April 2013: Solar Serve News #36 Climate change affected Vietnam a few weeks ago when over 10,000 houses were damaged and at least 26 people were injured during a hail storm in the northern Lao Cai province. Hail may fall during the transitional period between dry and wet seasons, but hailstones measuring up to 10 cm in diameter are very rare. It reminded us again that we as Solar Serve should make products in order to protect the environment and also, when a disaster hits the country, we can provide simple and effective solutions. For example: What can be used when there is no water, gas, electricity or other necessities after a disaster? Please share with us your ideas too and we will be happy to think it over.
- April 2013: We made a new brochure before we attended the Clean Cooking Forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from March 18-22. We will inform you later in our newsletter about the event, but for now we invite you to have a look at our new folder.
- January 2013: Solar Serve News #35 We made more solar cookers and improved some models. We also finished the 150 clean stoves. Our staff left at four o’clock in the morning our Center to two villages near the ancient city of Hue. The truck was fully loaded and people were already waiting for them. After explaining the benefits and usage of the stoves to the people and farmers, the local authorities were able to hand out the stoves. They were sponsored by a organisation involved in health, gender and climate programs. A great way to help people. People were so thankful. Not long after we received another order and felt that the clean stoves are a good replacement, when it is raining and a solar cannot be used. The weight is 4 kg and the cost is reasonable (around 25 US dollars). This is a great way for organizations to help poor people in cooking clean, protecting their health and the environment, and also save money in fuel costs.
- November 2012: Since 1997 we have been testing our solar cookers. During the summer months the use of solar cookers is for many people a blessing. But after all those years there was still one major question: "But when it's raining, what do we do?" The main answer was to encourage people to return to their old way of cooking, but it never satisfied us. In 2007, during an exhibition in Nepal they showed us several clean cooking stoves. We talked with some people about their benefits. Was this the answer to the above question and a good alternative? After several years of researching and asking around, finally in 2011, we came up with our own model. It worked so well, that local farmers near Hue city (Vietnam) became very interested. In November 2012 we made 170 clean cooking stoves for them and when they received them they were very excited. So, it became a great alternative when there is no sun! Watch this short video clip!
- October 2012: Vietnam Solar Serve News No. 34 Vietnam Solar Serve explains how they have incorporated clean cookstoves with solar cooking to better serve local cooks. Till now it has been a good year for us and we are excited for the new things to come. In our 34th newsletter we mainly tell about our new challenge and show you some pictures, besides our ongoing solar cooker projects.
- August 2012: A team of three French students came to visit our Solar Serve Center. They had organized a "Global Universities' Social Trip" (GUST), a project, that aimed to raise students' awareness of social entrepreneurship in Asia. For six months they met many social entrepreneurs throughout Asia, who worked on problems such as energy, communication, waste, water, housing... and made videos that presented the entrepreneurs' projects, the social issues they wanted to solve and the challenges they had to overcome. Here is the video (click on picture) they made on their visit to our Solar Serve Center in Danang. For more information on the Gust Project, visit the: Gust project or visit the: Vimeo Channel
- July 2012: Solar Serve News #33 After winning the CSIP award in 2011, a lot of things changed and a whole new scale of support and advice came together with it. A consultant encouraged us to design a new cooker which can be used for boiling water. This seems to be the greatest need at the moment. As a result we redesigned several models and will test them in the coming months.
- April 2012: Solar Serve News #32
- April 2012: Vietnam Solar Serve has provided a recent video tour of their production facility in Da Nang, Vietnam. The resourceful group has been adapting solar cooker designs from other countries and developing their own solar energy products. Looking at the larger alternative energy picture, they also promote photovoltaic panels made in Vietnam and are working on designs for water and wind power turbines. They manufacture a variety of solar cookers including parabolic and box cookers.
Design and manufacturing
- Box cookers: In partnership with Dutch organization Solar Cooker Workgroup Sliedrecht NL, we have developed a new lightweight solar box cooker for use in Vietnam. The previous SLS solar box cooker was made from wood, which was increasing difficult to purchase in Vietnam. The new cooker is made from aluminum sheets that are shaped using two molds, one for the inner box and one for the outer box. It weights only 12 kg.See also: Solar Serve box cooker-
|Two molds are used for the inner and outer box of the new solar box cooker|
- Parabolic cookers: Besides making our present parabolic cooker, we have been asked to design a parabolic cooker easy for transport. We used the same mold of our present parabolic cooker (1.30m) and divided it in four parts. It took some time, but we came up with the cooker you see in the pictures below. We also made the stand foldable. The new four-part parabolic cooker is working well and weights only 23 kg. It fits in 100 x 80 x 20 cm carton boxes, which is good for transport. The deaf workers were very excited when we got some orders from Canada and Holland. See also: Solar Serve parabolic cooker-
|Parabolic disc in four parts. A foldable stand. Weight: 23 kg. Fits in a 100 x 80 20 cm carton box|
- Box cookers and parabolic cookers are available upon request.
- History- Brief Solar Serve history in pictures
- Photo gallery- Solar Serve photo gallery
Audio and video
Solar Serve publications
- Solar Serve News- Solar Serve Newsletters
- English - Vietnamese - Dutch - Solar Serve fliers for printing
- Bich's story: Unlikely partners develop solar cooker for the poor
- March 2008: Reducing black carbon - Solar Serve and Solar Cookers Internatinal - Global warning video clip
- June 2007: 1,200 solar energy cookers for remote areas - Peoples Army Daily
- July 2006: An audio interview with Solar Serve director Nguyen Tan Bich discussing the work of his group
- November 2005: Unlikely partners develop solar cooker for the poor - VietNamNet Bridge
- May 2005: More locals in central Vietnam exposed to solar cookers - Thanh Nien Daily
- November 2004: Insight from Vietnam's Solar Serve organization
Tel: +84 0511 - 3 967 108
Mobile: 0919 511 552