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 developmentsEdit
- 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.
- October 2011: Solar Serve News #31
- September 2011: Vietnam Solar Serve was introduced to a Social Entrepreneurs Support Program. Their aim was to identify and support social entrepreneurs at their early stages of development. Mr Bich, the director, felt to participate in this program along with 200 other entrepreneurs in Vietnam. There were three rounds. In each round participants dropped out and finally Bich had to stand in front of a panel. The result was made known on the first of September. Amazingly, mr Bich was at the top of the list and was chosen as the best social entrepreneur. It came along with 20,000 dollars worth as seed money to strengthen and to develop Solar Serve.
- August 2011: Vietnam Solar Serve provided a restaurant in Hoi An with a parabolic solar cooker. Immediately it caught the attention of the neighbors and tourists. Near this restaurant on Cam Nam Island, They decided on World Environment day (June 5th) to help several families with new parabolic cookers. All of them were very happy, and now a small solar village with twenty cookers has been established. They hope this will really benefit more families.
- July 2011: Vietnam Solar Serve has been recently contacted by a tourist agency in southern Vietnam. They are seriously thinking about establishing several solar villages. They asked Solar Serve if they could help them with solar cooking portion of the project. Several years ago VSS provided a small village near Marble Mountains with many solar cookers. It attracted many people and several reports were written in the newspapers. Due to government development plans however, this village has been recently removed.
- July 2011: Solar Serve News #30
- April 2011: Solar Serve News #29
- January 2011: Solar Serve News #28
- October 2010: Solar Serve News #27
- July 2010: Solar Serve News #26
- June 2010: Slideshow - World Environment Day in Danang - 05-06-2010
- April 2010: Solar Serve News #25
- January 2010: Solar Serve News #24
- December 2009: Carbon Footprints by Sam Miller - Pages 26-27 of Live Hoi An Magazine
- October 2009: Solar Serve News #23
- July 2009: With assistance from donors and the help of many
- July 2009: Solar Serve News #22
- May 2009: Cooking with the Sun. We found this video clip a few days ago. It was made by Surpreme Master Tv It covers our work from 2000 to 2005.
- April 2009: Solar Serve and the University of Danang received two awards in the 14th Creative Awards for Science and Technology Vietnam. Ceremony broadcast on Vietnamese national television.
- April 2009: Solar Serve News #21
- February 2009: Villagers go solar - Tuoi Tre
- October 2008: Solar Serve News #20
- October 2008:There is nothing new under the Sun. When you watched the Olympic Games you could see that in the ancient times a parabolic shaped bowl was used to light the Olympic torch. We are using the same principles in catching the fire. First we did it with our basket cooker, but changed it into a wooden one and now we make the cooker from aluminum. Also our parabolic cooker made progress and now we are able to make it in four parts. At the moment we are building a new community cooker. Our staff made an amazing clock from bicycle parts and now an impressive framework stands in front of the center. Yes, there is nothing new under the Sun, but it feels great when you are able to create something (like) new.
- August 2008: We received a telephone call from the University asking if we could help the people in Quang Tri, a province almost 300 km north of Danang. Our staff explored the area and they noticed that there were many trees in the countryside which could prevent people in using the solar cookers. But most of the families had an open area in front of their houses. During the dry season it is very hot in this province, so it is a good place for solar cooking. We decided to help more then 40 families with 30 box cookers and 10 parabolic cookers and next year we will help others near the border of Laos. We had to transport all the cookers by truck and after some education the families received their first cookers. They were very happy!
- July 2008: Solar Serve News #19
- July 2008: This year we are still in the news after we started our project in Hoa Quy village near our center. We provided many box and parabolic cookers for the local people (see also May 2008). Our desire is to make this village a solar cooking model for the whole region and even Vietnam. A combination of box cookers and parabolic cookers seems to be very successful. Last Saturday a TV station showed a 25 min documentary about this village. Even reporters are checking it out by themselves and find out that the people love it and are using the cookers daily when there is sunshine. Last week we got a telephone call from an official of the Environment department from North Vietnam. He has been visiting this village by himself too and was very excited. The solar cookers could stand the test.
- June 2008: On June 15th we decided to dedicate our new Solar Serve Center. We had a great time of celebration with at least 120 people together. We told the history of the building, showed a short power point presentation and thanked the people who have stood with us during this time. After that we had a wonderful meal prepared by our staff and other volunteers. Many people expressed their excitement and some of them believed that the building will soon be too small for all the work that will be in store.
- May 2008: In cooperation with the Danang University we have established a village near our Solar Serve center to become the first solar cooking village in Vietnam. We provided at least 50 box cookers and 20 parabolic cookers in the last few weeks and hope to add more in order to establish a good model. The locals loved it. They are using the solar cookers by themsleves and do not need our help anymore. Articles in national and local newspaper appeared and there was also a short TV report on local TV.
- April 2008: Solar Serve News #18
- April 2008: In our last newsletter we told you that we finished the foundation of the building. We felt that the factory was just a part of the building, so we renamed it Solar Serve Center. After the walls and pillars were built and the second floor was laid, things happened fast and if you see the pictures, maybe you will not believe your eyes. It’s wonderful and so exciting. We made an agreement with the contractor to finish the construction work within 6 months. That will bring us almost to the end of May.
- March 2008: In early 2007 the non-profit Solar Serve (SLS) organization was prematurely evicted from its solar cooker factory in Tamky. Though unfortunate, the incident created an opportunity to move the factory to Da Nang, which is more suitable for transport, materials acquisition, marketing, and access to labor. A search for a suitable building was unfruitful, and the financially difficult decision was made to purchase land for a new factory. In August, SLS acquired a 420-square-meter tract of land big enough for a factory and additional space for research and storage. It is located behind the Marble Mountains area, along the beach and the new road to Hoi An. SLS worked with an architect to design the building, which will house the factory on the first floor, and a show room and training rooms on the second floor.
- January 2008: Solar Serve News #17
- October 2007: Solar Serve News #16 *July 2007: In partnership with Dutch organization Solar Cooker Workgroup Sliedrecht NL, Vietnam Solar Serve (SLS) has developed a new solar box cooker for use in Vietnam. The previous SLS solar box cooker is made from wood, which is 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.
- July 2007: Solar Serve News #15
- April 2007: Solar Serve News #14
- January 2007: Solar Serve News #13
- November 2006: This year, the[Vietnam Solar Serve organization has been introducing solar cookers to the Raglai minority south of Phan Rang. Many Raglai cut and sell firewood for a living, and were a little hesitant to try solar cooking. They warmed to the idea over time. Solar Serve organized workshops, trained a person to conduct follow-up house visits, and ultimately provided 100 solar box cookers and 30 concentrator-type solar cookers to the community. One kind Vietnamese donor provided funds for 20 of the solar cookers. To celebrate International Environment Day, 70 Raglai solar cooked a feast of fish, beef, vegetables, rice, and curry for dozens of people, including some local authorities. Contact: Nguyen Tan Bich
- October 2006: Solar Serve News #12
- July 2006: Solar Serve News #11
- April 2006: Solar Serve News #10
- November 2005: The Vietnam Solar Serve organization reports overwhelming response to a nationally broadcast television documentary of their work promoting solar cookers around Da Nang, including many requests to bring solar cooking to southern areas of the country. As a result, Solar Serve conducted several workshops in Phan Rang, an area that is "like a desert. Hot, dry and sandy." Water contamination is rampant, according to Vietnam Solar Serve. "There is no clean water available but dirty river water has been pumped into an open drain system. Every day people are using this water for cooking, drinking and washing." High levels of illiteracy forced the Solar Serve staff to be creative in their workshops, in which participants ultimately assembled 100 solar box cookers and several parabolic cookers. A two-day celebration at the end of the workshops drew over 100 people, who feasted on solar-cooked fish, beef, curry, vegetables and rice.
- October 2005: Solar Serve News #9
- July 2005: Solar Serve News #8
- April 2005: Solar Serve News #7
- January 2005: Solar Serve News #6
- October 2004: Solar Serve News #5
- July 2004: Solar Serve News #4
- April 2004: Solar Serve News #3
- January 2004: Solar Serve News #2
- October 2003: Solar Serve News #1
Design and manufacturingEdit
- 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 videoEdit
Solar Serve publicationsEdit
- 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