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“The world must turn to sun to power ourfuture”, said our Prime Minister Narrative Modi at the 2015 COP Climate Conference in Paris.

From times immemorial mankind has worshiped Sun as a source of energy, a source of life. Time moved on, civilizations flourished and civilizations perished but this belief in the power of the sun has remained unchanged. It is the sun that drives food chains in the ecosystems.

It’s time we woke up to the importance of solar energy as an answer to the imminent exhaustion of conventional energy resources. Governments are aiming to harness sun power. Solar parks are set up by state governments. In India Tamilnadu, Rajasthan and Gujarat are ahead of other states in solar power generation and usage for the purpose of electrification and industry. The government also provides subsidy on solar lanterns, heaters, and ovens.

However, we can use sun’s energy in a much more direct way. We can cook our food using sun energy as our fuel and thereby increase the significance of sun in our daily lives.

In this direction, an example worth emulating was set by the students in Maharashtra when a new world record was created on Jan 15, 2015, by 15000 students in Mumbai from 80 schools. They were taught to assemble solar cookers then they also cooked dishes of their choice at the event called Initiative Suryakimbh. It was organized by a social service unit Keshav Srushti. Dr. Alka Mande the chairperson of Keshav Srushti said ‘Every child was provided with a solar to assemble and take home to spread awareness about the initiative among the friends and relatives.’*

Let’s know the pros and cons of using the solar oven.

1. Using solar energy for the purpose of cooking will minimize the consumption of other conventional fuels.
2. It is safer than any other fuels as it does not produce flames.
3. It is eco-friendly as it does not cause air pollution and uses renewable energy.
4. It makes economic sense as solar ovens not expensive nor do we have to pay the bill for using sunlight.
5. Water can be easily pasteurized in a solar oven as heating it at 65 degrees C makes it perfectly Safe for drinking.
6. Though it sounds like a paradox it can save our time too. One can put the vegetables or lentils in the oven before going out for work or pleasure and come back to a ready meal. So once tuned to it this contraption can prove to be a great friend.
7. It’s particularly effective for roasting, boiling, and baking.

1. It has its limitations too. Like we can not prepare things like chapatis on this.
2. If we need something really quick like tea or coffee it doesn’t help.
3. Therefore, at best it is a good support system which cannot completely replace the conventional cooking as yet.

There is another limiting factor as to the uses of solar energy that it works only when the sun is available in abundance. But this limitation could well be a thing of past. The good news is that a new solar cell prototype has been developed by a team of scientists in Qingdao, China. It will create electricity with the assistance of rain drops. This has been possible thanks to the thin layer of graphene being used to coat solar cells. So it may soon rain solar power.**

*dna. com Mumbai News
**Down to Earth Supplement/Gobar Times/May16-31,2016

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