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Consol Solar Jars Manufactured


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Consol Solar Jar™
www.solar-jar.co.za

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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Suntoy advocates for responsible social and environmental standards in the manufacture of all our products. Our team has adopted goals similar to Fair Trade ideals to insure honorable working conditions and promote sustainability within our company. We are transparent about the working conditions of all our employees and promote respect and meaningful dialogue.

The Consol Solar Jar is a responsibly and fairly produced solar light handmade in our factory in Johannesburg, South Africa. Suntoy employs 44 adult South Africans from the Alexandra and Soweto townships in Gauteng. They have been trained in photovoltaic theory with overall skills upliftment. As a team they have made, to date, ¾ of a million units (750k).

We thereby promote greater equity in our international trading partnership with Sonnenglas, our European distributor. Sonnenglas is supportive of the jobs created in South Africa.

As a joint venture with Consol, Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices are Suntoy’s focuses. Our team has made a conscious decision to adopt Common Shared Value, a philosophy that has made our company culture fair.

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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This story commences a year ago when two inquisitive German guys, on holiday in Cape Town, spotted the Consol Solar Jar and fell head-over-heals in love with it. Curious about the source of this South African made product, these two intrepid detectives did some investigating, hopped on a flight to Jozi and walked into the Suntoy factory in Selby, Johannesburg. Stefan Neubig, a young start-up entrepreneur and photographer, and Heiner Klaus, a music publisher and editor, glanced around and excitedly stated that they were keen to export the Consol Solar Jar to Germany. And just like that - with passion, trust and wholehearted conviction - Sonnenglas was born.

Introductory chats turned into long-distance meetings as exports increased from pallets to containers. With the consent of Consol, a successful entrepreneurial partnership has been solidified between Suntoy and Sonnenglas. Now, on their second visit to the Suntoy abode, Sonnenglas has been appointed the European distributor of the Consol Solar Jar.

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“For us, it is important to visit and meet the people who are manufacturing the Consol Solar Jar. We discovered that Suntoy is more of a welcoming and collaborative family than a regular factory. In Europe, the aspect of fair trade is very important.” ~ Heiner Klaus, Sonnenglas

“It’s rare to find an object or product which is so beautiful, simple and functional. We’re really proud to be part of the team and will do our best to make this South African success story a global one.” ~ Stefan Neubig, Sonnenglas

How many sunshiners can we fit into a selfie - just like Ellen's famous Oscar self-portrait? Good question! The more the sunnier… and we know how to spread that sunshine!

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team
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Yvonne Cossa was one of our first factory employees. She initially joined the Suntoy team as a product assembler. Yvonne had no previous knowledge of solar technology or photovoltaic applications yet she learnt quickly and was promoted to factory supervisor of which there are five.
 
Yvonne's drive, determination and tenacity shone along with her leadership skills. She is now Chief Supervisor in the factory with 43 assemblers. She manages production runs, controls quality and meets orders on time. She is currently studying part-time for a certificate in Operations Management at the University of Witwatersrand.
 
Yvonne is excelling at her 'queen bee' role in her sunny chiefdom!
 
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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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Transforming an innovative idea into a functional object requires a glow of magic. At Suntoy, magicians come in the form of electronic engineers. 

David Way is a young graduate with a B.Sc. Electrical Engineering from Wits University. He's joined Suntoy to head up our electronic engineering team focusing on new product development. Shoni Muthubi is David's right-hand-man. He is a trainee electronic technician currently studying for a diploma at Central Johannesburg College. 
 
They are assisted by Olga Rathaha. Olga had no knowledge of photovoltaic applications prior to joining Suntoy three years ago as a product assembler. Her determination to improve her skills lead her to study part-time while working. She now has certificates in Computer Hardware (ITA+) and Networking (N+). Suntoy encourages growth through training and education for all their staff.
 
The engineering team implements design ideas, develops embedded electronics, tests prototypes, offers technical support and general factory maintenance. Having now established this 'incubator', Suntoy is ready to make even more magic! Watch this space...
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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. Suntoy has the greatest bunch of individual stars - from the factory assemblers to the global resellers. Our commitment to Suntoy has made our young company prosper in just three years. A profitable, planet-friendly and proudly South African business.

As the 400 000th Consol Solar Jar emerged, Team Suntoy attained a goal beyond any initial dream. When the very first solar light was prototyped, nobody imagined the amazing journey this savvy solar product would take. 

Suntoy is about the stories this made-in-SA solar light inspires and the committed team that makes it shine.

Cheers to all our team players! Cheers to Consol for believing in us! Cheers to the jam jar that's caused a solar stir! Cheers to all our customers that have escalated demand! Here's to a well earned celebration!

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team
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With thirty years experience in electronic and hydraulic engineering, Harald Schulz started Suntoy while tinkering in his home garage. Implicit in this startup formula is his passion for renewable energy. Over the last three years, Harald has thrived on the challenge of building a successful SMME despite its setbacks, long hours and financial risk. One that is now exporting solar lights worldwide.
 
The ultimate challenge for Harald, following his successful design and prototyping of the Consol Solar Jar, was not to mass produce a cheaper product in China. The better solution was to partner with Consol, invest in a product that is proudly South African and meet the needs for alternative energy resources and job creation.
 
For this entrepreneur, it’s not only about finding a scalable and profitable way to best design, manufacture and market a solar light. It's about passion. He braved Kilimanjaro on a mission to test solar products at high altitudes and extreme temperatures. For Harald, it ultimately encompasses promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle and a green economy.
 
Affectionately known as Mr Sunshine, Harald's enthusiasm for all things solar is contagious at the Suntoy factory where 40 people now work. Previously unskilled and unemployed, the factory staff are hired, trained and motivated to be solar enthusiasts. Every Suntoy employee believes that the solar powered products they assemble are enriching lives - their own and their communities. Their SunFans and SunCars are teaching youngsters to discover, value and think solar. Their Consol Solar Jars are bringing light to living off-grid without electricity.
 
Suntoy started small and is gradually growing. Harald is building a global distribution network that permits Suntoy to sustainably manufacture the Consol Solar Jar.
 
Harald knows current comfort is short lived. As the Suntoy Technical and Managing Director, he is hands on, accessible and aware that he has to continue opening new avenues. A one product wonder does not make for a sustainable business plan. So, Harald's back at his tinker table, his zone of fiddling and fascination. There's no rest for an impact entrepreneur strategically pondering the next step for Suntoy.
 
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Posted by on in Education

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Sindile is a student of Mr Sunshine's solar energy workshops in Alexandria. Her interest in renewable energy began at a young age growing up in rural Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.

Sindile remembers studying by candle light as there was no electricity in the area. Her dad bought a solar panel and charger to power their TV, lights and mobile phone. They would place the solar panel on their roof during the day and remove it at sunset to prevent it from being stolen. They offered their neighbours a mobile phone charging service for a small fee and so began a lucrative idea for gaining income.

In recent years, the government installed electrical lines and her family sold their solar panel and charger. Along with the excitement of electricity came electrical bills. When Sindile moved to the city and heard of Mr Sunshine's classes, she jumped at the chance to learn how to make the solar charging station herself. Sinhdile hopes to show her family that, although they can use electricity for the majority of their appliances, they can lower their electrical bill with solar energy in their homes.

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