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Last updated: February 10, 2015      

EventsEdit

ArizonaEdit

  • Saturday, April 11, 2015: (Tucson) Join Citizens for Solar for the 33rd Solar Potluck and Exhibition happening at Catalina State Park. Experience the flavors of solar-cooked food and explore solar appliances, exhibitions (ovens, fountains, coolers, lights, electrical systems), and solar arts. The event is co-sponsored by Arizona State Parks. The event runs 10:00 a.m. - Sunset. More information...

CaliforniaEdit

Sacramento Solar Cooking Festival 2014

Scenes from last year's festival in Sacramento

  • Saturday, July 18, 2015: (Sacramento) The 2nd annual Sacramento Solar Cooking Festival will be held once again in William Land Park from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Solar chefs interested in cooking at the festival are required to pre-register, which will begin in May, 2015. Attend mini solar-cooking classes, learn how solar cooking helps families around the world, and learn how to make a solar cooker yourself. Video of the 2014 festival can be seen at: Sacramento Solar Cooking Festival 2014

UtahEdit

WisconsinEdit

  • April 2015: (Dodgeville) An exhibition of Solar Energy Architectonics by Joel Goodman is scheduled at the Iowa County Courthouse (both floor levels), in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, USA for the month of April. Drawings and model photographs will be presented including: the BIETR (building interior evacuated tubes and reflectors) project, building integrated nonimaging reflector troughs (interior and exterior), thru-wall solar cookers, heliostats (2-axis tracking and 1-axis tracking linear Fresnel systems), spherical reflector segment bowls, and thermal storage.

VirginiaEdit

News and recent developmentsEdit

  • January 2015: Irene Perbal has explained how she used her experience promoting solar cooking in Sudan and Brazil to help out back in her home state of California, USA. She has been encouraging the use of solar cooking at local food banks. She began doing talks and seminars to train locals on how to build and use the cookers, including the underserved frequenting the food banks. Often her presentation includes sharing a lunch of solar cooked lasagne. Thinking Globally and Acting Locally - Huffington Post
  • December 2014: In an article for National Geographic, Chef José Andrés writes about his pop-up restaurant, Sunny Day, which he opened at the Life is Beatufiul event in Las Vegas, NV. Sunny Day used solar cookers to cook their signature dish, vegetarian tacos, during the day and clean-burining ethanol in the evening. Read article...
  • November 2014: As part of the "What I'm Thankful For" series, José Andrés explains that he is thankful that his family has a simple and safe method to cook their food, and how solar cooking and other fuel-efficient cooking methods are bringing this benefit to the world's poor, for whom access to traditional cooking fuels is becoming more difficult and expensive every year. Read more...
Andres2
  • October 2014: At the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, NV, José Andrés debuted Sunny Day, his new solar-powered pop-up restaurant. His goal for the new pop-up restaurant is to educate Americans about clean cooking around the world. Interview with José Andrés
  • September 2014: Hawaii company awards solar energy grants - Hawaii Pacific Solar (HPS), a Maui-based solar PV design and installation company, has awarded two education grants totaling $2,718 for solar energy-related projects at Hokulani Elementary School and King William C. Lunalilo Elementary School, both Kaimuki Complex schools. A $500 grant was awarded to Aiea Elementary School to build a solar oven out of recycled products using renewable energy. Read more...
  • September 2014: Raquel Redshirt presented her solar cooker design at the TEDxABQ 2014 conference in Albuquerque, NM on September, 6 2014. She stated that her solar cooker was a more health-conscious option in her community which has a high rate of diabetes. Read more...
Sun Juicer image, 8-21-14

The Sun Juicer lightweight parabolic solar cooker

  • September 2014: Leonel Gotlibowski and The Sun Juicer completed a successful Kickstarter campaign! They set a goal of $15,000 and raised a total of $19,152. They describe the Sun Juicer as an emergency ultralight, compact, parabolic solar cooker. Read more...
  • August 2014: A group of volunteers known as the Haiti Solar Oven Partners from First United Methodist Church of Jamestown, North Dakota recently traveled to Moffit, N.D., to help fabricate solar ovens to be used in Haiti. Teams of volunteers travel to Haiti each year to live in communities that have invited them. For ten days, these volunteers work with Haitians to build ovens and educate people about solar cooking. Their goal is to deliver 2,300 solar ovens plus hands-on training to Haitian families every year. Read more...
Sacramento festival 2014
  • July 2014: Solar cooking conference extols virtues of cookers to developing world (Sacramento Bee) - Hundreds of people Saturday cooked using only the power of the sun – a practice little used in the United States, but considered a liberating tool for women in developing countries that also helps curb greenhouse gas emissions. Read more...
  • July 2014: Results of the US Solar Cooking Survey were presented by Natalia Blackburn at the American Solar Energy Society's SOLAR 2014 conference in San Francisco. During the afternoon of the paper's presentation, solar cooker volunteers, Judy, Rene, and two local elementary school students, brought in panel cookers, a box cooker, and an evacuated tube cooker for display. They talked about their solar cooking projects and answered questions. Judy had baked up scones in the San Francisco morning sun, so that the mostly photo-voltaic oriented crowd could taste what solar cooking was all about.
See older news...

The History of Solar Cooking in the USAEdit

Some of the many solar cooking non-governmental organizations based in the US are Solar Cookers International (SCI), Rotary International, the Solar Oven Society, the Solar Oven Society, and Solar Household Energy, Inc.

No precise numbers are available, but estimates suggest that perhaps as many as 10,000 Americans use solar cookers regularly. The electrical utility of the area, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), has been a strong supporter of solar energy usage. SMUD serves an area of more than a million people. Under earlier leadership, it pioneered the development of cleaner electricity generation, including building the first solar powered generating station in the United States. It has offered rebates for replacing old appliances with energy efficient equipment, it cooperated in planting of trees to lower the cost of air conditioning to consumers, as examples. For purposes of this report, it is important to note the strong support of SMUD for solar cooking education, including outreach to schools and community organizations. They have placed solar cookers with Scout troops, offered workshops in 65 schools of the area, and made available plans to build cookers to customers throughout their service area. In 1991, SMUD even produced a solar cooking cookbook. Reducing the use of electricity is in everyone's interest; this interesting example of a public utility's contribution to solar cooking as one contribution to solving the problem was noteworthy.

George Lof Unbroiler

The "Umbroiler" parabolic solar cooker designed by George Lof, in use with his daughter, Linnea, in 1955.

George Lof, a former director of the Industrial Research Institute at the University of Denver, Colorado, was an early pioneer of solar-powered techonolgy, including solar cooking. In the fifties, he experimented with a parabolic solar cooker design that he dubbed the "Umbroiler" because of its umbrella-like structure. He marketed the design, but it was a commercial failure for the times.

Considerable activity can also be found in the state of Arizona, probably the sunniest of the U.S. fifty states. The most important solar cooking fact about Arizona is that Barbara Kerr, the foremost expert on solar cooking in the U.S., lives in a small community in this state. She has created, and lives in, a Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center that demonstrates a wide range of ways to live lightly, rather than destructively, on the earth. Barbara is the author of several books (The full text of one is here) and articles on solar cooking, the creator and marketer (with her colleague, Sherry Cole) of a cardboard box cooker, the refiner of the CooKit as the first inexpensive but efficient solar cooker, and a never-ending source of information to those who seek her knowledge on the internet. A visit to Taylor, Arizona, is a trip to an important piece of solar cooking history.

Solar devices are also manufactured in this area. Early pioneers, Bob Larson and his wife Heather Larson, produced cookbooks and plans for solar dryers until their untimely deaths. Jay Campbell, a New Mexican engineer, has invented a range of cooking devices that won prizes for ingenuity and efficiency, though he is not a manufacturer but rather an idea person. One firm, Zone Works, makes and sells parabolics out of Albuquerque.

Unlikely as it may sound, the state of Minnesota has also made contributions to the development of the solar cooking. Mike and Martha Port, founders of the Solar Oven Society, have worked in a variety of Central American and Caribbean nations on various projects. Recently, they completed research and development of a new cooker, manufactured from recycled soda bottles; the device will help to fill the gap between the very inexpensive (but not so long lasting) CooKit and the more expensive box or parabolic cookers. With the assistance of a small business development grant from the State of Minnesota, charitable contributions from a range of churches and organizations, and the dedicated volunteer labor of the Ports over many years, they have recently been able to begin the sale and marketing, both in the U.S. and abroad, of the Sport. A collectivity of Minnesota churches made possible the shipment of 400 unassembled cookers to Afghanistan for sale at a subsidized price to people whose need for cooking energy is great.

The Nevada Solar Cookers Association was formed to share recipes, ideas and stories, and to spread the news about solar cooking in their area [1].

While use of the solar cooker is not unknown in the U.S. it is by no means widely used. Most work of American promoters appears to have been devoted to projects in other parts of the world.

Archived articlesEdit

Climate, Culture, and Special ConsiderationsEdit

ResourcesEdit

Possible funders for solar cooking projects in the USAEdit

See Raising funds through grants and donations.

ReportsEdit

Articles in the mediaEdit

Audio and videoEdit

  • January 2011:
Fun in the sun Solar cooking (04 24 09)02:01

Fun in the sun Solar cooking (04 24 09)

Ben Brown of Charlotte,Michigan, USA demonstrates solar cooking at the Charlotte Coummunity Library, 2009.

  • July 2010:
Navajo Students Native Sun Fresnel Solar Cooker03:49

Navajo Students Native Sun Fresnel Solar Cooker.mov

  • July 2009:
Solar Potluck06:42

Solar Potluck

Solar Cookout sponsored by Sustainable NE Seattle, Washington, USA 2010

Solar cooking blogsEdit

Solar cooking clubsEdit

USA contactsEdit

Resources by state or provinceEdit

USA
[×] Alabama
[×] Alaska
[×] Arizona
[×] Florida
Hawaii
[×] Idaho
[×] Indiana
[×] Iowa
[×] Kansas
[×] Maine
[×] Montana
[×] Nevada
[×] Ohio
[×] Oregon
[×] Texas
[×] Utah

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)Edit

Government agenciesEdit

Educational institutionsEdit

IndividualsEdit

Manufacturers and vendorsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit


Gallery of manufacturers and vendorsEdit

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