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Solar Power for the Pope

SolarWorld Chairman and CEO Asbeck for Audience in the Vatican


More than 2,000 solar modules of the German company SolarWorld are generating clean energy on the roof of the papal audience hall. Frank H. Asbeck, Chairman of SolarWorld AG, met Pope Benedict XVI in an audience on the occasion of the first anniversary of the existence of the papal power plant. One of the topics discussed was sustainable electricity supply on the basis of solar energy to preserve creation. SolarWorld group expects that by the beginning of the coming decade power from the roof will be cheaper than domestic electricity from the grid. The infinitely available energy from the sun will thus replace finite sources of energy such as coal, gas and nuclear power step by step. “Humankind is waiting for this and is delighted”, says Pope Benedict XVI.

Frank H. Asbeck: „Pope Benedict XVI is engaged in topics of environmental and climate protection with a high level of personal commitment. At the same time he is aware of the importance that the use of solar power has not only for the energy-intensive wealthy countries but also for the poorest regions of the world”. This had been the reason why SolarWorld AG had installed the solar plant on the roof of the papal audience hall. After today’s talk Asbeck sees his decision reconfirmed: „The solar generating plant right next to St. Peter’s Cathedral possesses a powerful symbolism. Most advanced technology is located next to imposing beauty and at the same time at one of the most frequently visited places in the world”.

The modules for the solar power plant on the roof of the Paolo VI audience hall were produced in Freiberg in Saxony. With a total peak output of 221.59 Kilowatt the plant generates some 300,000 Kilowatt hours per year of infinite solar power. This is equivalent to the annual electricity needs of more than 100 households. With the clean power production 225,000 Kilograms of carbon dioxide are avoided every year. For the aesthetically sophisticated plant, which was fitted into the historic ensemble of Vatican City with a high level of technical and architectural effort, the Vatican received the European Solar Prize 2008. The concrete contact for the implementation of the project in the Vatican came about via the Catholic Citizens Foundation in the “Rheinviertel” of Bonn-Bad Godesberg (Germany). This organization promotes community commitment and charitable work in a noteworthy manner.

The idea for the creation of the solar plant in the Vatican was already born in 2002. At the time Asbeck presented a solar cell to the then Pope John Paul II explaining that power could be generated from sand and the sun. John Paul II answered: „The Lord can do anything“, and encouraged Asbeck in his engagement for a worldwide solar energy supply. In today’s meeting with Pope Benedict XVI Asbeck added: „We cannot only generate power from the sun but we can also produce it at a price in the near future that will make it affordable for everyone”.

This year SolarWorld AG will reach its goal of supporting aid projects of at least the same order of magnitude as the solar plant in the Vatican in some of the poorest countries in the world. Via the project group Solar2World several health and social stations as well as training centres have already been equipped with solar power plants.

About SolarWorld AG

The SolarWorld AG group of companies (ISIN: DE0005108401) is a world leader in high-quality solar power technology. The company is exclusively dedicated to its core business of photovoltaic power generation and combines all activities of the solar industry from silicon as the raw material to turn-key solar power systems including recycling. SolarWorld is represented in all the world’s solar growth markets and predominantly produces in Germany and the USA. Its largest sites are located in Freiberg, Saxony, and Hillsboro, USA. The central group office is in Bonn. Worldwide sales of solar modules are secured by five sales offices in Germany, Spain, USA, South Africa and Singapore. The central element of the business in addition to the sale of turn-key solar systems and solar modules to the trade is the distribution of solar silicon wafers to the international solar cell industry. Apart from grid-coupled (on-grid) products, the SolarWorld Group sells off-grid solar power solutions. Under the name Solar2World the Group takes its ethical commitment to fair development also to emerging economies and developing countries, promoting in particular off-grid solar power solutions exemplary of sustainable economic development.

Sustainability is an integral element of SolarWorld’s corporate strategy. The corporate management is committed to sustainable, economically, ecologically and socially compatible growth. SolarWorld AG employs more than 2,500 people worldwide. The company is listed at the stock market, among others in the technology index TecDAX, in the ÖkoDAX, in the Dow Jones STOXX 600, in the international MSCI-Index and in the sustainability indices DAXglobal Alternative Energy and NAI.

SolarWorld Press contact

SolarWorld AG

Contact Investor Relations: Phone: 0228/55920-470
Contact Press: Phone: 0228/55920-459
Fax: 0228/55920-9470

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