Solar Fire Posts

Solar kitchen launch with Don Bosco in Kakuma, Kenya

Posted Wednesday 9 November 2022 by Samuel Rodrigues.

This September Solar Fire started another project with Don Bosco, this time in Kakuma.

Kakuma is a small town in the Turkana region, north west of Kenya set in a beautiful yet austere landscape. The region is unfortunately known these days for the climatic stress it is under. It’s the stage for simultaneously aggressive droughts and destructive flash floods that disrupt both the ecosystem and human socio-economic activities. The people of Turkana know all too well the impacts of climate change.

The town itself has currently around 60 000 inhabitants but the total population is much higher if the Kakuma Refugee Camp is taken into account. Established in 1992 this camp is currently the largest in the world hosting about 200 000 refugees and asylum seekers who escaped conflicts in Sudan (58% of the population), Somalia (16%), Democratic Republic of Congo (8%), Burundi (7%), Ethiopia (5%) and other surrounding countries.

The camp is run by UNHCR Kenya and receives support in key social needs like health, education, housing, child protection etc, from different civil society and non governmental institutions.
Don Bosco provides the camp population with several education centers where about 800 students per year are given vocational training in crafts like masonry, electricity, metal working, tailoring, etc.

There are many challenges to these institutions as well as to the camp and local populations. One of them, common in these contexts, is energy supply. The electrical grid is almost non-existent and, mostly because of its remoteness, access to gas or other fuels is difficult and expensive. So most of the cooking and food transformation is done using firewood. In such an arid context in which deforestation promotes an alarming desertification, it is obvious to everyone that this solution is not sustainable and that it is bound to get more and more expensive.

Pile of firewood at Don Bosco used to cook for around 800 students a day.

So the stage is set for this Don Bosco - Solar Fire collaboration. Alternatives like concentrated solar heat (in which Solar Fire specializes) can therefore have an important and positive impact in the preservation of the environment and in the improvement of living conditions for everyone.

There are two main goals for this project:
1- Setting up a solar bakery unit that can serve as training grounds, as employment opportunity for some students and as a source of income to Don Bosco Kakuma.
2 - Installing several solar stove tops to sustainably and economically cook (for the moment a significant part of) the daily meals served to the students.

This September Solar Fire organized a first field mission to Kakuma to assess the local needs and capabilities.

We selected and prepared a site - A terrace on the side of a hill at Don Bosco’s compound was created and prepared to receive five Lytefire machines.

We prepared a working space - An empty room near to the site was turned into a temporary bakery, as we wait for a permanent Solar Kitchen and Bakery to be created.

We installed a first solar oven - we organized an introductory training session with the group of staff and students that will be running the bakery and installed and started production with a first Lytefire solar oven.

The mission was a success! The bakery team has started a steady production (more news on them soon) and Solar Fire is producing the five more Lytefire 5 that we will install soon.

We’ll be back in Kakuma in no time!


We did it!

Posted Thursday 3 November 2022 by Eva Wissenz.

A big big thank you to all those who have supported this campaign in one way or another.

This raised budget will allow to build the 2 Lytefire solar ovens in Kenya and refresh one existing one, to give one to Joan who lives nearby, to send one to Hashimu who is in Tanzania and another one to Allen in Uganda, in addition to some utensils and ingredients.

It’s a huge step for us because until now, in Africa, we we’ve only worked with NGOs and not directly with the entrepreneurs creating their slow tech companies and local bakeries, and it’s really great to finally be able to do this!

Joan, Hashimu, Allen, we know them well, we work with them for training and they understand 200% the Solar Fire vision with decentralized energy and which is so successfully illustrated in France with Neoloco. So, there you go, with this support, they will do the same, make themselves visible, inspire people.

 

And meanwhile, these Lytefire ovens are spreading in different sizes and for different needs in different contexts...

- in France with entrepreneurs who have a more industrial version made in France to make bread or snacks,

- with associations that go to schools or festivals to talk about solar bakery (cookies and pizza too),

- with trainers in the self-construction of the small model,

- with self-constructions of the oven that we guide remotely for small and medium-sized associations in the South,

- with more and more local licensees manufacturers who will be able to market on their side,

- with schools in Africa whose canteens are being equipped,

- and with NGOs too of course.

And all these people, at the end of this month, will be able to discuss together on a forum that we have been dreaming about for a long time.

Like everything, it has been hard work, years and years of persistence, miles of life lessons, but it’s such a great journey!!


Solarpreneurs, Production, Events in Normandy and Crowdfunding Success!

Posted Friday 28 October 2022 by Urs Riggenbach.

Last week I visited Arnaud Crétot in Normandy, who runs a solar bakery powered with our Lytefire 11 Solar Oven. He’s doing great. His solar roasted café made from lentils and chickpeas has just won a trophy (Trophées de l’innovation de l’Agroalimentaire), and his bakery business NeoLoco is expanding. I’ve personally started to be addicted to Arnaud’s sustainable coffee-alternative made from local ingredients so it comes as no surprise! 😉 He’s also now fully certified as organic producer. I was joined in my visit by team member and Lead Information Officer Muriel and impact investor Susanne.

Together we also shared his tasty and nutritious solar-baked sourdough bread:

We also visited CPM Industries, our commercial partners producing and selling Lytefire 5 and 11 "Deluxe" in France. They are producing at their factory in Normandie a high quality and fully mobile version of the Lytefire adapted to the French market. Really exciting to see first-hand!

In the evening we joined an event organized by les Vagabonds de l’énergie about the topic of solar entrepreneurship, hosted by Clément Bresciani in a panel with Muriel, Arnaud, and two new solarpreneurs we have introduced we have introduced in an earlier blog post. Associations like this are playing an important role in raising awareness, especially through the educational activities they offer to schools and during public events. Learn more about the solarpreneurs here: https://lytefire.com/solarpreneurs

A few days after my return yet another amazing news: Our Crowdfunding on Ulule is a success! 102% raised of our first goal, and 3 days left to complete as much of our second milestone as possible! Joan, Hashimu and Allen are super happy to soon receive their Lytefire and start a bakery in their communities in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. We all touched to tears with the amazing support of almost 200 supporters that made this possible, and we now deserve a good night’s rest after the big push it has been!

Join the crowdfunder here:
https://www.ulule.com/pioneers-solar-bakers-in-east-africa/


Nebbi Solar Bakery Preparing a Cake for Uganda’s President’s Son’s Birthday

Posted Friday 16 September 2022 by Eva Wissenz.

What a lovely birthday cake! It has been solar baked by Nebbi solar bakery for General Muhoozi for his birthday celebration in May 2022.

Then, on August 26th, 2022, during the International Youth Day Celebration held last month in different cities in Uganda, Nebbi solar bakery has gained national recognition in Gulu. "The team has been recognized for the great work in ending poverty through skilling and environmental conservation through the use of solar oven", says Prudence, team leader.

General Muhoozi Kainerugaba is the son of the actual President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. The President could taste this delicious cake and have a look the oven while congratulating Prudence, the Head Baker.

Nebbi is one of the most performant groups trained by the team with the support of Plan International Uganda and Plan International Finland.

Congratulations to this super motivated team!


Three new Solarpreneurs in France!

Posted Monday 29 August 2022 by Eva Wissenz.

Thanks to the patient work of Arnaud, Elise, Benoist, Maxence and Loïc, three new French entrepreneurs decided to start using the Lytefire Deluxe manufactured in France to power their activity. They have been inspired by NeoLoco, Arnaud’s solar bakery, and by Lydiane and Manu, who have been the first to jump in and become "solarpreneurs" with Du Soleil et des Graines. Together in East France, Lydiane and Manu have now more than 50 retailers welcoming their solar roasted creations (see here).

 
L’Atelier Bélénos was created in Brittany, France, by Didier Ménard. "Bélénos" stands for the Gallic god of sun and health. The owner has a background of generalist engineer and is a former project manager in the cosmetics industry. Didier started the production around March 2022 and the marketing from mid-May. He solar makes cereal bars and roasted seeds for salads. He already has a dozen retailers.

Michel Mouillé is an environmental education trainer. He discovered the Lytefire thanks to NeoLoco and, as he was already offering courses and training focused on alternative cooking solutions with Idée d’en Faire, he was immediately interested. After several visits to the solar bakery, he decided to get his Lytefire Deluxe. He finds it "easy to use and quick to handle". He will soon start roasting his seeds and offer a local coffee. raise people’s awareness of the challenges of solar cooking. Below are some cool pictures of the pizza workshop he hosted for families in precarious situations and during the Low tech festival, l’Ouvre Boîtes (Can Opener).

Based in Normandy, in the Pays de Bray, Céline Puech launched Solé B’Rayon this summer. Céline has matured her project for a long time. With her Lytefire, she plans to create her own cereal bars as well as roasted seed mixes to replace crisps and peanuts for appetizers. She also created a nice ebook with healthy solar roasted seeds based recipes.

More inspiration? Discover other solarpreneurs right here!


Two Strong Women Joining

Posted Friday 22 July 2022 by Eva Wissenz.





With the title of this post, I refer to Marie NDiaye’s book, Three Strong Women (2009), which is telling the story of three heroines between France and Senegal. It is proven: powerful stories and visions can change the world. Let’s only remember the Civil Rights movement in the US or the raise of women empowerment happening progressively since a few decades (2 generations ago, women couldn’t vote, remember?). For sure, it’s not enough. For sure, it’s not fast enough and we’re not enough people but there are, actually many, so many examples of real change in the past. This can give us courage in hard times.

Our followers know that with the Lytefire, the team is on a journey to mitigate deforestation and global warming consequences, as well as empower people with a simple, efficient and elegant solar solution. Lytefire requires no infrastructure, no renovation and no high tech to be implemented. And it relieves the burden of energy from many people’s shoulders around the world, especially women and especially in Africa.

Did you know that many women in African villages still have to go to chop wood and it takes them hours every day? On her way, the woman might meet with predators (humans or animals), break her back, then spend hours by the fireplace breathing dark particles to simply roast a few kg of peanuts to be sold on the local market. Provide these women with a Lytefire oven and all this is gone. And the deforestation slows down around the village.

Did you know that this year, our field team trained more than 200 young people in Uganda to become solar bakers and created themselves an income based on a fossil fuel free activity? Doesn’t this give a bit of hope?

Did you know that some people in France are ready for a change using that same tech to bake and roast delicious snacks? They save on energy and they experience a different relationship to work - following the sun, adapting to elements, experiencing the solidity of a locally produced solar tech very adapted to our times.

And on top of spreading Lytefire with pedagogical trainings, the team works on changing the storytelling and building bridges. That’s what’s needed to make this world a better place.

On this path, we are now joined by 2 strong women, and we’re so happy to welcome them.

Susanne Müller is an impact investor from Germany, in charge of MII GmbH. She is joining our board as a Director. After several years in public service (HZI, Fraunhofer ITEM), Susanne changed to the private sector. She has experience in the metal, wood and plastics processing industry in the areas of HR, occupational safety and most recently QM.

"Recently I became a happy impact investor. I’ve seen a lot and want to see a lot more. I believe in mutual success through cooperation!

When I saw the Lytefire for the first time in the showroom video, it was immediately clear to me that this is a simple, technical solution that could be used anywhere in the world.
This product holds the solution to a group of global issues that we need to tackle now! During my first conversations with the founders of SFCO, I was immediately carried away by the strength of their vision and their devotion.

During my visit to Kenya and Uganda in April this year, I was able to get to know most of the team. I got detailed insights into the production of the Lytefire stoves directly on site in Kenya, into the project work and into the training courses in Uganda, which impressed me very much. I was able to see by myself what entrepreneurial perspectives a Lytefire Bakery brings for the users. I have been able to taste their cookies and cakes. I could really feel the empowerment of the trainees, who are mostly women. Furthermore, I was deeply inspired by the team’s loving passion and enthusiasm for working towards the fulfillment of the mission.

It quickly became clear to me that I would be happy to support this company with all my skills beyond my role as an impact investor. With Solar Fire board, I’m willing to share my expertise in quality management based on my many years of experience in the various sectors of the manufacturing industry. I am delighted and honored to be part of the working board myself now, to support the mission with my strength and to drive the vision forward."

Elise Hauters is co-managing CPM Industries with her brother Benoist Panchout. The company was created in Normandy by their father in 1990. CPM Industries expertise, is mostly in the aeronautics sector. It is thanks to their high motivation that Lytefire Deluxe has been finalized last year and starts to be commercialized in France. Elise’s interest and commitment for impact is growing more and more at all level and she is initiating new projects to work on the transformation of her industry sector.
"It is my pleasure and also honor to accept this volunteer role of board advisor on topics on which I can shed some light. I find SFCO’s mission very meaningful for several reasons and first of all the Lytefire implemented in Africa (and I hope one day among other regions in need for it) is a tool that makes possible to solve major food problems related to global warming. But what moves me the most I think is the ability that this tech is providing to women to emancipate themselves, to empower themselves, to take the lead.

As a woman and a business leader, I experience how complex and heavy leading is, even in a Western and modern society. In addition, I have the absolute conviction that the industry must be able to put its capacity and skills at the service of social and environmental justice. We must be creative in the way we carry out our projects, in general.

My institutional missions on this topic allow me to confront on one hand the economic issues , which guide the actions of the major players in my territory in France, with the issues that I personally consider to be a priority. And if this can help Lytefire team, in one way or another, I am happy to dedicate time to share my expertise and past learning’s."

Thanks for joining us!

(icon picture - credit : jplenio / Pixabay - Licence : CC0)


Campaign launch! Support Solar Bakery Pioneers in East Africa

Posted Friday 17 June 2022 by Eva Wissenz.

Help Joan, Hashimu and Allen to inspire their local communities by harnessing the power of the sun and creating sustainable bakeries!

Feeding their community without polluting or deforesting is what Joan, Hashimu and Allen choose to do in order to fight the intensity and acceleration of climate change and global warming caused by human activities.

With your help, we want to support each solarpreneur to acquire a Lytefire solar oven, the material and ingredients needed to start in their town in September-October 2022.

Joan is a female entrepreneur in Kenya. Hashimu is a young cook in Tanzania. Allen is a pensioner baker but ooops, we shouldn’t say pensioner because he is more active than you and me!

What do they all have in common? They all live in East Africa, they face heavy daily challenges connected to the reality of global warming, they want to make a change and they LOVE the Lytefire solar oven.

Thank you for supporting them as much as you can on the campaign page and by sharing on social media!


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