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Solar Cooking in Central American Solar Energy Project (CASEP)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on June 24, 2009

This document and website provide detailed information about the Central American Solar Energy Project (CASEP), which promotes the construction and use of solar cookers in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The project has an environmental purpose - promoting the use of solar thermal energy for cooking – as well as a social function, empowering women, by helping them to develop other skills, through constructing and using solar cookers.

The project, started in the late 90s, was conceived with small and remote communities in mind with a view to allowing them to use a technology that is cheaper, doesn’t threaten the forest ecosystem and reduces the number of health hazards due to open fire cooking, besides taking advantage of the highly favourable climate for solar thermal applications.

The solar cooker construction is quite simple. It is made of a wooden box set inside another box, surrounded by insulation. The oven is covered by two panes of glass through which sunlight passes to heat the oven to an average temperature of 150°C. The stove can be built from locally obtainable materials and at a very reasonable price. The energy provided by these ovens can reach temperatures of 150°C on average with good sun.

The first results of the project were very encouraging, with 130 families switching from wood, electricity or gas to solar cooking. Moreover, it lead to a reduction of GHG emissions and deforestation, health improvement as solar cookers, unlike wood, do not produce smoke and better recognition of the role of women within society.

 

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