Massive Solar Ovens Overcome The Shortfalls Of Chronic Power Failures
A Palestinian man living in Gaza is helping his community overcome chronic energy shortages with affordable DIY solar ovens.
Life in the Gaza Strip is challenging, to say the least. The day-to-day Gazan experience is riddled with fuel and food shortages, unreliable electricity, and a rapidly growing population that stretches the limits of already degraded infrastructure. The everyday struggles are compounded by periodic episodes of warfare with Israel. Despite the rough conditions, Gaza has no shortage of human resilience or sunlight. Case in point? Khaled Bashir, of Deir al Balah in the Gaza Strip, has constructed a solar oven to take advantage of natural resources that sanctions and blockades cannot disrupt.
Bashir is well trained in the field of renewable energy, having earned an M.Sc at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. After graduating, he worked for many years for the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry and is now employed by a construction materials company. Though the construction business in Gaza keeps Bashir occupied, he still manages to find time to pioneer resilient technologies to help his community.
Bashir’s solar oven cooks slowly but effectively. “This oven is better than an electric or gas oven,” says Bashir. “It uses natural energy that doesn’t cost anything and is available in Gaza year-round. Solar cooking helps keep the flavor and quality of the food, and it never burns, because the sun is in constant motion”. Inside the oven, temperatures can reach up to 284 degrees Fahrenheit. “You can make everything in this oven, except tea and coffee”, says Bashir. Because of his oven’s efficiency, Bashir needs only one tank of cooking gas per year.
Bashir has assisted in the construction of 20 solar ovens primarily for use by his neighbors. Anyone who is interested in building their own oven only has to contact Bashir and spend the two days and 700 shekels necessary for labor and parts. “I’m not doing this for profit”, says Bashir. “I want to see the young people of Gaza turn to alternative energy. My house is open, and I’m willing to share my knowledge.”