More than 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017 provides the latest employment figures of the renewable energy sector and insight into the factors affecting the renewable labour market.
“Falling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENA’s first annual assessment in 2012, when just over seven million people were working in the sector,” said IRENA director-general Adnan Z Amin.
“Renewables are directly supporting broader socio-economic objectives, with employment creation increasingly recognised as a central component of the global energy transition. As the scales continue to tip in favour of renewables, we expect that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world”.
China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable-energy jobs. In China for example, 3.64 million people worked in renewables in 2016, a rise of 3.4%.
IRENA’s report shows that solar photovoltaic (PV) was the largest employer in 2016, with 3.1 million jobs — up 12 % from 2015 — mainly in China, the United States and India. In the United States, jobs in the solar industry increased 17 times faster than the overall economy, growing 24.5% from the previous year to over 260 000.