Solar Fire Posts

Solar Fire chosen as TOP NORDIC 50 IMPACT COMPANY - 2021!

Posted Friday 3 December 2021 by Urs Riggenbach.

We are honoured to announce our company Solar Fire has been selected as one of the Nordic’s top 50 impact companies! Since 2017, The One Initiative has assessed over a thousand companies from the Nordic and Baltic regions, for their impact scalability and commercial viability. We are deeply grateful that our important work is more recognized today. On December 9th in Copenhagen, we will get to connect with fellow impact companies and investors, to build synergies needed to scale our impact.

To learn more about The One Initiative, and see the other top impact companies 2021, visit: https://www.oneinitiative.org/top-50-impact-2021/

We look forward to join the event in Copenhagen on December 9th, 2021.


Announcing new Partnership with Plan International to Empower Entrepreneurs in Uganda

Posted Monday 1 November 2021 by Urs Riggenbach.

We are excited to announce this new partnership to empower entrepreneurs to run solar bakeries and food businesses across 11 locations in Uganda. The project will allow existing bakery cooperatives to transition from daily charcoal burning to using our powerful Lytefire 5 solar concentrator. In addition, we deepen our cooperation with Plan International’s SmartUp Hubs that started back in 2018: There we will equip the SmartUp Hubs with more Lytefires and train unemployed youths to become solar bakers.

It is a great opportunity to spread our entrepreneurial spirit to help boost incomes, grow local sustainable businesses, and at the same time reduce people’s exposure to toxic smoke from charcoal and other polluting fuels. Not to mention the carbon emissions this will reduce at the same time.

The cooperation is a collaboration between Plan International Finland as project initiator, Plan International Uganda as local implementation partner and Solar Fire, the creators of the Lytefire technology and the GoSol educational trainings to create solar entrepreneurs.


Solar Fire is now spreading through a podcast

Posted vendredi 15 octobre 2021 by Eva Wissenz.

We are so happy to start a series of podcast. We are on journey to share more and more about our vision and our energy, everything that is behind the scene of Solar Fire. From solving energy poverty to personal empowerment, from gender equality in the team to specific feminin challenges in the renewable energy field, from a backyard in Canada to several countries in Africa.

The first three episodes are :

1. Solving energy poverty
Our Chief Operations Officer, Lorin Symington, shares how his family came up with the idea of this solar concentrator, how he gets to know the cultures in the different countries he visits and what motivates him. It was recorded between Burkina-Faso and Finland at the end of 2020.

2. Solar Fire Women : A conversation
Finally, Solar Fire reached gender equality ! For many years, Solar Fire was a team of six persons with only one woman. Nothing in her previous life prepared her to be one of the co-founders of a tech project meant to solve energy poverty. In this second episode, the 7 women working now for Solar Fire or who are promoting the Lytefire tech are sharing their experience, challenges and hopes from Finland, Switzerland, Kenya and France.

3. Can we accelerate the transformation of society by accelerating our own change ?
Our CEO, Urs Riggenbach, shares about the change dynamics and whether we are ready or not for climate change, developing an interesting and deep perspective based on his decade of work serving Solar Fire with the purpose of developing an energy tool that is truly empowering people. As he says, “the growth of an organization literally is the growth of the individuals within the organization.”

Listen here. We hope you’ll like it !


About 300 solar buns a day for a Montessori school in Mwanza !

Posted mercredi 1er septembre 2021 by Lorin Symington.

Jambo mambo ! Habari ako ? Nzuri sana ! Greetings and salutations from Mwanza, Tanzania. Also known as Rock City, this city of about a million people is in the western part of the country and has about a million inhabitants. It is here that you can find Mwanza Montessori school, a wonderful institution devoted to wholesome and child focused education. The School is led by Sister Denise, who we connected with in Switzerland and enabled the installation of three Lytefire 5 solar ovens at their school to bake bread, cookies and cakes for the student population.

The school had an old unused shipping container that had been modified into a shop, with windows, doors, cupboards and shelves already built into it and during our pre-project survey we identified this as an ideal location for the ovens. Our Kenyan fabricator Jared traveled to Mwanza ahead of the project to scout out if there were suitable places for the Lytefires nearby to the container and then, due to uneven ground, he built 3 concrete ring foundations to host the ovens.

The installation of the machines was done collaboratively, with our team of project managers instructing teachers, students and school support staff how to install and calibrate the Lytefire5.

Next we headed into the classroom where we taught these lively youngsters about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. We covered such topics as procurement, inventory, hygiene, quality control, bookkeeping, profit margin calculations and how to develop a business plan. Below you can see our Kenyan country representative Joan Arwa, teaching the kids the difference in profit between buying retail and buying wholesale :

It’s our experience that young students are much more focused and well behaved if there are going to be cookies after school ;)

Montessori education consists of a lot of hands-on learning. ‘Teach me to do it by myself’ is a common saying amongst Montessori educators. That’s one of the reasons that our program fit so well with the Maria Montessori philosophy because we very much emphasize practical learning. We mix classroom sessions learning theory with the practical experience of creating tasty treats from scratch :

Cookies and cupcakes are great and get the students very excited but the primary reason for this initiative was to bake higher quality bread at a lower cost for the students. Previously, the school had been buying buns from a commercial bakery in town. Included in the price, as we learned in class there are fuel costs to bake, delivery fees and the profit margin of the business. Thanks to our intrepid team we found the cheapest places in town to buy all the ingredients and, without need to buy gas, electricity or charcoal to bake the bread, we managed to cut the schools’ bread budget nearly in half ! Feast your eyes on the delicious buns that our master baker Hasheem taught us all how to bake :

The final week involved some experimentation and optimisation of production flows and schedules, calculating recipes so that we match the size and weight of the commercial buns and also fill up the baking trays precisely, practicing the timing of starting the dough, heating up the Lytefire, letting the bread prove as we wash dishes, and then bake while reviewing the theory components. We’re extremely proud of the students and staff who took up this opportunity with enthusiasm. No project, however, is complete without a demo day !

We invited the families of participants, as well as some local dignitaries and other educators to come and see the results of our entrepreneurship and solar bakery training package. Of course we had to invite the students that didn’t have the chance to participate in the training as well and feed them lots of buns and cookies and the beautiful cakes you can see on the picture below ! The students and staff alike were excited to demonstrate their newly acquired skills and the power of the Lytefires and the crowd was happy to smell and taste cookies being baked solely by the power of the sun.

We at GoSol and the Mwanza Montessori school would like to thank Kloster Baldegg for making this project possible !

Thanks also to the team : Jared and Joan from Kenya, our new other project manager Sam Rodrigues, and Hanna Gregory and Callum McRobbie who were volunteering.


Announcing new Partnership with Solarstart in Switzerland

Posted Wednesday 28 July 2021 by Muriel Fuhrer.

We are excited to announce our new partnership with Solarstart, a Swiss non-profit association focused on raising awareness on solar energy and empowering entrepreneurs.

Next summer, the association will install a solar bakery at Switzerland’s largest youth camp bringing together more than 30’000 youths (covid permitting). Solarstart will be running what will probably be the largest solar bakery ever installed, supported by over 200 volunteers to run solar ovens to produce snacks and baked goods for the two-weeks camp.

Beyond that, the association aims to maximize impact by facilitating solar entrepreneurship in Switzerland through projects and partnerships, as well as help finance and facilitate similar solar-entrepreneurship projects in other countries of the world.

The association was founded by Solar Fire’s team members Muriel, Judith and Urs, and is proud to have Eva, Lorin and Arnaud as key advisers in the development of their activities.

More about Solarstart can be found here (in German): https://solarstart.org/de


Tanzania: a Montessori school chose Lytefire

Posted Saturday 19 June 2021 by Lorin Symington.

We’re happy to announce that we will be implementing an innovative new project in the Mwanza region of Tanzania in association with Montessori School Mwanza. Montessori School Mwanza is under the direction of Sister Denise Mattle, who has been involved in Montessori education for more than 40 years.

Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. It was developed by Maria Montessor in Italy about a century agoi and is practiced worldwide.

Given the fact that the Montessori School Mwanza is an education campus for more than 1000 students, some of whom stay overnight, there is a considerable demand for bread and baked goods as well as the occasional birthday cake already coming from within the institution! Beyond that, the goal is to sell the solar-baked goods through a newly opened shop in the neighborhood.

Together, GoSol and Montessori School Mwanza will install Lytefire 3 ovens, conduct a training of trainers to ensure that staff at the school are familiar with Lytefire tech as well as the basics of baking and entrepreneurship. Afterwards, together we’ll train the first batch of secondary school students who will have the opportunity to provide baked goods for their peers and also create a student run business that will develop recipes and sell baked goods to the surrounding population.

The hands-on learning approach of Montessori Schools is a great fit for GoSol’s educational program where we train participants in the installation, use and maintenance of Lytefire technology as well as practical aspects of entrepreneurship and bakery skills. Giving secondary school students the opportunity to also interact with a renewable energy source and learn about climate change can also help to prepare them for the future.

This is a great opportunity to give youth who are interested in learning about how to run a business a great hands-on experience as part of their schooling, supervised by caring and qualified adults. Additionally, for any students more interested in the culinary arts there should be ample opportunity to practice and experiment while baking for their friends and fellow students.

This initiative should help to save Montessori School Mwanza money, reduce their environmental impact and give a large number of young people exposure to renewable energy solutions, experience running a business and lots of practice baking delicious treats like cakes, cookies, muffins and more!

More info about Montessori Mwanza here.

Read more about the project once completed with 300 buns solar baked for the school !.

All pictures (c) Montessori Mwanza.


The French solar connexion : entrepreneurship and education

Posted dimanche 30 mai 2021 by Eva Wissenz.

We guess you’re now familiar with our Chief Innovation and Tech Officer, Arnaud Cretot, who’s based in France and who pushed the #lytefire to become a great tool for his solar bakery - the 1st in Europe !

Depending on the season, with the Lytefire 5, Arnaud gets from 50kg to 110kg of bread per day and from 110kg to 250kg with the Lytefire 11. Even in winter and with negative température outside and unperfect weather, he can bake his yummi recipes ! Look at his winter breads !

Thanks to his work with NeoLoco, his dedication and the demo days he’s organizing in Normandy, more and more people are getting familiar with the new super sustainable jobs of solar baker and solar roaster (roasting seeds to produce snacks and even a lentils based coffee...).

Inspired by his energy (and financial results), 2 other French solarpreneurs decided to start their solar journey in South and East France.

In the sunny Barcarès, Mr Luc Fournaux started this year to sale his delicious solar snacks on the local market places.

With Le Comptoir d’Hélios, he’s a pionner in his region for sure !

In East France, Lydiane Tyrel started her roasting activity as well, with Du Soleil et des graines.

She’s elaborating delicious recipes and we’ll share more about her very soon !

Another initiative is led by the association Vagabonds de l’énergie, co-founded by Arnaud loooong time ago. Nowadays, Clément Bresciani and his friends are using a Lytefire 5 for education to climate change in schools.

This year only, they got 24 classes, from 1st grade to 6th grade, meaning about 600 kids exposed to this new tech in 4 school nearby Louviers, France.

Clément is organizing a 3hrs workshop for kids during which they learn about energy, direct solar concentration and tehn go outside to experiment with the Lytefire. The workshop is structure for small teams of 2-3 kids with 5 missions.

Obviously, they all cooperate and are so happy to taste their solar cookies !

Contact the Energy Vagabonds for more info here.

To discover the Lytefire solar oven, here is a cool video for you :


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