Pope Benedict XVI, not content to let the Vatican steal all the green glory, has just finished installing solar panels on his Bavarian home.
The 82-year-old Pontiff is certainly the greenest Pope yet — though his analogy of “saving gays” as akin to “saving the rainforests” is where we draw the line.
For his home near near Regensburg, Germany, over 580 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels were installed on the rooftop. The only condition for the project was that no church funds be used — so naturally, everything was donated. When tweaked and running, the panels are expected to output about 5,800 kilowatt hours of energy a year, which corresponds to saving 11 barrels of petroleum.
The project was commissioned not only for the environmental benefits, but also to produce income (which may amount to $3,500 a year), by providing the German electricity grid with energy. According to a German newspaper, the money will go to an association that offers skills and job training to disadvantaged youths.
In a recent encyclical, the Pope stated, “The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption, either through an evolution in manufacturing methods or through greater ecological sensitivity among their citizens. It should be added that at present it is possible to achieve improved energy efficiency while at the same time encouraging research into alternative forms of energy. ”
No word on whether the Pope will actually get to enjoy his solarized residence: his last visit there was in 2006.