Catholic News Service’s John Thavis reports:
The Vatican will begin installing some 2,400 solar panels in late September, the first of several projects aimed at exploiting renewable energy resources in the tiny city-state.
The solar modules, which are being donated by a German company, will be fitted atop the roof of the Paul VI audience hall and will produce some 300,000 kilowatt-hours of power each year, said Mauro Villarini, the Vatican engineer coordinating the project.
Construction of the solar-energy system will continue through October, while Pope Benedict XVI and some 250 bishops meet inside the audience hall for a synod on the Bible.
In an interview Aug. 28 with the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, Villarini said another solar-panel system would be installed this fall above the Vatican’s employee cafeteria, providing 60 percent to 70 percent of the power needed to heat and cool the building.
Both solar-energy systems are expected to be operating by the end of the year, Villarini said.
In addition, he said, Vatican experts were studying other “green” projects that may be particularly suited to Vatican City and its properties outside Rome, including the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.