Courtesy, Barbara Kerr

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Two Arizona women have devoted 30 years to developing and promoting low tech and inexpensive solar cookers.  Their designs are now spread across the globe.

In the early 1970s, Barbara Kerr and Sherry Cole developed an inexpensive family-sized cardboard box cooker - the EcoCooker.  Then in 1993, based on original work done in France by Dr. Roger Bernard, Kerr and Cole did the initial work on a collapsible panel cooker.  Their solar panel cooker (original BackPacker) is still used in that form today but was also a precursor the the CooKit - a redisign by Solar Cookers International and volunteer engineers.  The CooKit has been successfully introduced in refugee camps by SCI projects.

Their work was based on the discovery that foods could be roasted, baked, stewed and simmered in inexpensive cardboard solar ovens with no danger of setting the box afire and that the low temperatures achieved by their simple designs cooked very well.  This greatly reduced the expense and the labor of fabricating as compared with wood or metal.  Anyone could inexpensively and usually successfully experiment in their own home workshop.  As solar cooking was liberated from the more demanding materials, it stimulated a wave of interest in solar cooking.  Over the years interest has grown in solar cooking, and many people have made successful and improved versions of these fruitful beginnings.

Solar Cookers International is a non-profit, volunteer organization launched in 1987 to support work by Kerr and Cole to help both people and the environment.  First the solar box cookers, and later the solar panel cooker owe their global visibility to this volunteer organization.  People in many parts of the globe have found it feasible to cook on sunny days with sunshine, conserving their scarce fuel wood while continuing to feed their families nutritious, well-cooked meals...

Support solar cooking by joining SOLAR COOKERS INTERNATIONAL, 1919 21st Street, Suite 101, Sacramento, CA  95814.  Also see the Solar Cooking Archives at and the KerrCole Website at

NOTE: Photos obtained from the photo gallery are to be used for lawful purposes only. Any commercial use must receive prior approval from the Arizona Solar Center. Credit shall be given to Photographer along with Arizona Solar Center, and no affiliation with Arizona Solar Center is to be implied.