SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The oldest Catholic Church built in the United States is getting a modern upgrade. The San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe will have solar panels installed on the roof of the adobe structure constructed around 1610.

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The project is being overseen and coordinated by Cornerstones Community Partnerships, a local non-profit that has partnered with St. Michael’s High School since 2004 to preserve the Chapel. Cornerstones is overseeing the solar upgrade, which has taken more than five years to arrange grants and conduct planning, permitting and coordination to install panels on the church’s new roof – that roof was put in place in 2021.

“The completed project will demonstrate that an historic landmark can merge with current technology for sustainable solutions in the face of climate change. St. Michael’s is pleased to have been part of this pilot project, and we look forward to seeing how our little solar project will positively impact churches and chapels around the world,” said St. Michael’s School President Michael Sandoval.

The solar panels will be installed starting Wednesday. The project aligns with Pope Francis’s 2015 call for action in addressing the threat of climate change.