Why I made a solar oven 2007 Solar Oven
  • It's very cool. The design is remarkably simple yet the temperature can rise above the boiling point. We need wonder in our lives and I like to create things.
  • I want to be more self-reliant. Currently I am very dependent upon energy companies. Taking the concept of solar cooking a step further, I dream of a home on the northern plains almost entirely heated by the sun.
  • Solar ovens are economical and I'm frugal.
    • After you pay for the oven, cooking is free.
    • It should last a very, very long time—no planned obsolesence. It has no moving parts unless you count the lid hinge and cart wheels.
    • All of the solar energy falling on my driveway is wasted in the summer. (In the spring it melts snow.)
  • The solar oven may be used in an emergency.
    • I can pasteurize (disinfect) water—150° F for 1 minute measured with a candy thermometer.
    • I can cook or bake during a power outage.
  • Solar cooking is ecologically friendly. Now that the oven is constructed, I use no commercial power. (Fossil fuels pollute and add CO2 to the atmosphere, manufacturing solar panels requires toxic chemicals, and wind turbines are noisy and kill birds.)
  • Finally, the heat of cooking is kept outdoors on summer days and my wife likes the oven because I do most of the solar cooking.
While building my oven, I learned about insulation (conduction, convection, and radiation) as well as the angle of the sun's rays and the number of hours of sunlight throughout the year at our latitude.

After I began cooking, I learned about the great impact daylight savings time and our longitude have upon solar noon. I also discovered the following advantages of slow-cooking:
  • Meat is so tender it falls off your fork. Baked potatoes have wonderful flavor.
  • My slow-cooked food is generally healthy. I am unable to bake a pizza or fry food in my solar oven.
  • Clean up is easy. I find almost no baked-on food.