12 February 2010

Namibia: Solar Stoves Cooking Up a Storm Countrywide

THE Döbra Solar Development Project has been in operation for about a year and has already delivered 35 solar cookers to families, soup kitchens, farms and schools throughout Namibia.

The project is run and financed by the EG Solar development group and the Weltwartz programme from Germany.

Nele Erdmann, who is in charge of training, marketing and building, is a volunteer from Germany. There are two employees who build the solar cookers from scratch in a little workshop at Döbra north of Windhoek.

The reflector blades are the only things imported from Germany, already cut and ready to use. The framework and assembly is all done in Namibia.

Currently the programme is working on an order for 30 cookers donated by a school in Germany to needy families in the Babylon and Okahandja Park Informal Settlements.

Two other Namibians are employed to help with this order and they will be used when there are other big orders to fill.

Pupils of the Franz Indongo Primary School have participated in the NADEED camp where they were taught about sustainable living and alternative energy resources.

The families of these pupils will receive solar cookers, as the children already know how to use them and have cooked on solar cookers before.

The frame of the solar cooker is painted with an undercoat to prevent it from rusting, and then with a heat-resistant paint to ensure the longevity of each cooker.

If properly taken care of, the solar cooker has a lifespan of up to 20 years.

People who are interested in solar cookers can buy them at the project for N$1 500.

"Although this seems to be a lot of money there are ways in which the people can use them to recover their money and even earn extra income," says Erdmann.

The cooker can be rented out to neighbours for a small fee, for instance. The cookers have wheels and can be pushed to a place where food can be cooked and sold.

The cookers can cook up to 5 kg of maize meal at one time.

They can also heat up old-fashioned clothes irons.

The solar cooker works even when it is cloudy, although it will be slower given the conditions.

The solar cookers are not only environmentally friendly because people do not need wood, they are also much safer as there are no open fire sources.

The cooker works by focusing the rays of the sun on a focal point, which then heats up a black pot or pan standing in the focal point.

People interested in the project or in the solar cookers can phone Erdmann at 081 421 6347.

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