The Vatican announced it will install solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of its Paul VI audience hall to power the building’s heating, cooling and lighting systems year-round.

The Vatican announced it will install solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of its Paul VI audience hall to power the building’s heating, cooling and lighting systems year-round.

According to Pier Carlo Cuscianna, head of the Vatican’s department of technical services, the Catholic News Service reported that this particularly large audience hall is “one of the top energy guzzlers in the Vatican, and its roof was in need of repair.”

The news service also reported that, when completed, the project will include more than 1,000 panels, and the excess electricity generated will be added to the Vatican City grid. (Cuscianna noted that another benefit of the solar array was increased independence from Italy’s power grid.)

This is not the first green move under Pope Benedict XVI. He recently voiced support for alternative energy during an address on the World Day of Peace saying, “The increasingly serious problem of energy supplies (is leading to) an unprecedented race for the Earth’s resources.”