Last updated: 21 October 2016
Solar array cooker designs can be identified by their assembly of many smaller flat plane mirrors arranged on a framework to concentrate the light on the cooking vessel. In many ways they mimic the features of a parabolic solar reflector by focussing the light to a specific spot on the cook pot, rather than the more diffuse focus of a solar panel cooker. Also similar to the parabolic style cooker, the array will need to be reoriented more frequently than solar panel cookers and solar box cookers to maintain high cooking temperatures.
One advantage of this style of solar cooker is the use of simple construction materials. The mirrored surfaces are flat panels, not requiring the complex curved shape of parabolic cookers. The metal frameworks to hold the mirrors can be assembled by craftspeople with basic welding skills. Due to the relatively large size and geometry of some designs, the array cookers typically need to be reoriented by hand and can require more ground space than other solar cookers. Some large solar array cookers do employ sophisticated tracking systems. Depending on the layout of the mirrors, solar array style cookers can incorporate a large cooking chamber for production baking, making them a possible solution for for a solar bakery.
Smaller style designs that focus the light from below the cookpot, offer the advantage of having the surface supporting the cook pot to be at a typical kitchen counter height, which allows the cooks to comfortably stand and attend to the cooking food.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Mirrored reflectors are flat panels, not requiring the complex curved shape of parabolic cookers, they can still reach temperatures typical of parabolic cookers
- The metal frameworks to hold the mirrors can be assembled by craftspeople with basic welding skills
- Due to the relatively large size and geometry of some designs, they typically need to be reoriented by hand or by a mechanical tracking system
- Can require more ground space than other solar cookers
- Scroll down to see versions of solar array cooker designs. Click on the titles below or photo titles to see individual articles.