Costs: Cooking while reducing summer cooling bills
Solar cookers can dramatically reduce a home’s cooling needs during hot Arizona summers. For every dollar spent on indoor cooking fuel, electricity costing about $.50 is required to cool and dehumidify an air conditioned home. Solar cookers not only use no electricity or natural gas, but they don’t heat-up the house.
The initial cost of a solar cooker depends upon its size manufacturer and sophistication. Store bought models range in cost from $100 for camping sizes and up to $250 for larger versions.
The cost of homemade cookers depends largely on the builder’s resourcefulness – new materials, for example, cost more than used. Some do-it-your–selfers use only cardboard box, newspaper for insulation, aluminum foil and a piece of glass or plastic. Others include hinged aluminum reflectors, spray in insulation, and tools for cutting metal to make the inside box. Other builders even place their cookers on old rotating television stands for easy adjustment as the sun moves across the sky.
Generally plan on spending $25 to $100 in materials to make a solar cooker that reaches adequate temperatures.