1. With the rising costs of energy and concerns about the use of fossil fuels, solar cooking can provide those concerned about the environment with a means to create hot, tasty food for themselves and their families. Unlike gas or electric ovens, solar ovens do not create pollution, using only the renewable energy of the sun for heating. In addition, they do not heat up the kitchen as conventional ovens do, and so solar ovens make cooking during the heat of the summer more comfortable without raising energy costs.

    Those used to working with their hands may choose to make their own solar oven from cardboard boxes and common materials. This project could provide a learning experience for the whole family and be beneficial for teaching young children both science and home economics. Plans for various home built cookers exist on the internet. With the freely available plans and everyday materials, cardboard box cookers can be an inexpensive way to begin solar cooking. While they are cheap and easy to use, these ovens do have a couple of drawbacks. The cooking temperatures normally reached by these ovens are generally lower, and so careful attention to food safety and heating is necessary. Also the materials themselves make them more sensitive to spills and outside elements. Thus they would need to be replaced sooner than commercial ovens.

    Certain companies are producing commercial solar ovens for the public. Made from metal and other manufactured materials, these ovens last longer than the homemade versions, and they often reach higher temperatures due to their high quality reflecting panels and better insulation. While many styles are available, including hybrid solar and electric ovens, the simple box oven is the most popular and convenient. Perhaps the most widely used commercial oven is the Global Sun Oven, which is manufactured by a company that is directly involved with worldwide relief efforts. Its ease of set-up and portability makes the Global Sun Oven an excellent choice for those environmentally-minded individuals who want a convenient way to solar cook.

    While solar cooking is an economical and environmentally friendly means to cook meals, it still lacks acceptance among the general public. Solar cooking is based on outside conditions, and so its use can be limited. It also requires longer cooking times, making it less convenient for some. However, as more become aware of the need to utilize renewable energies, it will surely gain popularity. Solar ovens provide a way to cook without compromising green beliefs and principles.

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