Simmer like a crock pot and bake like an oven, using the clean energy of sunlight.
While most of the attention on solar as a viable renewable energy resource these days may focus on using photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate clean electricity, it's not necessary for us to turn sunlight into electrons to put solar to work. Yes, installing a solar electric system is getting cheaper by the minute, and could be a great investment for a business or homeowner, but honestly, that's not for everybody, whether it's an issue of not owning the property, or not having enough space, or not being able to qualify for financing or leasing. Community solar, and the option of choosing renewable energy from local utilities, are becoming more widely available these days, and we're starting to see a shift in clean energy adoption, but we've still got a ways to go before renewable home electricity really gets off the ground.
However, there is another incredibly easy and affordable solar technology that can be put to work almost immediately, with no long-term financial commitments or construction involved, and although it's certainly not a new thing, by any means, it really ought to be considered a clean tech solution and used more widely. Solar thermal is the general term for using the sun's energy as heat, which can be put to work to supply domestic hot water, or used to heat a space, or to superheat water for steam production (which then drives turbines generating electricity), or a number of other purposes.
But perhaps the simplest way, and the most accessible way, to use it is to cook our food with it, using a solar oven, and Solavore's Sport model could be the gateway appliance to cleaner cooking. I recently got to spend some time using the Sport, which is a reboot of the once popular Solar Oven Society (SOS) model that went out of production in 2013, and found it to be easy to use, light and portable, and a convenient addition to home cooking. (I previously covered Solavore's 'buy one give one' Indiegogo campaign, which aimed to enable more solar ovens in the developing world to act as economic tools for change in those communities.)