The Consol Solar Jar™ is a battery-powered glass lantern charged by an integrated solar panel. It stores energy during the day and releases light at night. On a clear sunny day, a full charging offers 6 to 12 hours of light, and on an overcast day, it offers from 1 to 3 hours of runtime. It is a one-litre classic glass preserve jar, fully recyclable, portable with a carrying handle and watertight.
The Consol Solar Jar is manufactured by Suntoy in Johannesburg, South Africa and shipped worldwide by its resellers.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Market Suggested Retail Price
Target Users (Target Impact Group)
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
View details of distributors both locally in South Africa and worldwide here.
The product is designed and manufactured by Suntoy in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
Consol Solar Jars are available for purchase from Consol stores in South Africa and resellers globally. Suntoy also sells the Solar Jars wholesale.
Distributions to Date Status
Number of light points
Total light output (lumens)
Multiple brightness settings (yes/no)
Light duration on single charge (hr)
Mobile charging (yes/no)
Integrated solar panel
AAA NiMh battery
Peak power rating (Wp)
Battery capacity (kWh; mAh)
Battery nominal voltage (V)
User replaceable battery (yes/no)
User replaceable light (yes/no)
Detailed technical specifications are available for the Consol Solar Jar. Components include the one-litre classic glass preserve jar, durable electronics, 2 re-chargeable batteries (each 600 mAh), 4 LED lights and an integrated solar panel (3 V, 135 mA). This is also a micro-USB-B input port (the same that is found on many android smart phones) to provide an alternative method for charging in overcast conditions (charging cable and wall socket are not included). The power output is 15 lumens, equivalent to 120 mW. It will provide 1 hour of light for every hour charging in direct sunlight, so will average 6-9 hours of run time per typical charging day, with a maximum of 12 hours on long clear days and around 2 hours from a rainy, overcast day. It has a unique on-off magnetic switch that has no moving parts and is watertight. The Consol Solar Jar also has several other features: It turns off automatically when low battery voltage is reached to protect the battery and extend its lifetime. It also illuminates for 60 seconds when the external lighting level suddenly falls below a threshold to assist in finding the lantern in the dark, and does not illuminate even when switched on if external lighting levels are high (to conserve power).
Information about how to store and recycle the product is available in the technical specifications sheet and Frequently Asked Questions. For further support, contact the manufacturer.
The battery was replaceable for previous models but is now integrated into the lid. If broken, the one-litre classic glass preserve jar could be replaced with a locally sourced equivalent.
The product's lifetime varies from 18 months (when used continuously) up to ~4 years if only partially discharging the batteries each day. This is based on the batteries' lifetime; they are rated to give 500 cycles (full charge-discharge). Each unit is also guaranteed for 1 year from its date of manufacture, and some resellers offer an extension on this warranty.
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
Suntoy originally developed the Consol Solar Jar for improving energy-access in areas without electricity within South Africa. The product is designed to be water-tight and durable due to the inclusion of a magnetic switch which does not require moving parts.
Vetted Performance Status
Getaway magazine tested the product and found that it illuminated an area of 70cm diameter for 7 hours and 30 minutes. No other third-party vetting has been performed and Getaway did not test the product's other features. Manufacturer testing indicates that the product has 120 mW power output, 15 Lm light output and up to 80% of efficiency. After a fully-charging clear sunny day, the Solar Jar can produce 6-9 hours of light per day and ± 2 hours of run time (from 1 to 3 hours/day) from charge on rainy, overcast day. The batteries should give ± 400 full charges before they begin to deteriorate.
Electronic components should be handled cautiously, especially around water. Care should be taken with the jar of the lantern to avoid sharp impacts that may smash the glass.
Complementary Technical Systems
Academic Research and References
There is no academic research about the specific product, however the following report studies the community involvement on his campaign strategy to place more solar jars in the residential areas of Melville in Johannesburg, South Africa:
Van Zyl, C., 2013, Supporting a community through design: Melville, Johannesburg. University of Johannesburg
Literature also exists focusing more broadly around the potential impacts of solar lanterns:
Kinoti, M., 2018, Socio-Economic Impact of Solar Lamp Lighting in Kibera Slum, Kenya, International Journal of Professional Practice, 6(4), pp. 30-36.
2019, Short-Term Impacts of Solar Lanterns on Child Health: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh. The Journal of Development Studies, 55(11), pp. 2329-2346.
Lemaire, X., 2018, Solar home systems and solar lanterns in rural areas of the Global South: What impact? WIREs Energy Environ, 7(5), p. 301.
Shepherd, C., 2018, Misreading the night: The shadows and light of a solar technology. The Promise of Prosperity: Visions of the Future in Timor-Leste. J. M. Bovensiepen, ed., ANU Press, pp. 205-221.
Compliance with regulations
The company and manufacturing process is BEE compliant.
Other than manufacturer-based testing, the only third-party to have tested this product is a magazine – Getaway Magazine. The testing seems to have been limited to confirming the run-time and illuminated area for a single unit of the product initially at full charge. Field trials have been performed by the manufacturer and some experiences can be found in Suntoy’s Blog
The lantern is rated 4.6/5 on Amazon (from 4770 reviews). The Consol Solar Jar has won various awards. More photos of the jar can be found in Suntoy's gallery, and stories on the Suntoy blog. The product has had a social impact by creating manufacturing jobs for previously unskilled and unemployed women from townships of Johannesburg. The details of BEE are available here. Suntroy Resellers Consol solar Jar FAQ Consol Solar Jar other features