Solar energy for process heat is identified as the application with potential for widescale use in rural areas rather than urban centres of Thailand. Three applications of solar energy, namely distillation, drying, and cooking are investigated. The units for the study are designed with low cost, flexibility and durability as the aim. The production efficiency of a conventional solar still is improved by the use of internal or external mirrors. To improve the production and efficiency of a solar still, a suspension of activated carbon particles is introduced into the still. However, the most significant improvement in efficiency and production occurs when the solar still is filled and operated with a static bed of burnt rice husk. The solar dryer, drying tapioca chips can reduce moisture content of around 71% down to 14% within 8 hours of operation. The solar dryer performs more efficiently and effectively than open floor drying. The solar cooker is inconvenient to use and operate and the potential for widescale use is concluded to be remote unless social habits change and the cooker made more comfortable to utilize.