Solysia

2 March 2020

Recently passed legislation requires all new commercial buildings and car parks on the island to have solar solutions. Here’s a company with excellent options for your home or business.

Introduction #

Author's note: When we bought our first little finca in rural Mallorca 30 years ago, it was like walking back in time. That was an era when public water supply was only known in Palma (all the rest of the island got their water delivered by truck), and the power grid (still on 110 V!) didn’t reach beyond the borders of the local villages or towns.

None of the few properties along our narrow country road were connected. That first summer we lived like in the middle ages pulling up buckets of water from the obscure depth of our old, vaulted cistern and sitting by candlelight at night. Simmering our spaghetti water on a wobbly camping cooker almost looked like rocket science. As for a toilet … well … thank you, Porta Potty.

Two solar panels, a solar battery and a switchboard hand-knitted by my husband catapulted us into technological modernity. As rudimentary as our system was, we could suddenly operate a pump for running water and a flush toilet (!!!), and we had light in the house. The fridge ran on gas. What else did we need? Solar was a quantum leap for us.

This was in the mid-1980s, and my husband and I are very curious to find out what is state of the art in 2020 when driving up to Finca Casa Mariposa in Felanitx to meet Rayne and Johnny of Solysia, an ambitious solar energy equipment supplier who strives to integrate quality products and innovative technologies into their natural surroundings and design structures.

  • Solysia

May I introduce … #

… the Dream Team. Let’s start with Dougal, the Donkey, with a capital D. He is the first to greet us as we drive up to the beautifully renovated old Mallorquin stone house that is both homestead and work location for Rayne and Johnny. For now, they decided to give him the run of the place when realizing a massive fence Johnny spent a day erecting wasn’t going to fence him in. They are not sure but they think he smirked when he jumped.

  • Gerhard Huber

  • Solysia

My notepad (an old-fashioned paper one, thank God!) gets a wee bit nibbled along the edges by the donkey’s gently probing teeth as he leads our way to meet Rayne, self-declared “Tex-Cali” girl with a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design who left a successful, multi-facetted agency career behind without so much as a shrug to swap it with finca life in rural Mallorca. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL. Her wide smile says she loves it.

And here comes Johnny, Scotsman with red hair and matching beard, who, after earning a degree in Architectural Technology , went travelling around the world, ended up a deck hand in Australia which, over time, turned into a serious career as a captain on a superyacht based in a Los Angeles port. And now: Solar!

  • Gerhard Huber

  • Gerhard Huber

  • Gerhard Huber

The Barn #

Dougal has us all laughing in no time and the ice is broken before it had time to freeze. Before we know it, we are in the middle of a conversation about Solysia’s piece of pride – “the Barn”. This is where the company’s technical heart beats: a combination of solar station, complete with batteries and a roof covered in solar panels. Nothing special, you think? Oh, yes. It is.

One thing that makes it very different from the usual solar installations is that it’s beautiful in its clean unobtrusive design with its combination of horizontal wooden batten and light grey sheet metal wall panels. Also, you have to look twice to realize the roof is covered in panels as these are all a uniform black and kind of inlayed into the structure with super slim bracelets holding them down.

When looking at the solar station, it all looks perfectly neat. “That’s the way it should be”, says Johnny who is the hands-on man in this venture. It is obvious he is used to superyacht standards. “This here is our prototype”, he explains with a view to the openly visible battery installation.

  • Gerhard Huber

  • Gerhard Huber

  • Gerhard Huber

Our Conversation #

These are not normal solar batteries, are they?

“No, they aren’t.” Johnny laughs. “They are re-purposed electric car batteries. You see, in a car it is important for batteries to guarantee maximum reach. For a solar station, this doesn’t matter. So, here we have a two-fold positive effect for the environment – clean energy storage and recycling what would otherwise be scrapped.”

How did you find your way into the solar business?

Johnny grins. “I have a passion for it. It’s as simple as that. And when I bought this finca I had to start learning, and once you see it it becomes so obvious. Why doesn’t everyone go solar, that’s what I always wonder. Especially now that the solar tax is lifted. Nowadays, you cannot build or renovate a property without being sustainable! In fact, it’s a requirement for all new builds on the island now.”

Why Mallorca, and what made you choose this particular area, I ask while we all walk over to the terrace of the beautifully renovated finca, offering a view of the next project the two have on their 15,000+ sqm of land – transform it into a real farm with animals. Dougal, the chickens and the cats he chases off the terrace are just the first to come.

Johnny laughs. “It’s a childhood thing really. My parents owned a small property on the island, not far from where this finca is, so I was four when I first came to Mallorca. As soon as I had the money, I bought my own place. It’s a perfect location for anybody who works with boats, and although I ended up in the US, I always felt that one day I would get back.”

And move back they did. When Rayne and Johnny decided to move to Spain together, the country was not unfamiliar to Rayne, too, as her parents lived on the Costa del Sol and she had visited often.

“And,” adds Rayne, “for a solar company to choose Mallorca as a location seems to be a no-brainer what with 300 days of sunshine!” She finds the conditions on the island very similar to California with the one difference that people are very open to new technologies.

  • Solysia

  • Solysia

Tell us about Solysia. Where does the name come from?

“The name a combination of ‘sol’, Spanish for ‘sun’ and ‘Elysium’,” explains Rayne, the Marketing Director of the company. ”It stands for both the efficiency of solar technology and the heaven-like quality of a clean, ecologically healthy world.”

And what is your differentiator?

Rayne doesn’t have to think twice. “Design and Innovation! Solar installations should be form and function. In this respect, we are a good team really, with Johnnys technical and architectural background and my education in design and fine arts. Not to mention, what we offer is competitively priced, especially with a view to the repurposed electric car batteries we use.”

Who are your clients?

“It’s finca owners who want to get off the grid because of its many downsides. Power supply on the island is unreliable, with power outages an almost regular event”, says Johnny. “It’s an occasion to meet our neighbours”, adds Rayne. “Everybody steps out into the road asking, ‘is it gone at your house, too?’” Johnny nods.

“Another important issue is electricity is expensive here and ever-changing monthly bills are at the mercy of the utility companies’ whim. Solar storage is a way to take the power back and invest in yourself. And now there are government grants that cover up to 30% of solar installation costs. It’s time for property owners to have some control.”

  • Gerhard Huber

  • Gerhard Huber

  • Solysia

“There is much to do to meet Mallorca’s 2050 environmental goals. Currently the Balearics are only at 3% renewable energy”, Rayne says, deeply concerned.

Solar Solutions: Every new construction needs one of these #

You offer package solutions for stand-alone solar systems or stations. Can you please explain about the different types applications and the purposes they serve?

“Basically, we offer three different options, but what people need are often custom-made solutions. We can do anything with solar to solve our clients’ problems. We like to keep it simple and sleek. It’s worth it for finca owners to explore all the options.

As package solutions, we offer:

  1. Solysia Station - - the Barn – that offers a professional solution and beautiful design for fincas off the grid. It’s an independent solar station that generates 8 kW of energy to run a finca and pool or irrigation system with garage storage, carport and electric vehicle charging possibilities.
  2. Solysia Storage - - the repurposed battery packs from electric car batteries. They are our custom creation that’s Green on Green, meaning Repurposed meets Renewable. They are available to rent or purchase, and because they are re-cycled, they are very affordable.
  3. Solysia Solar Panels - - the package comprising two rows of traditional solar panels mounted on land – a sleek option for those that do not want to alter the traditional look of their roof or home. But then, for people who do want the panels to go on their roof, we offer aesthetically pleasing solution, too.
Solysia Solar pannels Mallorca Johnny Rayne Holly Ulla and the donkey min

Licenses #

How about licenses? Solysia Station is a barn. Do you need a license to have it on your property? I am thinking of the strict regulations to be observed in protected areas classified ARIP, or stricter still ANEI.

“We can offer our clients temporary structures," suggests Johnny. "This is what made us come up with the idea of Solysia Shelter. That’s one of our visions for the future.

Your vision for the future?

“We are working on a temporary living structure and solar station to be assembled and disassembled in two-days’ time. This would allow owners to live on-site and start the exterior finca life process (fences, gardens, farm animals) while overseeing the architects or contractors daily.”

On a more personal level, how would you describe the feeling of community of your neighbourhood you live in? How easy is it to make friends?

“We are all on very friendly terms here and as is usual in a rural setting we all help each other out if need be”, says Rayne. “Our friends, however, are mostly from out of town. In the beginning I thought it would be too much for them to come all the way out here. But, I’ve come to realize they actually like coming here and invite themselves!" She laughs. "And, because of the dark drive home, they don’t only come for dinner but stay for the night. It’s a kind of holiday for them.”

We totally agree and fully understand why their guests love it so. It’s so peaceful! Time seems to pass at a more leisurely pace. But then, it is also flying I realize when looking up at the clock. (It’s solar-powered of course, and absolutely state of the art!) We had planned to stay for an hour. Did we really stay three? Thanks for the interview, Rayne and Johnny. And thank you Dougal, too. For more information about solar installations and quotes, please visit www.solysia.com.

Solysia solar pannels Mallorca Sundial clock min

Bring on the Sun

Spain reversed the "sun tax" to support livable climate goals.

Click here to read more about how the new laws affect your choices.
Windmills Sunset View 1

Sources
www.solysia.com
Interview on Feb. 13th, 2020

2 March, 2020

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Click here for more information.