Last year, the number of people working in the sector was just shy of 10 million
In a report released on Wednesday 24 May, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reported that 9.8 million people across the globe were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, a 1.1% increase compared to the previous year.
According to Mr. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, â€œas the scales continue to tip in favor 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 worldâ€. â€œFalling costs and enabling policies have steadily driven up investment and employment in renewable energy worldwide since IRENAâ€™s first annual assessment in 2012, when just over seven million people were working in the sectorâ€, he added.
Specifically, jobs in the renewable energy sector â€“ excluding large hydropower â€“ increased by 2.8% last year, to reach 8.3 million in 2016. Solar PV and wind power together have more than doubled their employment since 2012, accounting for 3.1 million and 1.2 million jobs respectively last year.
According to the report, 62% of all renewable energy jobs are based in Asia, as installation and manufacturing continues to shift to the region. China remained the biggest job creator by far, with 3.64 million people employed across the industries covered in the report. Brazil was in second place thanks to its prospering biofuel industry (with 876,000 workers) and the US in third place with 777,000 jobs. India, Germany and Japan followed, however solar jobs in Japan and the EU declined by 20% and 22% respectively between 2015-2016.
Solar PV is the leader in job creation
Among the clean energy sectors, solar photovoltaic (PV) was the largest employer in 2016, offering jobs to 3.1 million people â€“ a 12% increase compared to 2015. The same year, new installed solar capacity globally exceeded 78 GW, up from 51 GW in 2015, with the total installed solar capacity reaching over 306 GW worldwide. Liquid biofuels (1.7 million jobs), solid biomass (0.7 million) and biogas (0.3 million) were also major employers, IRENA reported.
Source: Climate Action