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Posted by on in Solar Energy
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Earth Hour reminds us to consciously honour our world. There are so many eco-friendly things to do in the dark. Stock up on Consol Solar Jars and give our planet a brighter future by making every hour, Earth Hour. 
 
1. Gather friends and family for a solar-lit dinner at home. 
2. Go star-gazing with a lantern in-hand on a path lit by solar light.
3. If you're a city dweller, from a building with a view, check out what's switched off and what's left on. 
4. Create fun shadow art illusions on walls in the glow of solar light.
5. Get musical with an unplugged jam session or a djembe circle. 
6. For a quieter eve, be mindful with a solar-lit meditation of gratitude to our planet for the life it offers us.  
7. Sit on a bench and simply appreciate the sounds of nightlife from near and afar. 
8. Read a favorite bedtime story in the coziness of solar light. 
9. Inspire discussion on using alternative energies to lessen the possibility of power cuts and rolling blackouts. 
10. Snap flash-free photographs by solar light and post them to social media using #earthhour.
 
 
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Posted by on in Education
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Steering our planet towards a greener sustainable future lies in the hands of our youth. 
 
Mr Sunshine, also known as Harald Schulz, has created SunFan and SunCar assembly kits as practical learning resources for teaching the concept of renewable energy. In the classroom, these solar powered toys bring to life alternative concepts for electricity. 
 
Parktown Senior School in Johannesburg invited Mr Sunshine to facilitate a workshop. Students in Grade 5 learnt to assemble their own hand-held SunFans. As the plastic blades spun in the sun, they excitedly cooled themselves. That's a fun science lesson!
 
Each SunFan is made with a recycled tin - the type found in a supermarket. So, in addition to solar power, students learn about recycling too.
 
Mr Sunshine has visited approximately 16 schools and enjoys encouraging potential solar enthusiasts. Fun in the sun is what education should be!
 
Want to learn about solar energy? Invite Mr Sunshine to your school! Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
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Posted by on in Outreach

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A visit to South Africa's game reserves is incomplete without spotting the Big Five - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros. Yet, with a surge in rhino poaching leading to possible extinction, South Africa could be left with just the Big Four. That's not a sunny outcome. 

Intent on protecting the rhino, we learnt of an initiative to fundraise for RhinoSA - lead by a group of savvy 12 year olds. Suntoy donated 50 Consol Solar Jars to these scholars and they sold them at their school. They made a donation to RhinoSA at their Enviro Assembly in front of the National Geographic film crew. There is a huge demand for the Consol Solar Jar at their school now, so Suntoy is donating more jars to these budding fundraisers.

Their teacher, Mr Hansen, emailed us: "I would like to thank the children for their participation and congratulate them on their contribution to save the South African rhino. I applaud their innovative thinking and practical approach. I would also like to express my gratitude to their parents, who have awakened in them a sense of responsibility for their environment and the animals and people in it."

Well done Gaby, Chanel, Alex, Nina, Kirsten, Courtney, Klara and Katrina! Suntoy looks forward to you selling more solar lights to save the rhino. What would South Africa be with only the Big Four? Let's make sure it stays the Big Five!

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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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Join us at the ScopeX Telescope and Astronomy ExhibitionWe're honouring the star at the centre of the Solar System, the Sun. Have fun learning about this hot plasma that gives us Earthlings solar energy.
 
Saturday, 20 July 2013
9h00 - 21h00
Star Party Lighting Ceremony at 18h00
National Museum of Military History
Erlswold Way, Saxonwald (adjacent to Johannesburg Zoo)
 
  • Visit our exhibition stand and assemble a SunFan or SunCar.
  • Check out our Solar Cooker.
  • Meet the Suntoy team.
  •  Consol Solar Jars with RED LEDs will set the scene for optimum telescopic vision of sky charts.

 

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be know. ~Carl Sagan

 

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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Just three years since the birth of Suntoy, we’re excited to be growing our small business globally. We’ve carefully planned our entry into new international markets and export logistics are in place. With our reinforced packaging for the Consol Solar Jar, Suntoy is ready to tap into the European buyers market.

We extend a warm welcome to our new partner in Germany, Sonnenglas. We’re happy to be working with a company that knows their market firsthand. To place an order in Europe, check out the Sonnenglas website: http://sonnenglas.net/

We’re keen to cultivate relationships with other international business partners as we identify potential overseas target markets. Cheers to growing our business!

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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We were excited to discover that our Consol Solar Jars were featured in an art exhibition called The Other World at InToto Gallery. Including functional everyday objects in contemporary art exhibitions harnesses creative thought especially when addressing environmental issues such as solar energy.

The exhibition was curated around the idea that art can transport you to another realm. It was filled with sensory experiences into other times, spaces and spheres. Dry autumn leaves covered the gallery floor crunching as visitors explored. There was a visual feast of fine artworks displayed. Unusual objects were placed inside Consol Solar Jars that hung from the ceiling rafters and elicited wonderment. There was a sense of being in otherworldly places - some horrific, some euphoric - most not known to us.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." ~ C.S. Lewis

Curator: Megan Kidd
Creative: Otto de Jager

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Posted by on in Theatre in a Jar

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In this age of quick texts and impersonal emails, make your 140 characters a handwritten note on recycled paper. A personal message makes for a cherished gift. Discovering a message in a glass bottle has been around for centuries and can be even more exciting if it's a glass preserve jar with a solar light in the lid. There is no need to send the Consol Solar Jar floating across the ocean to bring delight to the receiver. Gifting 'green' results in a lower environmental impact and the Consol Solar Jar is an eco-friendly gift suitable for any celebration. Don't let affection go unspoken… put a message in a bottle. It's a Theatre in a Jar.

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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A firefly’s bioluminescence makes for nights of glowing outdoor adventures. Referring to these remarkable tiny creatures while describing our Consol Solar Jars gave us sunny smiles. “They have a 'firefly-in-a-jar' look and feel,” wrote Louise Hardy from New Zealand.

Her mom, who lives in South Africa, visited Louise in New Zealand and gifted her Consol Solar Jars for her birthday. “My three solar jars hang from our newly constructed pergola in our home garden. I love outdoor lights and these are fantastic and solar powered. I enjoy my nightly ritual of turning each on and seeing them from inside and out. All our friends think they are brilliant and ask where they can be purchased. I am very proud of mine!”

Our Consol Solar Jars are reaching far and wide... just like fireflies!

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team
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In leveraging our small business success, Suntoy’s strategy for effective growth includes increasing our capacity to produce products more efficiently. We’ve acquired a MyData TP9 Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Assembly Machine. Commonly called a pick-and-place machine, the TP9 is robotic and automates electronic parts assembly by placing surface-mount devices (SMDs), such as LEDs, onto printed circuit boards (PCBs). It offers high speed and high precision and is able to place approximately 8 000 pph (parts per hour).
 
Although second-hand and over 10-years-old, the TP9 has already assisted us on more than 10 000 printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies since its introduction to our Suntoy factory in January 2013. Two of our employees have been promoted to machine operators. Here’s to welcoming a sunny and sustainable measure to ensure our competency.
 
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Posted by on in Outreach

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Southern Africa's rhino are in grave peril. The total number of rhino poached and killed in South Africa in 2012 was 618, up from 448 in 2011. At this alarming rate, by 2025 there will be no rhino left on earth. Crime syndicates are fearless. The rhino horns are ground into powder for traditional medicines in East Asia. Experts say this powder actually has no medicinal purpose though that has not stopped the demand. Rhino horns are made of keratin, the same substance that comprises human hair and fingernails. $65,000 a kilo...! 

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Suntoy is collaborating with specialist anti-poaching units and field ranger patrols. Rhino Solar Tracking Collars are in development. GPS tracking collars monitor position, speed and behavior over preset intervals. When battery power on these devises is depleted, the radio antennae stop sending information on the location of the rhino and poachers pounce. Charging these GPS tracking devices from solar energy prevents loss of battery power. Malleable solar panels have been sewn into leather collars. Prototypes are currently being tested on one rhino and two cows.
 

 

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Tagged in: Rhino solar Suntoy
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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar
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'Fun in the African sun' is a motto Harald Schulz, Suntoy's Technical and Managing Director, embraces whole heartedly – especially while hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro with Tribe Safari. A playful barter system began when fellow hikers' smartphones needed top ups. Would Mr Sunshine, aka Harald, mind charging their smartphones with his SunPouch? No problem. Barter value: a steaming hot cup of Tanzanian plunger coffee!
 
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Harald managed to send long text messages, multiple photos and even videos. The extra solar power in his smartphone worked magically. Sealing the solar battery with insulation tape did the trick. "It is coming down in buckets. Temperature is around five degrees. The solar harvest from the SunPouch, considering the adverse weather conditions, charged a smartphone from empty to over 50%. Our SunPouch prototype has a battery that can bridge two days of no sun so it's performing well. It is powering my smartphone and providing enough light to comfortably navigate around my tent."
 
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With the SunPouch strapped onto his backpack, charging while on-the-move, Harald hiked to an altitude of 4 700 amsl. "The walk was beautiful culminating at the lava towers. Altitude sickness and headaches have thankfully avoided me. It must be my cigarette smoking. I am sitting in my tent, in my snug down jacket, eating chocolate. Life is good!"
 
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Harald Schulz, plus steaming cuppa coffee, with his friend Lance de Willers of Tribe Safari. "There are many cups of coffee owed to me, thanks to our SunPouch!"
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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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At the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro approximately 2 000 amsl, Harald Schulz, Suntoy's Technical and Managing Director, joined a group of Tribe Safari hikers on the Machame route. Arriving at Umbwe camp, 2900 amsl, Harald used his smartphone to send messages: “We hiked through the most beautiful Knysna type rainforest. Consol Solar Jars were strapped to the porters’ backpacks for charging on-the-move. Todays hike was under a canopy of huge yellowwoods so the solar batteries didn't receive full sunlight. Evenings are short as everyone goes to bed around 21h00 and solar battery power is conserved. The jars shone brightly in the mess tents.”
 
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At camp Barranco, 3 900 amsl, Harald sent messages and photos: “Today we left the beautiful rainforests behind. Landscape was like a magical hobbits hangout. At 3 500 amsl we stopped for lunch and I realized that I had never walked to this altitude before. I was elated! First glimpse of the grand old lady in all her glory. Weather was overcast and drizzling, proving that Consol Solar Jars are waterproof. They're now hanging in the mess tents. Dinner by solar light on Kilimanjaro!"
 
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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Harald Schulz aka Mr Sunshine, Suntoy's Technical and Managing Director, joined Tribe Safari to hike the roof of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. In awe of its majestic beauty, a dream on Harald’s bucket list became reality.

Besides wanting to challenge his own hiking abilities, the aim was to test Suntoy solar products at high altitudes and in extreme weather conditions. Twelve Consol Solar Jars, our SunPouch prototype, a smartphone, a solar backpack and insulation tape accompanied him on his adventure.

Harald first glimpsed Kilimanjaro from the airplane approaching Tanzania. The mountain peak rose above the clouds. Harald had an interesting first solar encounter. He spotted a passenger with a solar laptop. Mr Sunshine struck up a conversation with the gentleman and noted that the area of a laptop lid is far too small to solar power a laptop.

In Moshi, a nearby town, Mr Sunshine topped up his own power reserves with a cup of steaming Tanzanian coffee.

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That evening, the group of 26 enjoyed dinner by Consul Solar Jar light in the hotel. A fitting opening chapter to the #KiliSolarSummit.

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Posted by on in Theatre in a Jar

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Consol Solar Jars set the stage for creativity. It's a theatre in a jar with 360 degree views and unique stage lighting. Grab your favorite miniature object, colourful feathers, shiny gem stones, shells or flowers and place them in the glass preserve jar. Turn on your solar light in the lid and your creation is the focal point. The portability of our solar jars allows you to scout for interesting localities - mood makers as table décor at dinner; lanterns for moonlit romantic walks; light beams on a braai. So, let your Consol Solar Jar take centre stage. With our bottled sunshine you truly can have fun in the African sun!

For more creative ideas, check out our Gallery or make it a personal note.

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Eco-friendly is a lifestyle worth pursuing. In his book Off The Grid, Nick Rosen writes: "The era of 40 acres and a mule has been replaced by the era of half an acre, a laptop and a solar panel.”

Leshiba Wilderness is an eco game and nature reserve in the Soutpansberg Mountains. It is off-the-grid, without any connection to an electrical transmission grid. Nature plays an important part here and the sun is the primary power source. Leshiba is a perfect location for our Consol Solar Jars to light up starry nights and morph into lanterns on walking trails, just enough so that wildlife aren’t disturbed.

Kathryn Straughan, general manager of Leshiba Wilderness, wrote us: “We have used our Consol Solar Jars every day for nine months and we love them! We started off with two and ordered 50 for our lodge, camps and shop. They are in each room as bedside lamps, along our pathways and hanging in trees. Living off-grid, we have to conserve power. The solar jars are fantastic especially if the main solar power runs out and we need quick access to light. In the middle of the night, I get up for sick kids, taking the puppy out, checking on the horses or to see which animal is munching my garden. The solar jar is brilliant for this!”
 
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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Perfect Gifts in Cape Town, supplied a Samsung delegation with corporate gifts - our Consol Solar Jars were the perfect choice. "Florence Lightingale," aka Audrey, emailed us:

"It has been quite a day – getting 130 Consol Solar Jars wrapped, bowed and labeled and to the delegate venue before 15h00! The jars (luckily) arrived at 10h30 this morning. We ran around like headless chickens, but it was all worth it. Thanks so much for getting the jars to us on time. I really do appreciate your ongoing help and encouragement. I was also delighted to learn that the company who contacted us for this specific job, found our name on the Consol Glass website!"

Job well done Mz Florence Lightingale!

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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We're on a winning streak this month! Our Consol Solar Jar is making the hard working Suntoy team feel worthy of being in the spotlight. We were chosen as a finalist for the Gauteng region of the Eskom Energy Efficiency Lighting Design Competition. There were cheers in the factory and sunny smiles.

Now we've been chosen as winner of the best South African household product by Fair Lady magazine. We're as happy as sunshine! Thanks to all of you for buying our Consol Solar Jars.

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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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Posted by on in Education

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Suntoy encourages curiosity-driven play and adventurous learning with solar energy. The Military Museum in Johannesburg was the venue for the ScopeX Telescope and Astronomy Exhibition. An interesting play space for young (and young-at-heart) wannabe scientists and astronomers.

On a sunny Jozi winter's day, learners sat on the grass focused on our bright yellow solar PV panels. Excitement erupted as SunFans spun and SunCars zoomed off. Fun in the African sun!

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