COUNCIL buildings across Edinburgh are to be fitted with community-owned solar panels, it has been announced today.

Edinburgh Council will work in partnership with the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative (ECSC) to deliver the panels to 25 council buildings across the city.

The initiative is believed to be the largest community-owned urban renewable energy project in the UK.

Shares will be offered to organisations or individuals who want to invest in the initiative, although priority allocation will be given to Edinburgh residents.

The energy generated by the installations will help to make future savings while reducing the capital's carbon emissions by an estimated 855 tonnes a year.

Any surplus energy will be sold to the National Grid and profits made by the project will be reinvested locally through a newly-created Community Benefit Fund.

Vice Convener of Transport and Environment, Councillor Adam McVey, said: "This is fantastic news for Edinburgh and will bring long term environmental, social and economic benefits.

"Community energy co-operatives allow local people to play a part in building a greener, more sustainable environment whilst raising awareness more generally about the importance of being energy efficient.

"We are aiming to meet our target of reducing Edinburgh's carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 and this project is an important step towards us achieving this."

Buildings such as schools, leisure and community centres will be chosen to host the solar technology, with the recipients announced at a later date.

The panels will also be used as a resource for educational projects to help engage pupils with environmental themes such as renewable energy.

Each device will come with a real-time display of electricity generation which will be displayed on the buildings and accessible to pupils online.