Three prototype Solar Dish Kitchens were designed for two informal poor urban settlements (squatter communities) in Mexico. Cooking meals for their children was one way the mothers organized themselves to supplement the diets of their children and reduce costs. A retrofit to an existing school incorporates solar cooking, solar hot water heating, grey-water filters to treat the dishwater, natural light as the main source of lighting, rainwater catchment, and photovoltaic panels to allow the kitchen to go off the grid. The Solar Dish is built from bicycle parts, and small vanity mirrors create the parabolic mirror surface that concentrates the energy of the sun on a pot or stove in the kitchen. Students took on the challenge of the solar kitchen as a means to rethink not only the energy requirements of a traditional kitchen but also its use of water, toilets and lighting, as well as an opportunity to impact nutrition and homebuilding in the community.
The community and local government plan to build more kitchens based on this prototype.