Solar energy continues to make strides toward mainstream acceptance. In the beginning, though, there were some prominent early adaptors to the technology. In 2007, the Vatican announced plans to install a solar power system, and in 2008 work began on the rooftop of Nervi Hall.
Pope Benedict XVI has made a commitment to preserving the earth and is the first pontiff to embrace solar technology. The 2,400 photovoltaic panels are primarily used to heat and cool the hall, capable of holding up to 10,000 people. The panels, donated and estimated to be worth 1.5 million dollars, produce 300MWh of clean energy a year, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by about 225,000 kilograms annually.
The project is part of Pope Benedict XVI’s goal to have the Vatican produce 20% of its energy from alternative supplies by 2020. Currently, the city-state has the most solar installed per capita of any nation. Additionally, there have been talks to transform the popular “pope mobile” into a hybrid, however given emergency concerns with the Pope’s privacy, plans are still in development.