The Parabolic Solar Cooker is a solar cooker that directly transforms sunlight into heat by concentrating the sunrays through a set of mirrors arranged parabolically, supported by a metallic structure. The Women Barefoot Solar Cooker Engineers Society provides women from developing countries with training to build, install, and maintain parabolic solar cookers for their communities.
The women, also called Solar Mamas, are trained in a six-month Solar Training Program in Rajasthan, where they learn skills such as operation and functioning of different solar cookers and how to use more than 50 different tools. They also learn how to assemble 300 mirrors and entrepreneurial skills.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG 1: No Poverty
Market Suggested Retail Price
Target Users (Target Impact Group)
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
Women Barefoot Solar Cooker Engineers Society
The solar cookers are assembled using Scheffler mirrors mounted in a metallic structure to concentrate the sunlight at the cooktop. Each cooker, composed of more than 300 mirrors, weighing 130kg is built using precise measurements by bending, welding, and cutting in a month’s time.
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
The solar cookers are built, installed, and maintained by women trained in a six-months course provided by the Women Barefoot Solar Engineers Society.
Distributions to Date Status
Forced or passive
Power output in full sunlight (W)
Max temperature (°C)
Pot capacity (L)
15 – 20 L
Oven volume (L)
Time to boil (min/L)
The solar cooker is composed of one solid frame and a cooking box, made of materials locally available. The reflector frame is made of six solid pieces of 1.22 x 1.2 x 0.63 m, where the mirrors are attached to wires. Behind the reflector a geological clock system makes the frame rotate following the sun. Only one adjustment has to be done in the morning and the clock system allows to track the sun all day, rotating the cooker every 3.23 min. Specifications:
- Each cooker weighs between 120-130 kg
- The capacity of 15-20 Litres allows the users to feed around 30 people
- It can reach a temperature of 110 °C in 8 minutes
The women trained by the WBSCES are expected to mantain the cookers by themselves.
All the components of the solar cookers can be found locally as long as a metal shop is available in the community.
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
The WBSCES has seven goals:
- Give women a better chance in life - more opportunities and freedom
- Making a woman's life a little easier by removing some of the burden of collecting firewood or other types of fuels
- Breaking the cultural barrier and traditional thinking of women's role in society
- Improve health for all household members
- Improve the environment by reducing fuel consumption
- To be role-models for all women
- Give more power to the impoverished women through employment
Vetted Performance Status
Users should be aware of potential eye damaged caused by long-term exposure to direct sunlight, concentrated in the parabolic solar cooker through the mirrors. Although most parabolic cookers have their focal point located under the pot, the use of sunglasses near the cookers is recommended. Additionally, it is recommended not to stare at the glare.
Complementary Technical Systems
Academic Research and References
2017, The ‘Barefoot Model’ of economic empowerment in rural Rajasthan, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, 13:1, 54-75.G.M.,
Lynn-Catrill, J., 2015, Solar cookers – a step towards sustainable development: an analysis of the impact of solar cooking practices in Ajmer District, India, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås.
Solar Cooking Wiki, 2017, Women Barefoot Solar Cooker Engineers Society, Solar Cookers International
Compliance with regulations
A documentary about the Barefoot College Training Program and the Solar Mamas can be found here. A video showing the functioning of a parabolic solar cooker can be found here. After completion of the training, the Solar Mamas are provided with a tutorial on cooking with the solar cookers, together with a sample of their product. Product can be purchased here