Friday, September 3, 2010

Uganda Sun Ovens

For the past 7 years, we have been working with Ronald Mutebi, a Ugandan Entrepreneur to start making and marketing Sun Ovens in Uganda. The parts and tooling for a Sun Oven assembly plant will soon be arriving in Kampala, Uganda. Ugandan made Sun Ovens are scheduled to be available next month.

The following article appeared on the State Department Web Site on August 31, 2010:

Businessman in Chicago Launches Solar Ovens in Uganda

Ron Mutebi’s plan to sell sun-powered cookers heats up

Ronald Mutebi demonstrates a solar oven.

By Phillip Kurata - Staff Writer

Washington — An immigrant from Uganda now residing in Chicago has used the first portion of a $100,000 business competition prize he won in January to begin setting up an operation in his homeland to produce and distribute ovens that cook with the heat of the sun.

Ron Mutebi won his $100,000 prize at the African Diaspora Marketplace competition in Washington in January. The competition, sponsored by Western Union Company and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provided awards of $50,000 to $100,000 to 14 winners. All of them are Africans residing in the United States who had submitted proposals to establish or expand businesses in their home countries with local partners.

After Western Union disbursed $60,000 of the prize money in May, Mutebi arranged to ship from Chicago the components for 365 solar ovens and tools to assemble them in July. The shipment is scheduled to arrive in Uganda in October. In November, Mutebi will travel to Uganda to oversee the completion of an assembly plant and the training of staff to produce, distribute and service the cookers, made by Sun Ovens International in Elburn, Illinois. The ovens will appear in Ugandan markets in January 2011, according to Mutebi.

Mutebi has already compiled a list of nearly 1,000 people who want to buy one of the ovens, which he said will be sold for $170 each.

“We know the payoff is going to be there. It will be big when it happens,” Mutebi said. “There is no other technology that can have such an impact on environmental degradation and global warming in a practical sense.”

After acquiring solar ovens, villagers will not have to spend their meager incomes to buy firewood or charcoal, the prime sources of cooking fuel in Uganda, Mutebi said. The use of firewood and charcoal has caused widespread deforestation in Uganda.

Mutebi will arrange a second shipment of oven parts when he receives the rest of the prize money, which he expects to be in November.

The Chicago-based businessman said that as Ugandan companies start to provide locally made components over the next two years, he expects the cost of the ovens to come down to about $100, a 41 percent drop in price but still a substantial sum for many Ugandans, whose per capita income is $1,200 per year.

His biggest challenge to growing the business, he said, is the high interest rates that Ugandan banks charge for consumer loans — around 24 percent. Mutebi said he is looking for ways to allow oven purchasers to buy on installment. “We can’t run a business sustainably the way we want to because of the lack of support from financial institutions,” he said.

Mutebi also is looking at nonmonetary methods for villagers to buy an oven.

For example, as Mutebi explains it, a Ugandan farmer may plant fruit trees on his land in exchange for an oven. The trees would be Mutebi’s property. The farmer and his family would be free to consume the fruit, but Mutebi would have rights to harvest and sell the surplus. This way, he said, “the ovens not only will stop deforestation but also will promote planting of new trees. Farmers will have an economic incentive to do this.”

Since winning the prize, Mutebi has spoken on frequent occasions about entrepreneurship in Africa. He was a featured speaker at the Africa Infrastructure Conference, sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa in April in Washington, and at President Obama’s Forum with Young African Leaders in August.

“I am blessed to have this opportunity to bring solar ovens to my people. I’m helping alleviate poverty and global warming and make a profit at the same time,” Mutebi said.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Sun - Nature's Preparedness Tool

How much fuel can you store?
Preparedness-minded people have set aside food, but struggle with the issue of how to safely store enough fuel and rotate it to keep it fresh. Many people plan to use propane, butane, and kerosene fuels for cooking and heating water in case of emergencies, but then find they can void their homeowner’s insurance if they store too much fuel or they put the family they are trying to protect at risk of explosion.

What do I do when fuel runs out?
It's very easy to imagine shortages of all fuels, including gasoline and diesel, even as a temporary condition. In the event of a long term emergency, there is a good chance of running out of fuel and not being able to find a source.

Use the sun when it shines!
Using a Sun Oven on sunny days decreases the amount of fuel which needs to be stored. Sun Ovens can be used year around on sunny days. In most of Utah, a Sun Oven can cook up to 60% of a family’s meals. A SUN OVEN is the Ultimate Solar Appliance. The sun can be harnessed to bake, boil, or steam foods and to pasteurize water. Food cooks at 360º to 400º with the power of the sun.

In addition to cooking, a Sun Oven can help with food storage preparation when used as a solar dehydrator. Drinking water can be boiled or pasteurized and water can be heated to do the dishes.

A preparedness item that pays for itself
Buying what is needed to be prepared can put a strain on a family’s budget. Many preparedness-minded families have found that their Sun Oven quickly pays for itself by reducing their utility bills and the cost of restaurant meals. Many people do not cook or bake on hot days for fear of heating up the house. A Sun Oven enables cooking on hot summer days by keeping the heat from the cooking outside. Rocky Mountain Power estimates that 11.5% of the electricity used in each home in Utah is used for cooking and 29.6% is used for air conditioning. The energy wasted when cooking indoors is more than what's used on the stovetop or in the oven. In the summer, additional energy is often required to cool down the rest of the house, which can get heated up by cooking in the kitchen. When you use a Sun Oven the heat stays outdoors, saving energy costs while benefiting the environment.

SUN OVEN Cooking Essentials Seminar
An increasing number of families have obtained a SUN OVEN to have on hand in the event of an emergency and have been pleasantly surprised by the improved taste of sun cooked foods and the lifestyle advantages of cooking with the sun. Paul Munsen, of SUN OVENS International, will teach on how to harness the power of the sun to bake, boil, and steam foods. He will show how practical and easy it is to cook in a SUN OVEN and discuss the many economic, health, and environmental benefits of cooking with the sun.

Learn how to never have to worry about burning dinner again. Discover how to use a SUN OVEN to naturally dehydrate fruits and vegetables, and enhance winter sprouting. Find out how to reduce your utility bills and the amount of fuel you need to store for emergency preparedness. while helping families in deforested developing counties around the world. 

As part of National Preparedness Month a series of free SUN OVEN Cooking Essentials Seminars will be offered during September throughout Utah. For a list of locations dates and times visit:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Natalie Barron from Bee Provident Supplies will be teaching a class on cooking with the Global Sun Oven on Tuesday, July 14, 2009, at Macey's Grocery Store at 931 W. State Street in Pleasant Grove, Utah at 7:00pm. To register for the class, call Macey's customer service desk at (801)796-6601.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And the winners are...

There was such a great response from people across Utah that it took Sun Ovens International a little longer than anticipated to compile all of the entries and randomly select the winners. We had a total of 442 entries divided among 58 participants.

Entries were received from all across Utah, including Logan, Ogden, Syracuse, Farmington, Salt Lake City, South Jordan, Lehi, Orem, Provo, Delta, Moab, Ivins, Hurricane, Cedar City and St. George.

Foods included quesidillas, a whole chicken, stews, steamed vegetables, muffins, cakes, granola, rice, mac & cheese, stuffed onions and potatoes, to name a few.

We congratulate everyone who entered the competition and thank you for taking action to reduce the cooking carbon footprint in Utah. Now, let's list the winners of the first ever Solar Cooking Challenge.

Paula Childs from Salt Lake City wins a Sun Oven
Carson King from Provo wins a Sun Oven

Susan King from Provo wins the pots and pans
Dawndra Mills from Syracuse wins the pots and pans
Genine Fulcher from Lehi wins the pots and pans

Leland Smith from Orem wins the SUNdays cookbook
Karen Taylor from St. George wins the SUNdays cookbook
Jordan McCullum from Orem wins the SUNdays cookbook
Linda Walker from South Jordan wins the SUNdays cookbook
Rebecca Middleton from Lehi wins the SUNdays cookbook

Again, congrats to everyone who entered.

Monday, June 29, 2009

SLC Mayor Becker Gets a Taste

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker had the opportunity to taste a solar cooked meal as part of the Solar Cooking Challenge. The weather was pretty sketchy that day, but Paul Munsen with Sun Ovens International was able to speak with the Mayor about the many benefits to using a solar oven.

The Sun Oven works great as an emergency prep tool. But there was also discussion about its use as a piece of camping equipment. This is a product with many uses, and one that can save money on utility bills because it does not use electricity or gas from a conventional oven.

Paul even shared the WAPI (Water Purification Indicator) with Mayor Becker. The WAPI is a simple little tool for knowing when water that is placed in the Sun Oven has been purified, since the water won't really come to a boil in the oven.

Friday, June 26, 2009

So Far So Good!

One day into the Solar Cooking Challenge, residents across Utah are responding to the call and whipping out some great meals in their solar ovens. Here are some photos that have been submitted so far from people in Syracuse, Spanish Fork, Delta, Farmington and South Jordan.

Meals have include a complete breakfast (eggs, toast and bacon), chicken fajitas, oats, chocolate chip pan cookies, muffins and cakes.

Way to go Utah. Even though the weather is a little cloudy today, let's get ready and hit it hard over the weekend and see how many more meals and photos will help contribute to cleaner air in Utah as we reduce the fuels burned and electricity used for cooking.

Keep cooking Utah.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Newspaper Article on Solar Cooking in Utah

The Salt Lake Tribune published a great article yesterday about solar cooking and the Solar Cooking Challenge, which kicks off today. Click here to read the article.

To submit your entry for the Solar Cooking Challenge, click here or on the link in the upper right-hand corner of the blog. And don't forget, the more meals you cook in it, and photos you submit, the better your chances are of winning some of the great prizes.

Plus, check below for information on the classes that are being held on Friday and Saturday of this week. Learn how to solar cook if this is something that you have never done before. Keep your eyes in the Utah media and look for stories about how easy solar cooking can be and the many benefits of solar cooked food.