Christmas in Berlin

By |2020-03-25T14:47:42+00:00March 2nd, 2020|

South Africa is currently celebrating summer, sunny skies, beaches and braais. Yet, our distributors in Europe, Sonnenglas, are shivering in the winter ice and snow.

In Berlin, Germany, evening markets are festive season highlights. Temperatures plummet to approximately 30 degrees less than our South African norm. No matter how cold, everyone is flocking to the Sonnenglas stall to purchase Consol Solar Jars. Our Consol Solar Jar is an eco-friendly, handmade Christmas gift of bottled warm South African sunshine. What more can winter in Europe ask for?

Suntoy Advocates for Fair Trade

By |2020-03-26T09:40:08+00:00January 13th, 2020|

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.

Wire Artisans Shine at Suntoy

By |2020-03-26T09:40:12+00:00January 13th, 2020|

Tourists visiting South Africa often return home to global destinations with beaded wire artefacts: from tiny mementoes, such as key rings, to tall sculptures of giraffes. Wire and bead artisans, creating in various gauges and colours with few tools but their own hands, are common sightings on our Jozi street corners. They may have good sales one month and none the next. Income varies, yet many tenaciously continue, their need for a job pushing them to become entrepreneurs.

One such wire artist stands out from the rest. Maxwell Jaravazo is driven to create the extraordinary from a piece of wire and a handful of beads. His imagination spans beyond the Melville street corner where he used to trade from. Max crafts magic within his hands. For many years, Harald Schulz passed him on the street and they struck up a friendship. When the very first Consol Solar Jar needed a wire handle and bracing, Max was Harald’s first choice as fellow designer. Together, they made the prototype in January 2011 while sitting on the pavement of 7th Street in Melville.

As demand grew, Suntoy grew… and so did Max. Suntoy permanently employed him three years ago. As a significant member of our team, he has job security and a steady monthly income. He was promoted to Factory Supervisor and now trains and overseas a team of 12 fellow wire artisans. These men are now all under one roof from multiple street corners across our city. That’s job creation, the South African way.

Light Up A Life, M’Khaya

By |2020-03-26T09:43:04+00:00January 13th, 2020|

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 Children’s 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.

Improved Consol Solar Jar Launched

By |2020-03-26T09:43:15+00:00January 13th, 2020|

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


How the Consol Solar Jar Came to Mauritius

By |2020-03-26T09:43:28+00:00January 13th, 2020|

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.

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.

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 endeavors 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!


1 Million Consol Solar Jars and Counting!

By |2020-03-26T09:43:41+00:00January 10th, 2020|

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.

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”.

Johannesburg to Dakar in a Solar Jar

By |2020-03-26T09:46:25+00:00January 10th, 2020|

The Consol Solar Jar™ has made its way to the Capital of Senegal where Soraya Baalbaki – an inspired individual who decided to introduce and distribute Proudly South African products in West Africa, has been introducing this fresh lighting concept that she says “is a guaranteed success in West Africa as not only does it provide safe and environmentally friendly light but is also widely used as a decorative feature for many different events”.

Senegal is a country on Africa’s West Coast known for its French colonial heritage and natural attractions. Dakar, the capital, features the ancient Médina district and esteemed Musée Théodore Monod, displaying African art. Dakar is also known for its nightlife and native Mbalax music, where one can expect to find the inevitable presence of the infamous Consol Solar Jar™ lighting up the night skies and setting the stage for fun and entertainment by a different kind of light!

The Consol Solar Jar™ is certainly doing its rounds on our globe and creating quite a buzz in its midst.  As soon as we know more about how the Solar Jar found its way to Senegal and what else it has been up to, we will be sure to let our readers in on all the exciting details.

The Senegal Distribution Team

Consol Solar Jars take the South Korean market by storm

By |2020-03-26T09:46:19+00:00January 10th, 2020|

Sin Sung Kim has introduced the Consol Solar Jar™ into the South Korean market in late 2015. Subsequently, demand has skyrocketed, the most popular consumer being the avid camper. Since outdoor camping trends have risen in South Korea, so has the interest in Solar Jars which seem to have found their way onto the “most wanted list” of necessities for tourists and locals alike to go camping with. So now, camping becomes more glamorous as we add lamps to the picture, turning the regular camping experience into a rather “glamping” one. The Consol Solar Jar™ was also recently featured in one of South Korea’s most infamous camping magazines “GO OUT”!

It seems as if the Consol Solar Jar™ is becoming a timeless classic for many consumers, fulfilling many different purposes from being utilised as décor, to becoming the main source of light when electricity sources are not so easy to come by.

Sin Sung Kim initially shipped 504 Consol Solar Jars from South Africa to South Korea to add to his Nowa Polished Pottery collection of eco-friendly products. Little did he know that within 2 weeks, the Jars would be distributed; leaving Sin Sung Kim having to hastily order a second batch – which he is now expecting arrival of in March this year.

Due to the Solar Jars popularity, Sin Sung Kim has decided to launch a special “Decorate Your Jar” competition for consumers, encouraging them to decorate the jars and post pictures of their master pieces on their respective blog sites to win various to prizes.

It is anticipated that before 2016 is out, a minimum of 10000 Solar Jars will have made their way into the very lucky hands of consumers in the South Korean retail market place.

Nowa Polished Pottery is aiming at becoming the South Korean distributor of choice for eco-friendly products.  Adding the Consol Solar Jar™ to its already established collection of environmentally friendly products has certainly given this goal a sizable boost and will continue to do so as the Consol Solar Jar™ shines its light into all corners of the globe.

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