Alternative sources of energy, such as solar ovens and boilers can reduce up to 50% on energy bills in the homes of people living in many developing countries. This is a small utensil with many possibilities, which we are going to present here through the example of the French association Bolivia inti sud soleil, which has given out 10000 ovens in ten years. It is a success which has allowed them to receive the support of the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a French activist.
“For a third of humanity, that is, the poorest, wood, carbon and cow dung are the only energy for cooking,” explains a small documentary on the Bolivia inti – sud soleil website, an association which for ten years has been issuing box shaped solar boilers or solar ovens in Latin America.
This tool is revolutionary in the Andean countries, where resources of wood at 4000 metres high are nonexistent and gas is very expensive. “In these countries they split energy consumption in two thanks to the solar oven,” states Vincent Dulong, director of Bolivia inti.
The savings can be reinvested immediately and have made an improvement in domestic comfort. The families can now cook bread, use hot water to clean plates and shower, which in the past was considered a luxury. By reducing smoke inhalation in a confined space the new tool also reduces health risks. According to Bolivia inti, nearly a million and a half people die each year as a consequence of illnesses caused by the exposure to heavy smoke.
Also, the solar energy ovens free women from the burden of going to find huge quantites of wood “at 10 or sometimes 20 kilometres”. Other nongovernmental organisations emphasise the danger the women run during these trips while they are alone and far from their houses, especially in Africa where rapes are frequent. The solar oven avoids this risk.
An oven for only 30 Euros
A small revolution at a low cost: the oven costs just around 100 Euros, and families receive the support of Bolivia inti so only pay a third of this price. The Bolivians who assemble these ovens then have six months to pay this cost: “if they use it during this period, the cost is already recouped in part at the final payment,” explains Francoise Jegou, founder of the French association.
At the end of 2009, Bolivia inti had given out nearly 10,000 solar ovens since its creation and in 4 different countries: Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. In total 50000 people benefited from the device in La Paz in Bolivia, in Puno, a Peruvian city on the shores of Lake Titicaca, in Arequipa, a Peruvian shanty town of 200000 inhabitants and in rural zones of the continent. The figure is constantly increasing: 77 homes received an oven 10 years ago, while 2000 families have obtained an oven this year.
“A ton of CO2 per oven per year.”
The reduction in the carbon footprint is in addition to the money saved. “A ton of CO2 per oven per year,” estimates Vincent Dulong. To the extent that Good Planet, the foundation owned by Yann Arthus-Bertrand decided to buy the saved CO2. Funding which constitutes 10% of the assumed total and the 20% of the grants sent to Latin America. “And they keep asking us to make more” smiles Francoise. And when the ecologist mentions the donations made to the business of issuing solar ovens in Latin America, to ensure that the “carbon offset” in his report “View from the sky” is in reference to Bolivia inti. The association has also been chosen for the “solidaire du chocolat”, an event during which the patrons transfer funds to support charitable initiatives. The centre for young leaders in business from Nantes and Saint-Nazaire (France) transferred nearly 25,000 euros.
Users increase in France
The use of the solar oven has also seduced the French. For several years, courses have been taught in various French cities (Angers, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Chambéry) to understand solar energy and learn how to assemble an oven (kit set up in 1h30) and how to cook with it. “At the start, we received requests mainly from promoters of the project,” recounts Vincent Dulong, “Today half of the participants want to learn for their own personal use.”
However, the growth of this tool will not be as fast as in the Latin American countries, where the need is more urgent. According to Vincent Dulong, the president Evo Morales has already announced the creation of 100000 solar ovens for 2012…
Original article: http://humanityy.com/humanitarian-aid/the-solar-oven-an-opportunity-for-growth/. Translated from Le cuiseur solaire : un fort levier de développement by Pamela Paterson.