Updated on January 25, 2024


Created on May 29, 2014

SunWorks Solar Food Dryer

Upcoming Update

SunWorks Solar Food Dryer is a drier that uses a distinctive air flow pattern for an improved sun drying performance.

Developed By
  1. SunWorks
Tested By
  • SunWorks
Content Partners


Product Description

SunWorks Solar Food Dryer is a compact, portable, 2-tray dryer completely powered by solar energy with a weatherproof design for a long life of regular use. The dryer uses a combination of both direct and indirect heating from the sun as well as a unique airflow and vent controls to achieve the best possible drying.

Target SDGs

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Similar convection/radiation tray type cabinet models have been implemented by NGOs, but there is no verification yet on whether SunWorks product itself has been deployed through other organizations. It is currently available online as a ready-to-assemble kit from SunWorks.

Competitive Landscape

Manufacturing/Building Method

The manufacturer does not produce already-assembled solar dryers. They provide the various components and the user can assemble the product following the method outlined in The Solar Food Dryer book.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

The SunWorks Solar Food Dryer Kit for assembly can be purchased online through Google Checkout at the SunWorks website. International orders outside of the U.S. are urged contact SunWorks to discuss logistics. The end user can also build this Solar Food Dryer from plans provided in "A Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series" book by Eben Fodor titled, "The Solar Food Dryer: How to Make and Use Your Own Low-Cost, High Performance, Sun-Powered Food Dehydrator". Brief installation instructions are available on SunWorks' website, however they do not provide detailed instructions on installation.

Distributions to Date Status


Drying capacity (lbs/m³)


Drying duration (hr)

3 – 48

Load capacity (m³)


Operating temperature range (°C)

49 – 66

Temperature control


Number of trays


Materials of construction

SunScreen™ polypropylene screens

Design Specifications

The SunWorks™ Solar Food Dryer uses a unique "Z-Flow" airflow pattern to greatly improve performance and drying speed. This airflow is powered by the buoyancy of warm air in the dryer, referred to as natural convection or the solar fan. *Included in the Kit* • The complete wood cabinet ready to assemble • All hardware, handles, vent adjuster, and fasteners • Solar glazing with aluminium frame • Two sturdy aluminium screen frames • SunScreen™ polypropylene screens • Aluminium absorber plate, powder-coated flat black, cut and drilled to fit • Screen material for all vent openings • A large-dial thermometer for monitoring drying temperature • Assembly instructions and operating tips Dimensions (LxWxH) (cm): 76 x 68.5 x 71

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Technical support for drying techniques and product use is included in The Solar Food Dryer book. Additional support and FAQs on SunWorks website.

Replacement Components

SunScreens Polypropylene Screens on which food rests while drying are available online. SunWorks replaces any defective parts at no cost within 10 days of receiving email from the customer.  


Polypropylene screens on which food is placed during drying have a shorter usable life and may require replacement at some interval determined by frequency of product use. Absorber plate is rust-free, black powder-coated, heavy-duty aluminium. Aluminium screen frames are sturdy, lightweight, easy to load and clean, and do not rust. SunScreen™ polypropylene screens with high-quality polycarbonate glazing has 10-year manufacturer warranty for outdoor use.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

The dryer is designed to be easy to use and easy to move around. It is also made to deliver maximum solar drying performance while allowing for easy control of drying temperature with adjustable venting controls.

Vetted Performance Status



Potential safety hazards involved in the use of this product include low degree burns from handling hot trays.

Complementary Technical Systems

Electric backup heating using incandescent electric lightbulbs. Parts List: • 2 compact, surface-mounted, porcelain light fixtures • 2 - 200 Watt incandescent, general purpose light bulbs • 3 feet of 16-gauge lamp cord and plug (cut from 6-ft. black or brown extension cord) • 4 - 1-inch-long, #8 pan-head metal screws for mounting fixtures • Small package of 16-guage, spade type, wire terminals (6 needed)

Academic Research and References

Lingayat, A. B., Chandramohan, V. P., Raju, V. R. K., and Meda, V., 2020,  A review on indirect type solar dryers for agricultural crops–dryer setup, its performance, energy storage and important highlights. Applied Energy, 258, pp 114005.

Stiling, J., Li, S., Stroeve, P., Thompson, J., Mjawa, B., Kornbluth, K., and Barrett, D. M., 2012, Performance evaluation of an enhanced fruit solar dryer using concentrating panels. Energy for sustainable development, 16(2),  pp 224-230.

Fodor, E. V., 2006, The Solar Food Dryer: How to Make and Use Your Own Low-Cost, High Performance, Sun-Powered Food Dehydrator. New Society Publishers.

Leon, M. A., Kumar, S., & Bhattacharya, S. C., 2002, A comprehensive procedure for performance evaluation of solar food dryers. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 6(4), pp 367-393.

Compliance with regulations

Exterior plywood cabinet of product is formaldehyde-free and meets California Air Resources Board (CARB)-Phase 2 standards

Other Information

The manufacturer is currently out of stock and does not plan to continue production of dryers. SunWorks offers international shipping, but they cannot guarantee arrival condition. Instructional books: The end user can also build this SFD from plans provided in “A Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series” book by Eben Fodor titled, “The Solar Food Dryer: How to Make and Use Your Own Low-Cost, High Performance, Sun-Powered Food Dehydrator” available on Amazon.com from 8.52 – 12.77 USD or at New Society Publishers’ website for 14.95 USD. The company records DIY consumers and sustainable living enthusiasts  primarily in the North American market.

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