According to reports, if things go as planned, students of the Coimbatore Corporation school in North Coimbatore will soon have noon meal cooked using solar cookers.
According to Mayor S.M. Velusamy and Commissioner G. Latha, the civic body had bought two solar reflectors and as many cookers for use on an experimental basis at the North Coimbatore School. Each unit – a concave reflector supported by movable iron structure and a stand to place cooker – costs Rs. 68,000 including the 35 litre cooker. Ms. Latha said that the civic body had been experimenting with the cookers in the last couple of days and would place orders for installing them at all 16 schools.
Sunlight falling on the reflector would get focussed at the cooker and produce the necessary heat. The reflectors were made of aluminium.
She said that the purchase of solar cookers was part of the Coimbatore Corporation’s efforts to use renewable energy, conserve energy and bring down expenditure. The Corporation had a few more projects in mind.
After completing the installation of the two cookers at the school, the Corporation would avail of the 60 per cent subsidy the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy offered.
Sources in the school said that the last two days, the noon meal cooks had to wait for a long time because the sky was cloudy. On Wednesday, the solar cooker consumed nearly two hours to boil 50 eggs. Likewise, it took around 50 minutes to cook three kg rice.
The higher secondary school with 585 students had 100 students who were dependent on noon meal. As per Government rule, students till Class X were eligible for noon meal. The cooks used firewood to cook.
Ms. Latha said that the solar cookers could at best be alternatives because if the sky was overcast, it would be difficult to cook. But their use would definitely bring down the cooks’ exposure to smoke from the stove.
The school had facility to use LPG cylinders but the Corporation was yet to provide one.