Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Solar Cooker

A parabolic solar cooker in full light.

A solar cooker is an appliance similar to an oven, but it uses heat from sunlight to cook food instead of gas or electricity. They are available in several sizes and configurations, all of which have their pros and cons.

Advantages of Solar Cookers

The biggest advantage of solar cookers is their eco-friendliness. By using one you’ll decrease your dependence on gas or electricity, reduce your carbon footprint, and save on fuel and the cost of fuel on running home appliances.

Solar cooking is free once you have the cooker itself. To operate one, all you need is sunlight, so you can save a significant amount of money over the long term. As a result, solar cookers are being used increasingly in different parts of the world since it’s very easy to build one from scratch, and conserves non-reusable resources by harnessing the energy of the sun when available.

The quality of food cooked in a solar cooker is also notable. Flavors remain intact and foods retain moisture and softness.

Commercial versions of solar cookers fall into three main categories: box cookers, parabolic cookers, and panel cookers. Of the three, parabolic cookers are the most advanced and efficient. Some cookers even have the ability to automatically track the sun’s rays to maximize the heat produced in the cooker.

Drawbacks of Solar Cookers

Cooking with solar cookers obviously requires sunlight, which makes it difficult to use during winter months and on rainy days. Cooking also takes a significantly longer time compared to conventional methods. Users must schedule their cooking time and maximize the use of sunlight. As a result, preparation must start early in the morning so that the food can be placed in the cooker by noon.

Solar cookers are not as efficient at retaining heat as conventional cooking devices. Factors such as wind, rain, and snow can seriously hinder operation, and in such weather conditions, even after the food is cooked, it will lose its warmth very quickly.

Although solar cookers are easy to build and use, there is a risk of accidental injury or burns if the appliance is not used properly. Eyesight can also be damaged if the concentrated beams of sunlight are reflected back into someone’s eyes. The use of safety precautions and protective materials is absolutely necessary.