The heating for his Wimborne home, the hot water in his shower, even the charger for his laptop are all fired by the sun.

A keen experimenter and product developer, Eric's house has become a show piece for his creations. But his work is set to create global benefits, as he prepares to join a community project in South Africa.

"I am now, at the age of 70, going to spend three weeks in a rural village that educates young orphan children with AIDS and HIV, to show them how they can benefit from the greater use of renewable energy away from the expensive, unreliable Eksom grid supply," he explains.

Eric's interest in solar energy began some 25 years ago when he was running a company called Bathrooms of Bournemouth and tried to develop a hot water cylinder which could heat a home.

"The water was too cold," he explains, "it was about five degrees celcius. So I needed to find a way to re-heat the water. That's how I got into solar."

Over the years, Eric has overseen 14 start-ups and has 42 years' business experience to his name. He continues to experiment with renewable energy, testing reactions to his products on YouTube.

His latest creation is the Solarbrella - a parasol featuring solar panels which can fire a battery pack which, in turn, can be used to charge a phone, tablet or laptop.

Eric is passionate about passing on his expertise to others. With funds raised from the sale of his LED bulbs at just £1 each to social housing groups, charities and those living in fuel poverty, he has already spent time in Senegal, where he is on a mission to switch the country to LED, in a bid to cut its lighting costs by 90 per cent.

The bulbs he has created contain replaceable components, meaning any part - including a battery - can be replaced, which will also reduce the amount of imports which are thrown away.

"I'm also involved in doing this in Ghana," he says.

"Job creation in Africa is key. We have a plan to switch Senegal to LED by 2020. This would reduce the cost of electric lighting so that electricity can be used for other, more important things.

"The next phase is to switch the water well pump to a solar power pump to service six water storage tanks across the village."

Eric's Switching Africa to LED Lighting scheme earned him an Energy Globe Award for the best project in Senegal, which he will receive in October, and also caught the eye of the Canadian founders of the CSW community initiative in South Africa.

"They took in six or seven orphaned children with AIDS and HIV in 1990," explains Eric of the charity's creation.

"Now they have got 200. They educate them and feed them. They've got volunteers and they needed someone who had experience in solar energy and skills needed to install it, to train people.

"I was put forward by this guy that I've known since I was born and they sent me an invitation agreement for me to spend three weeks in this community village in South Africa to help them change all their old appliances.

"Hopefully, from that project, we can use the model to use in other parts of Africa."

Eric, who promotes himself as a solutions provider, is now searching for a UK partner who can sponsor his flight to enable him to take part in the project.

"It's not about making a pile of money, it's about doing something that matters," he says.