How to make a low cost solar cooker

How to make a very low cost solar cooker in minutes that works great for less than $10

In fact these low cost solar cookers work so well they are better than many other more expensive solar cookers.

First gather up the following items

 

  • A Reflective accordion-folding car sunshade (there’s one here in my shop, if you’re going to order one I would suggest getting 3 at once as they can get a bit floppy after you’ve used it 50 times or more.  It’s always good to have another one handy if you want to cook a few things at once)
  • A wire frame or grill, you can cut up an old oven rack if you have one handy
  • Self adhesive Hook and loop Velcro (there are some here in our shop)
  • A Bucket or dig a cone shaped hole in the ground around the same diameter as a bucket.
  • A Black pot (it must be black or really dark) to absorb the sun’s heat.  The black pot out of a slow-cooker works great.
  • A large plastic baking bag (you can normally get a packet of these from the local supermarket)

 

In this exercise we will be making a solar funnel oven

Car sun screen used for low cost solar cooker

Lay the sunshade out with the notched side toward you, as above.

  1. Cut three pieces of hook and loop Velcro 5 cm or 2 inches long.
  2. Stick the hook onto the topside of the edge left of the notch and the loop onto the underside of the edge right of the notch.  These should be spaced the same on both sides so they will attach to each other when you fold the sunshade into a funnel.  If the self-adhesive lifts you may want to hand sew the Velcro in place.
  3. Make a funnel shape with the reflective surface of the sunshade on the inside and press the Velcro pieces together
  4. Set the funnel on top of a bucket or cone shaped hole in the ground.
  5. Put your food in the black pot and the pot in the clear backing bag … make sure you tie the back closed with a twisty tie.  It works best if you put the hole end of the bag under the pot as it will help prevent hot air escaping.
  6. Place the pot on top of a square cake rack.  Place the rack inside the funnel so it rests on the top edges of the bucket or cone shaped hole.  As the sunshade material is soft and flexible, the rack is necessary to support the pot.  It also allows the suns to reflect under the pot.  Note: the flexible material will squash down around the sides of the rack.

Car sun screen used for low cost solar cooker in a bucket

 

Tilt the funnel in the direction of the sun so it is shining directly into the funnel.

If it is a bit windy or the sunshade is getting a bit floppy (which it will over time) use a stick or something lightweight across the top of the funnel to keep it open.

 

 

Tip

If you want to check the temperature inside the bag you can use an IR Temperature Thermometer Gun, I have one of these in my shop.  I highly recommend getting one of these as it will greatly improve your ability to manage the temperature of your cooker.  If it is too hot, point the funnel slightly away from the sun until you get the desired temperature.

Infrared temperature sensor gun Depending on your conditions you should be able to achieve temperatures over 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things you can cook in solar ovens

  • Any slow cooking recipes
  • Baked potatoes
  • All sorts of vegetable dishes
  • Even breads and cakes
  • Also great for purifying water

Have fun and i hope you enjoy your low cost solar cooker

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