Bright young minds at Edinburgh College has seen the opening of a brand new "solar meadow" at the Dalkeith campus.

Some 2,500 panels now cover a five-acre site, with the development costing an estimated £1.2 million to develop.

In addition to cutting carbon emissions by up to 300,000kg per annum, the college will also experience a reduction in energy bills, saving the educational establishment thousands of pounds a year.

Furthermore, students at the college will be able to use the "solar meadow" as an educational tool, as students will be able to monitor the technology's energy generation capabilities, in order to get a first hand look at how the system works.

Engineering students in particular will benefit from the photovoltaic array, with vice-principal of the college Professor Steve Tinsley saying that it will help to equip the youngsters with skills in producing and understanding solar developments.

"We believe the solar meadow also looks great and will become a significant attraction for local people as well as visitors to the capital," Professor Tinsley stated.

"It is also fantastic that the project has enabled the college to engage with schools and local community groups to develop their own renewable energy projects. It really is giving something back to the local community in more ways than one."

The panels will be able to produce an electricity output of 560,000 kWhrs annually. enough to power over 170 homes.

Furthermore, the panels will be utilised for the purposes of research, as the interaction between biodiversity and solar technology is set to be analysed. This will take into account a number of environmental conditions, such as weather and pollen, and what effect these have on the production capabilities of solar panels.

The college will be able to reduce running costs, in addition to cutting down on their future reliance on energy bills. The facility has been described as the first project of its kind.