A Limerick man has invented a solar heating system specifically designed for the Irish climate.

Central heating contractor John O'Neill from County Limerick has invented a solar heating system that supplies all the hot water needs for a household at a fraction of the cost of alternative sources of energy.

John first became interested in solar energy during the oil crisis in 1973 and he began experimenting in his own back yard, eventually building his own system.

While he is reluctant to share his secrets on how his system differs to those already on the market, John is adamant it is well suited to countries like Ireland.

This system is comprised of a miniature greenhouse with responsive solar sensors. Unlike systems, such as those used in America, the solar panels are not installed on the roof. The greenhouse can be attached to the side of a house and no expensive alterations are required.

Anybody that has a greenhouse can utilise this idea.

Contrary to what people might think, the Irish climate has adequate sunshine to boost a 32 gallon tank, the usual size of a domestic tank. 

The average cost of installing the John’s system is £1,200, excluding the greenhouse. In return for this outlay, householders can get domestic hot water for virtually nothing.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 August 1987. The reporter is Michael Walsh.