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Solar Cookers

Updated on March 14, 2014
Solar Ovens
Solar Ovens

Letting The Sun Provide The Energy

Solar ovens, also known as solar cookers, are cooking devises that use sunlight as its main energy source.  Generally, when you use a solar oven you do not have to use any other energy source.  Because no other energy is used, solar ovens are a great way to make great food and save costs, help the environment and save money at the same time.   This is especially important in developing nations that still use wood as the main source of energy that are also facing problems with deforestation and other problems caused by limited resources.

Light And Heat From The Sun Is Absorbed To Create A Cooking Surface
Light And Heat From The Sun Is Absorbed To Create A Cooking Surface

How A Solar Oven Works

There are many different types of solar ovens but almost all have the same basic principles. A devise like a mirror or other reflective material concentrates light and heat from the sun onto a small cooking area. The light from the sun is converted to heat by absorption into a dark pan or surface and the heat is trapped in the cooker. Most solar ovens use several different methods to achieve the end goal which is to absorb enough light and heat sufficient for cooking a great meal.

There Are Many Different Types Of Solar Ovens
There Are Many Different Types Of Solar Ovens

Types of Solar Ovens

On today’s market there are over 65 different designs of solar ovens with hundreds of different variations.  Generally, however, solar ovens can be classified into five different categories: box ovens, panel ovens, solar kettles, parabolic ovens and hybrid ovens.  While all types have the same basic purpose, each provides excellent heating methods in different weather situations.  To be safe, however, the hybrid cooker is probably the safest bet as it comes equipped with conventional oven systems for those days when the sun just will not cooperate.

Generally, Solar Ovens Are Used The Same Way Conventional Ovens Are Used
Generally, Solar Ovens Are Used The Same Way Conventional Ovens Are Used

How to Use a Solar Oven

Generally, food is prepared the same way on a solar oven as any other oven or stovetop.  However, because of the concentration of heat on a solar cooker, food is generally cut into smaller pieces to account for the limited cooking spaces.  Cooking times depend on the food being used, the devise in play and the weather conditions.  It is best to do some research on what solar oven suits your particular needs. 

Solar Ovens Provide Advantages And Disadvantages
Solar Ovens Provide Advantages And Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of using a solar oven are many.  First, solar ovens are part of an overall alternative energy strategy and can go a long way to preserve precious natural resources.  Second, after an initial cost of building or purchasing a readymade solar oven, an individual user can save money on energy costs.  Third, solar ovens are fairly lightweight and compact making them easy to take along on camping trips and other outdoor events.

However, there are also some disadvantages to solar ovens. First, solar ovens are not fully accepted in the mainstream and many oppose them because they are much different than traditional cooking methods.  Second, because they are solar ovens, they may not always be at the ready depending on weather conditions.  Third, most solar ovens take more time to properly cook food than conventional ovens and therefore take more planning for cook time.





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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks so much Sally

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 

      7 years ago from Only In Texas!

      Terrific info and excellent photos! Voted up and useful, many thanks! :)

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for the comment. I have used a solar oven a few times and found that they work great.

    • greatAmerican profile image


      9 years ago

      Love that sun oven, it works great here in the sunny SW,,

      I have had it for more than one year, and I have built a

      few of those home made cookers, not bad but oven bags can get expensive. I did a hub on this subject months ago. I may have deleted it since it did not get many hits.


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