Project Title: BVCO-SunFire Solutions Solar Stoves (TP057)
Location: South Africa

View the latest project update.

This project is being jointly funded by the following TICOS Service Users, Ski Safari, Blue Ventures, Bushbaby Travel, Real Africa, Pure Crete, Nomadic Thoughts and Arblaster and Clarke Wine Tours. Service Users that have pledged to support TP057 in the future include The Adventure Company, responsibletravelinsurance.com and Cedarberg African Travel. If you would like your company to contribute offset funds to this project then please contact us and read our Service Users pages.

Please contact TICOS if you would like more information about this project, quoting its reference number 'TP057' in all correspondence.

Date verified by TICOS: 9 July 2008
Estimated project cost:

£130,000 for 1,500 stoves (500 in each location – Soweto, Polokwane and Acornhoek).

Project timescale: Six years plus from receipt of funding.
Additional sustainable development benefits:
  • Reduced smoke-related health problems in recipient households
  • Reduced incidence of cooking-related burn injuries.
  • Job creation.
  • Workshops and demonstration days increase knowledge and understanding of efficient cooking and the use of solar and fuel-efficient stoves.
  • Reduced deforestation and habitat degradation in the surrounding area.  This will help safeguard regional biodiversity and reduce soil erosion and associated silting of rivers and water courses.
  • Reduction in coal emissions.

Brief Project Description

This project seeks to reduce poverty and alleviate the difficult energy situation that South Africa is currently experiencing. It provides subsidised solar and fuel-efficient stoves to poor communities, allowing families to move away from open-fire cooking which requires enormous amounts of wood fuel and often leads to smoke-related illnesses. The project provides immediate environmental, economic, health and social benefits and is based on a business model that engages local communities and encourages grass-roots entrepreneurship.

Collecting firewoodSolar parabolic stoveSunfire's sunboxVesto stove

The project locations are in the peri-urban township of Soweto and city of Polokwane, and the semi-rural area of Acornhoek. Each of these projects focuses on communities that are currently struggling to meet their energy needs and have limited economic opportunities.

This project results in an estimated offset of 12,744 tonnes of CO2 at a price less than £10 per tonne.

Latest Project Update

The Solar Stoves Project is set to officially launch in South Africa in early 2009. Funds to date have been spent on buying the Parabolic Stoves and on training the entrepreneurs in the townships of Polokwane and Acornhoek. This project, supported by TICOS and part managed by BVCO, subsidises Solar Cookers and related technologies to entrepreneurs making them affordable to end users in South Africa’s poorest communities.

South Africa is currently undergoing a major energy policy shift. A lack of power supply means millions of Rural South Africans no longer have an opportunity to receive conventional electricity as promised by the Government in 1994. The Solar Entrepreneurs program presents one way to solve this issue while providing a unique solution to a range of other global issues. This program pioneers a unique intervention by making renewable energy accessible in the poorest segments of South African society at affordable prices using community based entrepreneurs.

One of our target communities lives alongside the Kruger Park widely renowned as one of the best preserved wilderness areas on earth. Firewood is an increasing issue for conflict with communities forced to enter the Park risking dangerous human-animal encounters or arrest by Park officials. Reliance on fossil fuels entrenches poverty and is a major factor in deforestation. Rural communities are eventually forced to buy paraffin/kerosene for cooking which creates health problems for community members. Indoor air pollution has been identified as the fourth biggest danger to women and children in developing countries and increases lung and eye disease.