Solar Cooking for Healthier Lives

Three billion people are still cooking on fuels that are dangerous to the health of children. Solar Cooking is fuel free and emission free.

Photo of Patrick Sherwin
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

GoSun Inc.

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $500k - $1m

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • United States of America

Headquarters location: City

Cincinnati, Ohio

Location(s) of impact

GoSun has product in over 60 countries and has affiliate offices in: Ghana: Accra Nepal: Kathmandu Peru: Lima Brazil: Rio Guatemala: Guat. City


Facebook URL

Twitter URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

According to the World Health Organization, three billion people are cooking on open fires that have harmful emissions causing major health problems, especially for children. Smoke inhalation is one of the leading causes of preventable death and a variety of ailments. Parents and girls are often spending up to five hours a day gathering wood and other fuel. Time lost would be better spent on education, food production and work. Food cooked on open fires is less nutritious than food cooked in a closed solar oven.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Solar Cookers can alleviate the burden of paying for fuel or gathering fuel. Access to free energy builds resilience and enables families to break a cycle of poverty around cooking fuel. Time savings can be applied to advancing the family and affording better ingredients. Solar Cookers provide no harmful smoke or emissions. Women and young children experience the highest exposure to household air pollution. Cooking over fire is very risky and contributes to over four million annual deaths. Solar Cookers keep more nutrition in the food. GoSun's steady, even heat and a closed cooking chamber enables food to retain its moisture, nutrition and flavor. Traditional meals and new highly nutritious foods can be cooked with ease. Solar Cookers can also boil water without fuel, providing purification or sterilization. Solar Cookers promote food security and sustainable agriculture. Cooking with the sun reduces demand for biomass, thus improves land use, soil and water quality

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

GoSun cooks delicious, nutritious food without using any critical resources such as wood, money or time. GoSun has shipped over 15,000 solar cookers and maintains an enthusiastic base in over 60 countries. Customers rave about GoSun's safety, cleanliness and ease of use. Although GoSun is an entirely new cooking style, just about every recipe can work within the vacuum tube oven. During a 2014 pilot study in Guatemala, participants reduced solid fuel consumption by 50%, saved two hours each day and demonstrated a high likelihood of daily adoption. Populations of both urban and rural families found GoSun to meet over 50% of their cooking needs, even during the rainy season. In Paul Hawken’s latest book “Drawdown”, he outlines the elimination of open cookstoves in developing countries as one of the best things to help slow global warming. Indeed, a single solar cooker, if used daily, can save two metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year, per household!

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

GoSun is creating for-profit social enterprises throughout the developed and developing world. An experienced leadership team is strategically building ROI with each step of growth. Founded via crowdfunding, GoSun leverages new financing and marketing techniques to ensure growth is sustainable and collaborative. 1. None. 2. GoSun received a $75,000 United Nations Grant in 2014. 3. None. 4. In 2017, GoSun has sold over $1 million dollars of product profitably. 5. In 2017, GoSun raised over $800,000 in equity.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Until GoSun's breakthrough solar cooking technology, solar cookers had problems with speed, size, weather, ease of use and the ability to cook all kinds of food. Traditional solar ovens are slow, blulky and unreliable. Also, all but the cheapest solar cookers were too expensive. GoSun's innovative, affordable and versatile cookers can cook in the clouds, freezing cold and retain heat. GoSun's new product, GoSun For All, is much lower cost, so all families can afford a solar oven at home.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

After a long morning disassembling a solar water heating device, GoSun founder and solar energy expert, Patrick Sherwin, realized that the vacuum tubes sitting next to him might be able to reheat his lunch. When the food came out hot and roasted, it was an epiphany. Having lived extensively off-grid and working on solar energy projects around the world, he knew that he was on to something. While volunteering with non-profits in Haiti and Latin America, Patrick experienced first-hand the vulnerability of energy poverty. Touched by the resilience and happiness of those living on just $2.00/day, he spent years facilitating technology, energy and social innovations in the developing world. These efforts, including many failures to introduce typical solar ovens, led to the realization that his solar hot dog cooker invention could be something more, serving a great need in emerging markets.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Search engine

Attachments (1)

GoSun Pilot Study Reporting Document_Small.pdf

GoSun's report from a User-Centered Design Process during 2014 pilot study in Guatemala.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Bryan Raveen Nelson

Dear Patrick Sherwin,

I just went through your application and really liked your idea. Since this competition gives points for peer review, I was wondering if it would be possible for you to evaluate our submission as I too will be doing the same for yours. As you would have noticed in the design quotient you have marks for EVALUATION which you get when you review other applications. When others review your application you get points for IDEA. To find my application you will have to Select ‘‘PHASE> Prize entry’’. On the right section of page, under the heading ‘‘FOCUS AREAS’’ click on "WATER". Go to Page 3> Click "Evaluate" on application titled "Turning the tables for Temiar tribe of Malaysia". I would also appreciate if you either applaud us or leave a comment on our page if you deem us worthy.

Thank you very much.

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