Blog: Understanding Solar 3

17 June 2014

I have spent hours trying to gain enough information about the fragmented solar cooker market to enable me to devise a methodology to address it. I asked myself - where do I start? This blog encapsulates my desk research meanderings over the past few days.

In case you are not aware, there are three main types of solar cookers – panel, box and parabolic. More information can be found at: www.solarcookers.org/basics/how.html

I have been trying to find information online about use of solar cookers, and particularly low-cost solar panel cookers, amongst the different target user groups mentioned previously – ie refugees (or displaced people), survivors of natural disasters, destitute families and low income households – but of course, the information doesn’t fit neatly into these segments. Much information is out of date, and for all of the projects I read about I need to know: What happened next? Did the project succeed? What is the situation now?
 
After much searching, I came across a webinar www.ises-online.de/what-we-do/events/webinars/webinar04-april-2014 , during which the speakers present historic and current information about solar cooking in different countries and contexts. A few points:  There are sufficient case studies to demonstrate that in situations where there are few (if any) alternatives and when there is sufficient training and support, women will adopt solar cooking – and the cookers do work. Problems arise when other options become available, for example through subsidised access to cheap firewood or charcoal or when families become able to afford cooking fuel they will abandon or significantly reduce the use of their solar cookers.   There are a number of reasons for this, such as deeply ingrained customs and traditions, product durability, lack of repair services or replacements.  One web page I encountered describes why a solar cooking project in Kenya failed:  “…cooking our food in the open – it is a strong taboo for several tribes, and with good reason – in areas and times of near starvation, showing others that you have food is not good manners”. (www.admittingfailure.com/failure/mattias-goldmann/).
 
At this point I really do need a simple framework for my desk research, so I am setting up a spreadsheet to address the current state of solar cooking in target countries, segmented by user groups (if possible). Where to target? Solar Cookers International has compiled a list of twenty countries with the highest potential for solar cooking. Criteria for this ranking include annual average sunlight, cooking fuel scarcity and population size. Of the estimated 500 million people who have abundant sunshine and suffer from fuel scarcity, 85% of them live in just 10 countries (www.solarcookers.org/basics/where.html ). I also want to explore the potential for solar panel cookers in sunny European countries as there may be some excellent potential markets nearer to home.
 
I am hoping that this exercise will help lead me to the most attractive markets for our cookers.
 
Any comments or insights will be much appreciated.
 


 

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Comments

Thanks Andreas, we look forward to hearing your good news!

Best wishes

Viv

Viv Sloan, 18 June 2014


My opinion on the subject how to adopt solar cooking on our daily life is this:
1) Solar cookers are designed to be an outdoor cooking activity like BBQ witch eliminate the times that the solar cookers used (at list in Europe ) .
2) For many woman's it is very difficult to use solar cooking because they fill unsecure to leave the food out , under the sun and wind.
3) Sum times they don't like to show to any one how they cook . It always attract the interest of the people to see sum one to use solar cookers.

The solution is one:
Indoor solar cooker in a wall looking south witch is very difficult mater for the moment . I'm working on this solution and very soon I will have sum good news to make.

Friendly.

Andreas

Andreas Fasoulides, 17 June 2014