Cooking is an energy intensive household activity. Most
Costa Rican households cook with propane, and to most first time
home developers in Costa Rica, gas is intuitive and practical.
All cooks prefer to cook over flame.
Yet, electric stoves do exist. A burner consumes around
1200 watts and an oven 4000, so it is certainly possible to cook on
solar energy. If we assume two burners for one hour total for
each meal, that is a daily consumption of 3600 watt-hours.
Throw in a full hour of baking each day, and we are at 7600
watt-hours, which is what five 224-watt panels will produce in seven
hours. Like the clothes dryer and the two ton central AC unit,
the operation of the oven and burners alone at the same time would
require four stacked 3600 watt Outback inverters.
Induction cooking depends on electromagnetic heating and requires
ferromagnetic pots and achieves heating without an external heat
source and is highly valued in congested apartment houses and other
places where open flame is dangerous for its intrinsic safeness as a
cook surface. Because of its heightened efficiency, induction
stove tops are 20% on average more energy efficient than
conventional electrical stovetops and much less likely to cause
burns or lead to fires. Prices are approximately comparable,
and induction stove tops have become more commonplace in the world
market but remain unfamiliar to most in Costa Rica.