Solar Cooking Indoors?
by Anne Brennan
I've been following your solar cooking blog for about six months and enjoy both the background/product info and the reader questions you post. I live a few miles outside of Philadelphia, where (I believe) the season for solar cooking is fairly short due to our cold winters. This time of year, high temps are in the mid 30s, and sunny days are almost always windy during the cold months. I plan to try solar cooking this Spring when conditions better favor success!
In the meantime, I wonder if there's any potential to set up and use a solar cooker indoors, just inside a large sunny window, during the winter months? I realize the window glass itself would reduce the sun's intensity, and modern double-pane gas-filled windows even more so. Do you have any experience with indoor solar cooking, and if so, which cooker style would you recommend to start?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can share!
Thank you for visiting our site and for your compliments as well as the inquiry.
I know of a few people who have used a solar cooker through their south facing windows and have had good results.
Of course I don't know what kind of windows they had, because as you mentioned, the double paned gas filled windows might cut down on the effectiveness of the solar cooker. But, that is something that could be experimented with in order to find out if that would be the case.
One drawback to placing a solar cooker at the window would also be the size of the window.
If it is not very large or long then you would be limited on how much sun you could take advantage of, because as the sun moves across the sky it would surely reach a point where it would be impeded by a structure, trees etc. and would not be shining into the window.
If you have an ideal situation and location of a window for indoor solar cooking you could pretty much use any solar cooker you desire.
One note though on using a solar panel cooker.
In our northern hemisphere in the winter, the sun is so far south that it is very challenging to be able to get enough of an angle for effective solar cooking of sufficient duration.
If you have not already done so, you might find this page helpful for
winter time solar cooking information
You also mention that you live in an area that has volatile and changing winter time weather which could affect your use of a solar cooker outside.
As long as you have sunshine on any given day you can cook with a solar oven, even if the outside ambient temperature is very cold; it is the clarity of the sunshine that is the most important factor.
Of course if it is too windy (sustained gusts of 35 mph plus) then you would not do well to cook outside.
If it is below that you can still cook on windy days, but I would recommend bracing and stabilizing your solar cooker with bricks or wood etc. This is what we do when it is windy.
Solar Box cookers that are well insulated such as the Global Sun Oven and the SOS Sport will reach and maintain sufficiently high cooking temperatures in the winter.
I had our Sun Oven out the other day on a 33 F. day and it reached an internal temperature of 350 F. at its max for at least a couple of hours if not more.
I have a colleague in Minneapolis, MN that solar cooks all through out the year.
Of course he has lots of wintertime weather related issues in regards to how often and how effectively he can cook, but he does it quite often.
I hope this information is helpful to you.