Promoting the Utilisation of Solar Cookers

Promoting the Utilisation of Solar Cookers : The large scale dissemination of solar cookers in Rural South Africa

Lebowokgomo, South AfricaHartebeespoort Dam, South Africa
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The purpose of the Congretrix project in broad terms is seeking to address the harmful effects of current cooking practices in South Africa on the environment and on the safety and quality of life of, in particular, the poor, through the rollout of solar cookers as a solution.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Without this project, the pressure on the South African government will continue to grow as the need for rural energy balance continues to grow.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Broadly, the problems that the project seeks to address, through the rollout of solar cookers as a solution, are the harmful effects of current cooking practices in rural South Africa on the environment and on the safety and quality of life of, in particular, the poor. The programmatic context of the project and the problems which we are seeking to address is redressing the historical imbalances created by the previous aphatheid dispensations.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The proposed intervention model will focus on building enabling market conditions for the solar cookers market through strengthening a network of rural enterprises to promote, build, distribute, maintain and supervise the installation and proper use of solar cookers. The proposed Hybrid Blazing Tube solar- biomass cookers works in cold or cloudy weather or at night. The Blazing Tube system is designed to be user friendly, safe to operate and reliable. Because energy conservation is its main attribute, the solar energy collected by the system produces constant cooking temperatures, even into the early evening. The unit also offers good stability in windy conditions and can be equipped with a cook box lock to prevent food theft.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The proposed project will contribute significant development impacts in the target rural communities. It will serve as a model for future projects and stimulate the interests of investors in solar energy projects. It will also help to promote the use of clean energy, educate and train the rural youths on solar energy technology, and build awareness in environmental protection among the rural population. Those directly benefiting from the proposed project are 50,000 low-income households or 200,000 villagers based on average household with 4-5 people). The other impacts include reductions in health risks associated with air quality in poor households, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and creation of viable solar cooker value chains.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The pilot study results conducted at Fetsakgomo Village in line this project established the following: Social impacts - Solar cooking was reported in 82.7% households and was mainly used for boiling water and preparing most foods; Economic impact - The reduction in use of firewood and charcoal has resulted in significant savings on households’ fuel budgets; Technological impact - Enhanced awareness and skills in the community on the potential of using sunshine to cook. Future Impact; 1) the project will introduce first Solar Cooker with energy storage and hybrid function. 2) the project will strengthen, facilitate greater public-private partnership and support the participation of new village micro-entreprenuers, 3) the innovations and learning generated from this project will form an important local benchmark for the efforts of the South African government’s Solar Cooker rollout.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The proposed project will contribute significantly to sustainable development of the rural households where the project will be rolled out. The project will also have a transformative impact on the market for solar cookers by enabling the market conditions for new business models to flourish and strengthening the existing private sector capacity in the country. This will lead to creation of 150 SMEs manufacturing products and services related to solar cooker value chain.The 50 000 Blazing Tube Solar Cookers will be distributed across the Limpopo, Gauteng, North West and Mpumalanga provinces.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The project sustainability plan will include: (i) expanding access to carbon finance, grants and other non repayable finance; (iii) facilitating the participation of the local financial sector; (iii)building capacity of local market & building the necessary market infrastructure to ensure long-term growth;(iv) building capacity of local private and public institutions to provide on-going support; lower costs of providing the Solar Cookers.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other roll players in this market segment are largely NGOs and two other CDM Project Developers who have to date registered their projects with the local DNA. What sets us apart from our market compatriots is not only supplying products that are claimed to address a need but rather providing solutions and technologies that have been tried and tested in each local setting. Input from our customers is paramount in the design reviews of our cookers, which gives the communities a claim on design ownership enhances the product usage. The hybrid solar-biomass blazing tube cooker is a first in SA.

Founding Story

Our project arose from a growing interest within Congretrix on sustainable renewable energy projects centered on addressing the needs of the poorest and often overlooked citizens. Our motto "Pull Him/Her Up (PHU)" has set the momentum for us to ensure that every citizenry of South Africa is provided with equal opportunities irrespective of one’s location. The cooker has been called the "Mandela Mirror of Hope". This axiom expresses the ideals that have been our driving force towards achieving a rural energy balance and a low carbon society in South Africa. Energy poverty has created need for tackling the twin problem of energy and economic migration as priority in a sustainable manner using available natural resources and new jobs.


Tendani Madondo (FTE): MSc in Renewable Energy,HND Mech. Eng. Brian Moyo (FTE): BSc Electrical & Electronic Engineering A. Arbcar (PTE): MSc Renewable Energy, BSc Mech.l Eng. K. Sithole (FTE): MBA, BA (Honours) Education C. Mpeta (FTE): MSc Chemical Eng., BSc. Chem. Eng. (CEM) Prof. N. Argaw (PTE): PhD Renewable Energy J. Mwingi (PTE): MSc Environmental Management Tap Madondo (FTE): Masters Climate Change & Environ Law.
About You
About You
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About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, NW, Hartebeespoort Dam

Country where this project is creating social impact

, LP, Lebowokgomo

Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Regional government, National government, Other.

Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

Other than the project being recognized as strategic by the arm of SA government’s DRDLR the project has not received any honours or awards.

Where have you learnt about the competition?

I got to know about the challenge through Terravin a database of grant and calls for proposals.

Tell us about your partnerships:

Key Partners include:
 Festakgomo Village Households and Leadership
 Local Municipalities
 Limpopo Provincial Department of Rural Development & Land Reform;
 Developing World Solar – Blazing Tube Solar Cooker equipment manufacturers and suppliers (Hawaii);
 Department of Rural Development & Land Reform – Rural Upliftment
 UNFCCC – CDM Funding
 Department of Energy – Designated National Authority for CDM Project Registration)

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Deployment of Solar Technologies like Solar Cookers has suffered a litany of challenges for government and other interested stakeholders which are at the forefront of addressing energy poverty in the country. Primarily the following barriers have been noted: Financial barrier: The market prices for new efficient solar cook stoves is a high investment in urban (informal settlements) and rural areas of South Africa, where the average monthly income of unemployed people is around R650 per month.