The low cost panel cooker in action
The solar water pasteurizers have been well received by the villagers. In the school of Fiarenana where access to clean safe drinking water is still an ongoing challenge, solar water pasteurization is the best way to make the water safe for drinking.
In addition, our ‘solar volunteer’ Bruce has spent over two week in the villages and introduced a locally built model of a solar panel cooker. Using an off the shelf car window screen (bought in the big city) and a plastic bag, this home-made panel cooker is extremely light weight and versatile. (To learn more about solar panel cookers, one of the key solar cooking technologies, please visit e.g. solar cookers international www.solarcookers.org). Panel cookers have limitations, such as the plastic bag required, but are a great way to introduce villagers to the idea to use the sun for cooking. Small in size and easy to store, rice or beans can be cooked in an afternoon.
It has been Zahana’s learning experience that solar cooking should be introduced incrementally. Once some of the villagers have adopted the idea of experimenting with the solar panel cookers, they can be introduced to box cookers. The only sure way to learn about solar cooking is by cooking with it and getting first had experience.
Once they are familiar with box cookers and use them more regularly they can be introduced to the Balzintubesolar, that is so much more efficient that they will be convinced after the first cooking demonstration.
In addition Bruce introduced a solar panel that can recharge the community’s cell phone. These small solar panels need quite some hands-on training to be used efficiently or they do not work properly. Inadequate training can easily lead to frustration and solar technology just collecting dust. The solar panels, which also can power a light, are currently being marketed in Madagascar, but with a price tag of around $30 they are out of reach for most villagers.
Mounting the solar panel to charge the cell phone
Solar panel 'inspection'