Q. Do the BlazingTubeSolarAppliance (BTSA) and Sol*Saver Water Pasteurizer make economic sense in poor countries?
A. Nearly all solar equipment comes with a higher initial cost compared with conventional approaches. However, both the BTSA and Sol*Saver are manufactured of highly durable components, assuring a long, cost-free service life. In addition, the high efficiency designed into both solar products, provides significantly higher reliability, which translates into more days of successful performance, and therefore greater annual savings and short payback periods. Q. How do the BTSA and Sol*Saver units compare to other similar solar products?
A. Drawing on 30 years of solar thermal experience, the designers were able to achieve significant improvements when compared to other solar cookers and pasteurizers. Available test data shows specific superiority in nearly all categories of concern. Nonetheless, there are cost differences that must be considered by organizations interested in promoting solar use.
The designers of BTSA and the Sol*Saver believed that long-term acculturation of new technologies is predicated upon user satisfaction. If products are too primitive in design and fail prematurely, then users’ enthusiasm is extinguished. If low cost is the sole criteria, poor reliability will result and users are likely to discontinue employing the technology. The BTSA and the Sol*Saver will serve the needs of rural families more consistently, owing to their design superiority. The result will be long-term uptake of the solar concept for cooking and water disinfection.
Q. Within which regions are these two technologies most effective?
A. Both the BTSA and Sol*Saver display high solar absorption efficiencies and can be implemented in many regions of the world. On clear days, both devices can produce three cycles of production. This means the BTSA can cook up to three meals worth of food, and the Sol*Saver can disinfect 24 bottles of safe drinking water. In more cloudy weather, the number of cycles decreases, but some production is assured. Only full rainy weather prevents the successful utilization of these units.
Q. What would users of the BTSA and Sol*Saver do in the event of severe rainy days?
A. If on sunny days, the Sol*Saver is used for three cycles of pasteurization, then the 24 bottles produced will carry a family’s needs on a rainy day. The BTSA on full rainy days will be unable to operate effectively, so a family would need to revert to cooking with wood or other traditional fuel.