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Consol Solar Jars Manufactured


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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Back in 2011 nobody envisaged that the product which we designed for Consol Glass would gain popularity to the extent that it has and that production would reach this point so fast.

Starting off in a garage in Glenhove, with four staff making the initial 400 units, (which took us the best part of a month), then moving to a 500m2 property in Selby where we produced the first 200k, production has now increased by an additional 60k per month, with capacity to reach 80k:

• September 2011 – first units produced
• May 2013 – 200k produced
• April 2014 – 500k
• September 2015 – 1million

Arriving at this point involved hiring and training a staff compliment of 62 strong, together with the logistics of introducing high-tech machinery to stream line production.

Today our factory is located in Village Deep on a 1500m2 roofed property in one of the first mining areas established in Johannesburg.  This location has proved beneficial due to ease of traffic access for staff traveling from Soweto and Alexandra. Being in the heart of JHB Central also embraces our “Made with Love in South Africa” motto.

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(Our very first model)

In earlier years, distribution of our Consol Solar Jars through our partner Consol Glass was a local-only initiative.  Since the first export in April 2013 international demand has surpassed local demand, and our focus has therefore shifted to export initiatives, assisted by our many overseas distributors.

Together we are assuring growth and sustainability moving forward.

We thank Consol Glass and our overseas distributors; especially Sonnenglas and everybody who has assisted us by purchasing a Consol Solar Jar.

As Abel Masakale of Consol Glass said during a 2012 interview: “It is such a lovely item; every South African should own at least two”.

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We have a long and exiting road ahead!

The Suntoy Team.

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Jean Phillippe Daulaud, a French national, has lived in Mauritius for quite a few years and upon spending his honeymoon in Cape Town in 2012, he stumbled across a Consol Solar Jar for the first time.  JP was so fond of his new discovery, that he purchased two before returning to Mauritius. That was 3 years ago. At the end of 2014, JP would have drinks with Nick Wiehe, an Irish national. They became good friends and spoke about business ideas for the Consol Solar Jar. They decided on a plan to distribute the Consol Solar Jars to the exclusivity niche market they had identified – The Indian Ocean Islands.

Fast forwarding to the present day, Nick and JP have both been fully involved in their new business venture since August  2015 this  year, having successfully distributed the Consol Solar Jars through a number of hotels to their guests. In addition to the Consol Solar Jar creating an environmentally friendly consciousness, it beautifully complements the hospitality industry and also serves as a precious keepsake for visitors to the island to fondly remember their time spent in such a magical location.

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For JP and Nick, marketing the Consol Solar Jar is much more than a means of earning a living and sharing a social consciousness, they also realise the importance of sustainability, which is why “The Mauritian Sunshine for Children In Need” campaign was created affording a child in need, a free Jar for every 2 Jars sold. Not only will this remarkable campaign shed some light into the lives of those who need it most, it will also serve to educate the next generation on the importance of renewable energy.

They also made a ‘Solar Jar Caravan’ to show the Consol Solar Jar in each part of the Island and meet people from every social environment. “We do not wait for clients in the shops, we are always trying to meet them in the villages to speak to them about the importance of solar energy, and the Consol Solar Jar is perfect for them to have their first solar experience” say Nick & JP.

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Managing the other islands in the Indian Ocean especially Reunion, Seychelles and Madagascar, Nick and JP are confident for the future success of the Consol Solar Jar with each island having their own local agent.

We look forward to further successful endeavours from the Indian Ocean Islands, and are proud of the fact that the Consol Solar Jar has achieved an almost impossible feat:

Making the already dazzling beauty of Mauritius shine just a little bit brighter!

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar
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Team Suntoy is proud to introduce the improved Consol Solar Jar. The Consol Solar Jar has been admired  for the last three years. Now, this solar powered light is significantly enlightened, making for an improved offering.
 
Familiar features we've loved are still present - the classic Consol preserve jar, unique flip switch and wire carry handle. Innovative enhancements stem from the electronics redesign. Here are additional features making the Consol Solar Jar your most valued solar powered light:
 
LiFE Battery
A long lasting LiFe (Lithium Iron) Battery, similar to those used in cellphones, replaces the original solar batteries. If fully charged, it endures for up to 12 hours. 
 
Load-Shedding Find Me
The load-shedding attribute is a plus for our South African environs. During a sudden power outage, the Consol Solar Jar automatically lights up for a few seconds so it can be located easily. Our team calls it the Find Me feature. 
 
Day/Night Energy Saver
An energy saving day/night feature prevents the Consol Solar Jar from turning on automatically during daylight. When darkness falls, it automatically turns on to light the night. 
 
Stainless Steel Ring
The ring enclosing the solar panel is now stainless steel - watertight and rust free. 
 
Battery Indicator
A state-of-battery-charge indicator flashes when the light is turned on or off. Five flashes indicate full, one flash indicates empty, letting you know when it is time to recharge.
 
Recharge Flash
When the battery is empty, the white indicator pulses every two seconds to show it needs to be recharged.
 
Micro USB Charger
A micro USB charge plug has been designed for our European consumer base where sunlight is scarce. Connecting a micro USB cellphone charger results in the charge indicator flashing. 
 
Brighter Light
The brightness has been improved, while retaining a good runtime, with LED’s specifically designed for the Consol Solar Jar by Plessey in the UK. 
 
The new and improved Consol Solar Jar is currently available in retail locally across South Africa and abroad in Europe.
 
“We had fun redesigning the Consol Solar Jar and trust you will have fun using it.”
- Harald Schulz, Suntoy Technical and Managing Director
 
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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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The Suntoy team is excited to be partnering with Kaya FM 95.9 in their #LightUpALife campaign. This Kaya Cares event is a Mandela Day initiative. Lighting up a life, one child at a time, is imperative to creating a future absent of darkness and shining with brightness. A Solar Jar is a gift worth giving.

Suntoy has donated 192 Solar Jars. The M’Khaya team has distributed the Solar Jars to child headed households at Othandweni Childrens Home in Soweto and Rays of Hope Orphanage in Alexandria, Gauteng. The campaign was launched on the Bob Mabena morning show in preparation for rollout.

In Jozi city, our lives revolve around the daunting load-shedding schedule. At Suntoy, we are off-grid and production continues regardless of stages one to three. We’re one of the lucky ones.

For many children though, there are no load shedding stages… simply darkness… every night. More than 1.4million South Africans live without electricity in informal settlements across our country. Scholars aren’t able to complete their homework or study in the dark. A solar powered reading light charges in the sun during the day and welcomes the children home at sunset. No electricity or candles needed. An unplugged light source - similar to KayaFM's unplugged live studio sessions featuring South African musicians.

Join us, M'Khaya. Do your part! #LightUpALife

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." ~ Nelson Mandela

Please note: Faces of orphans in photographs have been blurred to protect identities. The Kaya FM team shared these two photos. 

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Approximately 40,000 visitors attended the Bio Marché fair in Zofingen, Switzerland. This event is one of the biggest organic trade fairs in Europe and took place over three days in June.

Sonnenglas exhibited at Bio Marché, for the second year in a row, showcasing the Solar Jar . This South African handmade light shone amidst an array of diverse international products. The exhibition stand was made of recycled wooden crates and hessian table cloths, styled with fresh flowers. Each Solar Jar contained a different decor item. Printed info cards with the Suntoy team photos were on display.
 
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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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The wire used in the assemblage of the Solar Jar  is 90% recycled. Suntoy procures it from Cape Gate where post consumer scrap metal is collected, sorted and refined. All raw materials are of South African origin and the smelting, rolling and wire manufacturing process is done locally.

By recycling wire, a lesser quantity of new material is required during the wire-making process and the amount of discarded metal dumped into landfills is reduced. By consciously choosing 'green wire' and upcycling it into the bracing and handle of the Solar Jar , our product is made that much more environmentally friendly.

Read about our team of Suntoy wire artisans here.

"Thanks for the interesting tour of your operation. It is good to see where our wire products are used and the end product." - Derek Erxleben, Head Metallurgy, Cape Gate

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Posted by on in Outreach

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Partner Products can bring innovative products to market effectively. The Solar Jar  is solidly established in consumers eyes and is well positioned to assist in bringing a newer, less known partner product to market.

The Solar Jar ™ is now offered bundled with a partner product, the Repurpose Schoolbag. It's a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit. Made from upcycled plastic shopping bags, the Repurpose Schoolbag has a pocket that integrates the lid of the Solar Jar .

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During the day, while scholars walk to school with the schoolbag strapped to their backs, the solar panel charges in the sun. At night, the lid is screwed onto the Consol glass jar and transforms into a solar powered reading light to study by. The schoolbag gives the solar panel an alternative mode of charging instead of remaining on a window cill by day.

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Suntoys priority is to supply solar lights to children living off-grid in informal settlements. Our team now has an additional outlet with Repurpose Schoolbags to increase our reach. It's a collaboration to achieve shared goals. 

Rethaka, the company that produces the schoolbags, connects with Giving Partners, such as Consol, to fund the making, distribution and coupling with Solar Jar .  "Reimagining how solar energy can become easily accessible to those who need it the most, is what was at the heart of the integration of the solar light with our schoolbags,” said Thato Kgatlhanya of Rethaka.

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 As partners, we were all excited when Bill Gates mentioned the solar pocketed schoolbags on Twitter.

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Hoteliers are adopting green building measures to accommodate tourists wanting to lessen their environmental impact while globetrotting. Hotel Verde in Cape Town offers a carbon-neutral stay. It doesn’t just observe one earth friendly hour a year but celebrates its greenness 365 days per annum.

The staff is enthusiastic about sustainability, trained in energy efficiency methods and passionate about the Solar Jar . Every Wednesday, they invite guests to join them for energy conservation awareness evenings. All unnecessary lights are switched off and solar lights are switched on. Diners enjoy live acoustic music and a specially prepared menu including pizza baked in a wood fired oven. Visitors are amazed when reminded that they’re at an airport hotel.

In March, Hotel Verde hosted Earth Hour. The event was wonderfully received with a prize of a Solar Jar ™.  Our partners, Sonnenglas, joined the eve of solar light and snapped these photos.

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Two lights-OFF events are presently on our calendars. The first, loadshedding, has everyone complaining, "Ah no, not again." The second, Earth Hour, has everyone agreeing, "Yes, let's!" If every loadshedding hour included the positivity of an Earth Hour, there'd be a happy public relations feat instead of a collective grumpy sigh.

Earth Hour 2015 occurs in the midst of the urgent need to find solutions to our current energy crisis in South Africa. Every South African is attuned to the critical state of our national power grid. Sunshine is abundantly available and renewable solar energy lightens our national power supplier’s load.

Suntoy invites you all to create your own solar-lit celebration with the Consol Solar Jar, harmoniously off-grid and lights-ON (even while the worlds lights are off!). Join us in adding to the solar generated brightness of an eve at home, in your garden or with friends at a party this Saturday, 28 March, during Earth Hour from 20:30 to 21:30.

Suntoy promises to give our planet a brighter future by making every hour a solar-power-hour.

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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In order to flourish in our current South African economy, creative brand leadership is imperative for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) such as Suntoy. An innovative business model with strong social responsibilities drives our brand.

Being a manufacturer, we don’t have a direct link to the end-user as our resellers do. To create awareness, our brand building and cultural movement strategies have had to spark interest unconventionally by engaging content ideas through storytelling. At Suntoy, we've introduced our team, our values and culture, the context of our products, our significance as a vehicle for education, job creation and renewable energy solutions through the telling of stories. Our stories tell more than an online product catalogue ever could.

With each tale told, our brand is further established. Our blog not only holds our stories, but the experiences of our customers too. Stories have strengthened our tribe, furthered our reach and enabled us to build a smart, authentic and valued brand with prospective future forecasts beyond the products we assemble. Our customers continue to purchase our brand and buy our story - not just our product. That's essential to Suntoy's livelihood.

Three challenging yet exciting years of strategic thought have enhanced our brand equity. With this solid grounding firmly established, our brand is credibly differentiated and experienced. Suntoy, the sunniest team of solar enthusiasts, is ready to launch our next chapter. Keep your eyes peeled. That's what having fun in the South African sun is all about!

 

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