German company's gift of solar system for Vatican
Bonn-based SolarWorld is donating approximately 2,000 solar modules to be installed on the audience hall roof to provide what it claims will be “the very first solar power ever generated in the Vatican”.
The solar system will produce some 315,500 kilowatt-hours of power a year, offsetting some 315 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, it said.
Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and is seen as a major cause of global warming.
The company said it had read reports over the summer that the Vatican was planning to cool and heat its large Paul VI audience hall with solar panels.
Its chief executive, Frank Asbeck, contacted the Vatican and offered to provide the solar project as a gift.
“With our gift we are paying tribute to the German Pope,” the company said. “We support the commitment of the Catholic Church to a responsible use of the resources of creation,” Mr Asbeck said in the statement.
The company said the Holy See had recently accepted the gift on behalf of the Pope.
Mr Asbeck said making the donation was “an obvious thing to do because Pope Benedict had lived in our Bad Godesberg Rhine quarter during his time in Bonn. We therefore feel very closely attached to him.”
Just a few years after Pope Benedict , then-Fr Joseph Ratzinger, received a doctorate and a licentiate in theology from the University of Munich, he lectured at the University of Bonn from 1959 to 1969.
The company said the solar modules would be installed this summer by the company’s engineers.
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