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SolarWorld Group: Solar Power for the Vatican / Inauguration of the First Solar Power Plant for the Papal State

Bonn, November 26, 2008 - SolarWorld AG has completed the first solar power plant for the Vatican right next to St. Peter's Cathedral. As from today some 2,394 solar modules will generate electricity on the roof of the Papal audience hall. Today's audience of Pope Benedict XVI for more than 10,000 believers will already take place under the roof bedecked with solar modules. "This solar plant is designed to send out a visible signal for climate-friendly energy supply and the preservation of creation," said Frank H. Asbeck, Cha irman and CEO of SolarWorld AG.

The solar power plant on the roof of the Paolo VI audience hall has a peak total output of 221.59 Kilowatt (KW), enough to generate some 300,000 Kilowatt hours of electricity. This is equivalent to the annual needs of more than 100 households. The generation of this volume of clean energy is designed to avoid the emission of 225,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide. The aesthetically sophisticated plant was blended into the historical ensemble of Vatican City with a great deal of technical and architectural effort. It is a gift from SolarWorld AG. The solar modules were manufactured at the SolarWorld facility in Freiberg/Saxony. The inverters were donated by SMA Solar Technology and the grid connection was planned by the Italian company Tecno Spot.

Since the beginning of his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI has promoted the causes of environmental and resource protection pointing to "the urgent need to discover alternative energy sources that are safe and accessible to all". SolarWorld AG wants to support this endeavour with the highly symbolic solar plant in the Vatican. Frank H. Asbeck: "Our commitment to the international dissemination of solar power technology is dedicated to exactly the same objective".

The original idea to build a solar plant in the Vatican already came about in 2002. The then Pope John Paul II had encouraged Asbeck who had presented him with a solar cell in the course of a general audience to continue in his efforts to promote the worldwide solar energy supply. The concrete contact for the implementation of the project in the Vatican came though the Catholic Community in the Bad Godesberg Rhine Quarter where community commitment and charitable work are promoted in an exemplary fashion.

SolarWorld AG is planning to support aid projects in the poorest countries of the world in at least the same order of magnitude as the solar plant in the Vatican. Through the project group Solar2World an aids orphanage, a hospital and several training centers in Africa have alre! ady been equipped with solar power systems. These activities will be further enhanced next year.

In addition to Frank Asbeck the speakers at today's inauguration ceremony in the Accademia delle Scienze in the Vatican will include the President of the Governors' Council of Vatican City, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the Italian Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Carlo Rubbia, as well as the President of Eurosolar, Hermann Scheer, who will award the European Solar Prize to the Vatican in recognition of this successful project.

SolarWorld Real Value

SolarWorld manufactures and sells solar power solutions and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. As the largest solar producer in the United States and Europe, SolarWorld employs about 3,200 people and carries out production in Hillsboro, Ore., and Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany. From the raw material silicon to solar wafers, cells and panels, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe and is committed to resource- and energy-efficient production. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, SolarWorld was founded in 1998 and has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999. For more information, visit

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