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!
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be know. ~Carl Sagan
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!
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
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.
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!
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...!
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.
That evening, the group of 26 enjoyed dinner by Consul Solar Jar light in the hotel. A fitting opening chapter to the #KiliSolarSummit.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!