Vatican To Become First Solar-Powered State

wrote about the Holy See’s new solar power plant, which will cost some EUR 500 million, and be Europe’s largest. The 100 megawatt photovoltaic installation will put the Vatican, the world’s smallest state, in the lead among countries deriving power from solar energy. According to Inhabitat, the installation will provide enough power for all of its 40,000 households, radio station, which is heard worldwide, and exports to Italy. The Vatican is being advised by German solar-panel maker Solarworld AG, which earlier donated $1.5 million for solar panels that cover the 6,300-seat dome used for the pope’s weekly audiences.

The installation will be located on a 740 acre site near Santa Maria di Galeria, where the Vatican Radio’s transmission tower is located. Santa Maria di Galeria was donated to the Vatican by the Italian government. According to Bloomberg News, Solarworld said: “The Vatican hasn’t decided how much to rely on photovoltaic panels, which turn sunlight directly into electricity, and on thermal devices that heat water for generators.” In 2014, the massive solar / thermal power plant is expected to start exporting power to Italy, which will create revenue for the Vatican and clean solar power for Italian energy users. The solar station will also help cut down the Vatican’s current CO2 footprint. “The solar station planned there should reduce about 91,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions a year that otherwise would have been produced by fossil-fuel generators.”

The Vatican sees the economic downturn as an opportunity. According to Bloomberg News,“Now is the time to strike,” Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican City’s governor, said in an interview from his study overlooking the Michelangelo-designed Basilica of St. Peter’s. “One should take advantage of the crisis to try and develop these renewable-energy sources to the maximum, which in the long run will reap incomparable rewards.” This is also a part of the pope’s on-going effort on environmental issues.  “The Germany-born Benedict has been outspoken on environmental issues since becoming pope in 2005.” Many major religious leaders have initiated campaigns in the past few years to spur action on climate change.

Read the Inhabitat and Bloomberg News articles

Image credit: Inhabitat

One thought on “Vatican To Become First Solar-Powered State

  1. Danielle 04/29/2009 / 6:07 pm

    I am really interested to see how this will be executed. The ancient architecture and integrity of design within the Vatican is so essential to the city, I’m wondering where all of the panels will go.

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