Benefit of Solar Technologies

Green Economy Coalition. (2009). Solar cooker (Kenya).

Themes: Environment, health, reduced cooking labour

Summary: Solar cookers will prevent 2 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per family per year in Kenya. They save trees and forests and reduce exposure to danger toxins while using a fire. The cost to manufacture a solar cooker is very low and cookers save cooking time.

Wentzel, M., and Pouris, A. (2006). The development impact of solar cookers: A review of solar cooking research in South Africa. Energy Policy, 35(2007), 1909-1919

Themes: environment, forests, Kyoto Protocol, gender

Summary: Field work in South Africa showed the use of solar cookers resulted in appreciable fuel and time savings as well as increased energy security for households reducing commercial fuels. The article summarizes the findings of the various African studies and presents an overview of use rates and impact data. Some factors are related to the user, some to the environment in which the cooker is used and some to the cooker itself. The majority of solar cooker buyers use their stoves and obtain real benefits.

Madamombe, I. (2006) Solar power: Cheap energy for Africa.

Themes: collaboration with other sources of energy, business implications,

Summary: Lighting rural areas is a challenge for African governments. Solar, wind and mini-hydro generators can fill this gap. Solar is clean, renewable, can be harnessed for small businesses and is in high demand.

Increased Safety for Women and Girls and Redirected Labour

Simbriger-Williams,G. (2008). Solar cookers everywhere- assessing progress in Iridimi refugee camp.

Themes: health, safety, practicality, social relations, building community

Summary: Two thirds of women in refugee camps collect wood resources and are in danger of being attacked and raped. Solar cookers increase personal security, allow more free time to do other things, make cooking easier, improve health and relations with neighbours (disputes over wood were common), and women don’t have to sell or barter their food rations away for wood.

Increased Food Security and Improved Health

Eckfeldt, J. (2003) Canadian International Development Agency. Appropriate Technologies for a Sustainable Future

Themes: resource guide and teaching plan, appropriate technologies, cooking fuel crisis, advantages of solar cookers, health

Summary: This teaching and resource guide discusses appropriate technologies and the advantages of solar cookers, including: reduced cooking time, stable in moderate wind, easy to make and to transport. The solar cookers can be used for pasteurizing water and food, sterilizing medical equipment, canning foods, drying foods and small firewood, killing insect infestations in grains and dried foods, and incubating yeast dough or yogurt.

Esipisu, I. (2013). Solar power brings piped water to rural Kenya.

Themes: clean water, solar energy, health

Summary: Solar panels are used to pump water at a primary school in rural Kenya. The new water supply yielded in higher health benefits (less water borne bacteria). In Kenya, the water from the seven major rivers has the potential to serve the entire continent’s needs.

Gathanju, D. (2010). Kenya women light up villages with solar power.

Themes: empowerment, convenience, environment, alternative energy

Summary: The use of solar energy empowers rural women. It increases the ease to do domestic chores (especially at night), provides income generating activities, and an affordable alternative energy source. The women acquire solar engineering skills and the ability to access energy given their distance from the national grid system.

New Economic Opportunities

UN Women. (2012). UN Women, FAO, IFAD and WFP joint programme: Accelerating progress towards the economic empowerment of rural women.

Themes: technical knowledge, solar lamp kits, economic opportunities

Summary: The article examines the realities of women and girls living in rural parts of the world, in particular, Sub-Saharan Africa. Gender inequality is a major cause of hunger and poverty. Equal access to resources could raise food security and economic growth. Access to financial credit is more difficult for women. There is a need for more economic resources directed at women and children.

UN Women. (2012). Lighting up lives: African women train as “barefoot” solar engineers.

Themes: technical knowledge, confidence, solar lamp kits

Summary: UN Women is supporting a programme to train illiterate, marginalized women across the world to become solar engineers and to drive their local green economies towards sustainable energies.

UN Women (2013). Mothers lighting up homes and communities in rural Tanzania.

Themes: growth of solar power, employment opportunities for women, push to eradicate poverty, environmental, financial independence, security

Summary: Women are trained to use solar energy and return to their communities as experts in solar lighting. Benefits to the community are savings from a reduction in kerosene, not having to charge cellphones at the local market, fewer health and safety hazards, increased women’s voice and independence, having well-lit places to provide security and to reduce violence against women.

Block, B. (2013). Solar offers a future for Kenya’s youth.

Themes: youth, reality of energy and solar

Summary: Solar power can be used to to address poverty and unemployment in Kenya. Eighty percent of Kenyans aged 15-35 are unemployed and solar power is growing in Kenya as a means of employment and lower cost production. With electricity rates doubling, solar power provides the means to cook and carry on businesses inexpensively.


Website: J Golden

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Photos: J Golden, Ryerson University

& N Cole 


Professor Jean Golden Ryerson University


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