A-28/13 Solar cookers in developing countries – What is their key to success?

In developing countries households and institutions heavily rely on biomass to satisfy their energy needs. The unsustainable use of biomass is accompanied by several negative health and environmental impacts. As a clean energy source, solar cooking presents one alternative solution. In spite of its multiple benefits; however, solar cookers have experienced little success. Curiously, there has been little discussion about this in academic circles. Most research concerns technical improvements of solar cookers, rather than on the reasons why these cookers are not actually adopted in the field. This paper fills the gap by developing a comprehensive list of variables that influence the adoption of solar cooking: (1) economic, (2) social, (3) cultural, (4) environmental, (5) political and (6) technical. Furthermore, we can see that some solar cooking promoters are able to control for some of the variables (e.g., environmental factors), but not others (e.g. technical, social and cultural factors). The latter can only be captured through a needs assessment of the target group. This sort of assessment is a demanding but necessary step for the successful outcome of a solar cooking project. Energy Policy, 63, 375-381

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