The Amish conjure thoughts of horse-drawn buggies, hand-churned butter and hand-made wooden furniture.

Technology certainly doesn't spring to mind.

The Amish people are known for their no-thrills approach to life, which includes the rejection of most modern-day conveniences.  They use refrigerators, batteries and power generators, but hooking into the electric grid is a no-no because it would connect them to the outside world.

But some members of an Amish community in northeastern Indiana hope to get electricity fromsolarand wind power, The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne reported last week.

Victor Wagler, a 63-year-old Amish man, is seeking permission from Allen County officials to build an 87-foot steel tower he plans to top with a wind turbine. The generator would be capable of producing about 538 kilowatts of electricity per month, according to The News-Sentinel.

Along with a solar panel, Wagler plans to power his home and barn.

So what makes solar and wind power acceptable?

According to an Amish interpretation of the Bible, members of the community should live with limited influences from the outside world.   

Around 1920, Amish leaders decided the linking of electrical wires into their community would bring temptations from the outside world into their community and destroy church and family life.

But Amish leaders stopped short of condemning electricity itself as an evil. The connection to the grid was the problem, they said.

The Amish probably aren't the most obvious advocates of distributed renewable energy. But they are boosting business for installer Solar Energy Systems of Nappanee, Ind. The company's owner told The News-Sentinel that the Amish make up 70 percent of his clientele.

Meanwhile, the Vatican is getting ready to install solar panels on the roof of the Paul VI building, a receiving hall that seats 12,000 people, according to an article by ZENIT, which covers the Pope and the Vatican.

The panels, scheduled to be installed during the next two months, are coming from the German company SolarWorld. The firm gave 2,000 panels to help Pope Benedict XVI celebrate Three Kings Day, which marks the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus. The panels are expected to generate about 315.5 megawatts of electricity annually.

The Pope has been vocal in his opposition to global warming, and in March included destroying the environment on a list of "new sins" (see Green: The New Religion?).

He is not the first religious leader to give solar power his blessing.

The Dalai Lama, for one, already has solar power at his private living quarters at the Gaden Jangtse monastery in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, according to the Solar Electric Light Fund, a nonprofit that supports solar power in developing countries.