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SOLAR-POPE (CORRECTED) Jul-31-2009 (350 words) xxxi

Pope's home in Bavaria becomes a solar-power generator

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's home in Bavaria near Regensburg, Germany, will become a solar-power generator.

Workmen from the area donated some 580 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels to install on the house's rooftop, the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reported July 30.

The panels should generate about 5,800 kilowatt hours of energy a year, which corresponds to saving 11 barrels of petroleum.

The project will produce income, which may amount to $3,500 a year, by providing the German electricity grid with energy. The money will go to an association that offers skills and job training to disadvantaged youths, the newspaper said, citing the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

According to the German news agency, the pope approved the project as long as no church funds were used. Local workers donated the panels and students at the trade school were to install the panels the week of July 27-31, the agency said.

The pope had the house built in 1970 in the Regensburg suburb of Pentling. He registered as a resident of the town in 1969 when he moved there to teach at the University of Regensburg.

The Vatican newspaper also announced the pope was expected to meet with race-car drivers participating in an "eco-rally" in mid-September.

The 248-mile race will begin Sept. 19 and end Sept. 20 in two of the world's smallest states; the route is from the independent Republic of San Marino to the Vatican, it said.

The drivers will be racing 20 cars that run on so-called clean energy, such as methane or liquefied petroleum gas. Some of the cars will be flexible-fuel vehicles in which engines can run on a number of alternative fuels and some will be electric-powered vehicles. Cars utilizing only electricity will race over a shorter distance, the Vatican paper said.

The drivers were expected to finish outside the Vatican property of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, and then meet the pope as well as participate in the noontime Sunday Angelus prayer in the courtyard of the papal residence.


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