Capture something reflected back to you in such a way that you look at your surroundings differently, is the invitation in this week’s photo challenge with the theme ‘Reflecting’.

This photo shows our homemade solar cooker that functions by using the reflective surface of a car windscreen shield. It reflects sunlight onto a black pot or kettle, and the reflected heat from the sunlight is intense enough to heat a large kettle of water almost to boiling point, and even to cook food. The cooker is much more efficient if black cookware is used, as black is not reflective. However, some methods use cooking containers with transparent lids that trap the heat inside. We were first alerted to this idea as explained in this piece available at the Solar Cooking archive.

Reflecting sunlight using this really cheap and easy method has made us look at the light and power of the sun in a different way, reflecting on how its power can usefully be harnessed using simple technology.

It has also made us think differently about our often wasteful use of electricity, and the fact that many people in our country and in the world, do not have access to electricity, so that they are not able to heat water or cook at the flick of a switch.

Low tech can be surprising efficient, as well as enabling people to help themselves. We use this method to heat water outside in our garden when we have daytime power outages, or when we want to reduce our electricity consumption. The top and side flaps of the box are hinged and all fold up for easy storage and portability.

Below is a photo of our first and simpler version of our reflecting solar water heater made from a car windscreen shield. We used this portable device to heat water when travelling and camping in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana. Basic though this device was, it was very effective as a water heater. 


Posted by Carol