ABOUT US

Our Story

Pretasol is a full-service lighting design consultancy and solar systems supplier. Headquartered in Marbella, the company has evolved from a solar energy background to become a highly regarded lighting design consultancy. Pretasol has delivered high specification lighting solutions for private residential projects, and commercial projects, throughout Spain and across client portfolios internationally. Pretasol offers a fully bi-lingual English/Spanish speaking service.

From Solar to LED – a natural progression

The company was established in 2009, by directors Khalifa Saber and Greg Van Praagh, initially specialising in renewble energy systems. In order to diversify the business, Khalifa and Greg began investigating energy saving LED lighting, which they believed to be the ideal complimentary offering. Pretasol considers LED the other side of the coin – one side of its business is energy production and the other is energy saving. Months spent testing and experimenting with products and research of the marketplace were followed by a re-launch, with Pretasol expanding to offer a full lighting design consultancy.

Meet the Team


Khalifa Saber

Greg Van Praagh
With a background in 3D animation and web design, Khalifa Saber is the general manager and co-founder of Pretasol. His interest in green technology began after moving from the UK to Spain in 2003. Having young children and thinking about the big problems that would be faced in the future he decided he wanted to do something to help build a better future then one dominated by climate change and energy scarcity.

Khalifa initially started by writing for clean technology blogs and started a few of his own. As his interest and knowledge grew he decided to start his own venture designing and installing renewable energy systems and this led to founding of Pretasol with fellow Director Greg Van Praagh.

Greg Van Praagh
Khalifa Saber
Greg brings a solid grounding in client management and a strong creative flair, having worked for leading London design, advertising and event agencies.

Greg moved to Spain in 2002, primarily to learn the language. After four years spent in Madrid he moved to Marbella where he worked in property publishing and real estate. He had been planning a summer off, before meeting Khalifa and being won over by the Pretasol renewable energy vision. Greg is responsible for design, project management and client liaison within the Pretasol team.

Santiago Velasco Marquez
Santi 200x200
Santiago, know as Santi, always envisaged being a designer and is inspired by all areas of the design industries, immersing himself in related study, work and events. Santi grew up in Sevilla and moved to Marbella in 2003. Before joining Pretasol, Santi studied Hotel Management and also enjoyed a career as a professional footballer playing for Bristol City in the UK.

Now a fully integrated part of the Pretasol family he is excited to be working on a variety of exciting lighting and renewable energy projects, and continues to grow and develop his professional skills every day.

Violin Nikolov
Villi-200x200
Vili’s passion for nature and creativity was sparked at an early age growing up in rural Bulgaria, working with and eventually riding horses as a professional. His previous work for a garden lighting design company and a home automation specialist introduced him to the creative possibilities of lighting design.

On moving to Spain in 2004 he continued his professional training by working with a well known Marbella based domotic company. Vili has worked on numerous large scale projects for both residential and commercial clients. His wide experience allows him to work closely with clients from concept to completion of projects.

Commitment to Excellence

Pretasol offers a bespoke consultancy and support service that sees your vision through from conception to completion. We aim to use our vast knowledge of product and design innovation to bring unexpected creativity to your plans, resulting in show-stopping spaces and functionality. Pretasol is a high-end service, but we believe it offers exceptional value for money. Always at the end of the phone if you need us, Pretasol is your lighting partner for life.

Testimonials

I recently discovered Pretasol after looking into energy saving products, and in particular savings on lighting costs. I was amazed to find out the savings I could make which were clearly demonstrated after a quick survey of my premises. The service provided has been second-to-none with a great deal of after-sales service included, which, in this neighbourhood, is definitely a welcome change. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Pretasol. If you’re interested in saving on energy costs both commercially and at home, then this is the company to talk to.

Nicholas Pratt, Resort Services Manager, Heritage Resorts

We had a tight time-schedule and they stuck to it (in fact the system was fully operational before the actual ‘deadline’). They kept me posted at all times during the process. For us the works were a replacement of an old system and they dealt with the removal and recycling of it. We faced some tricky situations as we have an old house and access was difficult – nothing was a problem for Greg and his team, all was considered well and solutions were found. We have now had our first electricity bill and we can really say that we are saving considerably and as it looks, even more than we thought. We can definitely highly recommend Pretasol. We wish we had more of these kind of companies here in Andalucia.

M. Ostheider

Re installation of Solar panels for the supply of hot water to our villa, I would like to thank your staff and yourself for the extremely efficient manner in which the installation was carried out. Your staff always turned up on time and carried out the work in a very professional manner and the job was finished on schedule. The system has been up and running now for a few weeks now and we have an abundance of hot water, no longer worrying about the electric meter going around at a hundred miles an hour! Again thank you and I would have no hesitation in recommending your company to anyone enquiring.

J.M.Moran, El Pariso Alto

It is hard to believe that less than 4 weeks after the site visit, Pretasol have successfully secured the grant, completed the installation and we are now enjoying solar powered hot water.

Mr Stephen E, Estepona

FAQ

Energy Efficient Lighting is dictated by the light emission versus power consumption of the lamp. This is know as the luminous efficacy of the lamp, which is similar to saying efficiency.

  • In residential applications, a lamp is considered energy efficient when its luminous efficacy is greater than 45 lumens per circuit watt.
  • A circuit-watt is the power consumed in lighting circuits by lamps, their associated control gear and power correction equipment.
  • Luminous efficacy is a measure of how effective a lamp is in transforming electricity into light. It is measured in lumens per watt and often referred to as ‘lamp efficacy’.

The main sources of energy efficient lighting are compact fluorescents and LEDs, although metal halide, and cold cathode are also sometimes used.

Yes. In lighting design we refer to the ‘bulb’ as a lamp. A floor standing or table lamp is referred to either a fitting or a desk/floor light.

The options for lighting pictures are often predetermined by the style of the room, as well as the scope for installing such lighting and wiring. Considerations should include the style of the painting and its surface texture as well as the depth and finish of the frame. Traditional interiors and rooms where ceiling-mounted lighting may not be an option will benefit from wall mounted picture lights. An understated but effective way to light a picture is from the ceiling, using recessed directional spotlights. The height of the ceiling, the size of picture and its position on the wall will affect the placement of fittings and our design service will be able to guide you. The ultimate tool to light artwork is a ‘Framing Projector,’ it is custom installed so that light is projected only on the artwork and there is no overspill of light to the frame. The effect is that the picture seems to glow subtly.

“IP” stands for Ingress Protection – it is a code that defines the resistance of a luminaire to the ingress of solid particles and water. The IP rating code has the following format: “IPxy”, where x and y are numbers varying from 0 to 8 which respectively define the resistance to solid particles and water. The higher the number, the higher the protection rating. For example, a typical luminaire for interior use is IP20 rated, while a luminaire in a bathroom in proximity of a bath or shower has a typical rating of IP44; an outdoor uplight has a typical minimum rating of IP65, while a pool luminaire will have an IP rating of IP68.

All tungsten and tungsten halogen lamps used in down-lights, spotlights or similar luminaires incorporate a reflector at the back of the light source that allows concentrating the light on a beam as opposed to diffuse it in all directions. Originally this reflector was created by coating the back of the lamp with an aluminum layer. However, because the tungsten and halogen lamps generate a lot of heat, aluminum reflectors concentrate and project this heat in the light beam. This in most cases is a disadvantage as the heat could damage the illuminated surfaces in the long term (e.g. an artwork, a curtain, etc.), if the lamp is not sufficiently far from the objects themselves.

To overcome this problem, dichroic reflectors were developed: these are designed with special materials/filters that reflect light but only a small percentage of the heat generated, while most of this is transmitted through the reflector to the back of the lamp. As a consequence, the heat in the beam of light is much lower and the side effects more contained. However, because the heat is dissipated in the void at the back of the luminaire, care should be taken to allow enough clearance around the fitting in the void: if this space is not available because of proximity to a timber joist or insulation materials, dichroic lamps should not be specified as the surfaces in proximity of the luminaire would be exposed to a serious danger of fire.

A transformer is an electrical or electronic component required by low voltage lamps in order for these to operate correctly. A typical transformer for lighting applications converts the supply voltage from 230V (mains voltage in residential buildings throughout Europe) to 12V, which is the typical voltage required by tungsten halogen lamps. A ballast or control gear performs a similar function of a transformer, but it also incorporates additional electrical and electronic components required by other types of lamps in order for these to operate correctly. A control gear is required by linear and compact fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps, cold cathode lamps and LEDs. In the case of the LEDs the control gear is more commonly called a driver. The secondary or output voltage of the ballast varies depending on the specific type of lamp it is serving.

A driver is an electronic component similar to a transformer, required by most LEDs for their correct functioning. Please also refer to the following questions: “what is the difference between transformers, drivers, and ballasts?”, “can you dim LEDs? How?” and “how do LEDs have to be wired?”.

Fluorescents can be dimmed providing the correct ballasts (see also question “What is the difference between transformers, drivers, and ballasts?”) is installed and it is compatible with the lighting control system dimming the related circuit. Similarly as per the LED lamps, there are several ways of dimming fluorescents. The most common dimming methods for fluorescents are 1-10v and Dali. All of these dimming methods require an extra set of cables from the lighting control system to the fluorescents ballast: in addition to the cables for the power supply (230v), a cable for the control signal is required (extra low voltage e.g. 1-10v, Dali bus, etc.): it is important you make sure the correct wiring is provided prior to completing the installation works. As the technology is constantly evolving, new ballasts are being developed that can be dimmed via the standard dimmers adopted for the incandescent or low voltage lamps, as such not requiring any extra set of cables.

LEDs can be dimmed providing the correct driver (see also question “What is the difference between transformers, drivers, and ballasts?”) is installed and it is compatible with the lighting control system dimming the related circuit. Similarly as per the fluorescent lamps, there are several ways of dimming LEDs. The most common dimming methods for LEDs are 1-10v and DMX. All of these dimming methods require an extra set of cables from the lighting control system to the LED driver: in addition to the cables for the power supply (230v), a cable for the control signal is required (extra low voltage e.g. 1-10v, DMX bus, etc.): it is important you make sure the correct wiring is provided prior to completing the installation works. As the LED technology is constantly evolving, new drivers are being developed that can be dimmed via the standard dimmers adopted for the incandescent or low voltage lamps, as such not requiring any extra set of cables.

The correct way of wiring of LEDs depends on the type of LEDs. With the exception of LED replacement lamps for halogen down-lights (GU10 and GU5.3 lamp holders), which have been recently introduced in to the market, all LEDs need a driver for their correct operation. A driver can feed either only one LED luminaire or multiple LEDs. In the second case, the vast majority of LED’s currently commercially available will have to be wired in series from the driver. This means that the “+” (red wire) of the driver will have to be connected to the “+” terminal (red wire) of the first LED, while the “-” terminal (black wire) of the first LED will have to be wired to the “+” (red wire) of the following LED, and so on until the last LED, which will have the “-” connected to the black wire of the driver. A series connection ensures that the current is kept constant across all LEDs. Note that there are many different types of drivers available, of different currents and loads, some of them dimmable, others not. Always make sure the driver adopted is compatible with the number and types of LEDs installed. Check the product sheets for technical details of the LED’s.

A fire rated down light is a recessed luminaire that integrates a fire resistant can or ring of intumescent material in the portion of the luminaire concealed in the ceiling void. In case of fire in the space below the luminaire, the high temperature will cause the intumescent material of the can or ring to expand and fully seal the installation hole of the down light (ceiling cut-out), thus assuring the original fire resistance characteristics of the ceiling. Fire rated down lights are an alternative to standard down lights and fire hoods where these are required, and, although more expensive than standard down lights, they generate a saving in the installation cost. It is important to select good quality fire rated down lights as there are many cheap alternatives available on the market which should only be fitted with open lamps or lamps with a maximum rating of 35w. These not only limit the flexibility in the choice of the lamp, but may create a fire risk if the incorrect type of lamp is inserted. Most people in fact assume they can replace the lamp with a standard 50w version available from all retail shops, which will cause the down light to overheat, thus creating a potential hazard in years to come when the lamp needs replacing.

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