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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Holy solar panels, Batman!

Flipping radio channels over the weekend, the local Catholic radio station reported that last week the Vatican has began installation of solar panels on the roof of a large hall at the Vatican City.

The panels will generate about 280,000 kWh/year of power, around 15% of the energy needs for the 6,300-seat hall. The project was timed to a needed roof replacement, and also because the hall was one of the most modern buildings in the city-state.

The Vatican got the $1.5 million worth of panels donated by SolarWorld of Germany, who gave them as a gift to the German-born pontiff.

After this project, an employee cafeteria will also be getting solar panels. The Vatican is hoping to be the first European nation to comply with EU goals of having 20% of all energy consumption covered by renewable energy. Give that the landlocked nation is only 0.44 sq km, it seems pretty clear that the power will be coming from solar rather than hydro or even wind turbines.

Note to European readers and readers under 40: the headline refers to a common exclamation made by Burt Ward in the 1960s television drama Batman.

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