Global employment in renewable energy, counting direct and indirect jobs, grew to 12.7 million people in 2021 from 12 million in 2020, according to the latest report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Of the total, 4.3 million people are employed in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, up from 4 million in 2020. Global employment in onshore and offshore wind stood at 1.4 million in 2021, up from 1.25 million a year earlier.
In terms of geography, China accounted for 42% of all renewable energy jobs last year, while almost two-thirds are in Asia. Employment in the region is strong thanks to Asia’s installation figures and significant equipment manufacturing capacity.
The EU and Brazil each have a 10% share in global renewables jobs, followed by the US and India with 7% each.
IRENA points out that women now account for one-third of all jobs in the sector, thanks to “encouraging advances” in workforce gender equity.
Solar PV is the fastest-growing renewable energy sector. Without any surprise, China is the leader here again, accounting for 63% of PV jobs in 2021 or roughly 2.7 million people. It is the top producer of PV equipment and the world’s largest installation market.
Solar jobs in the US rose to 255,000. In Europe it stood at 268,000 and in India at 137,000. The top 10 solar jobs markets had a share of 87% in the total count.
Employment in onshore and offshore wind is also concentrated in a relatively small number of countries. China;s share is 48%, Europe’s is 25% and the Americas account for 16%. The top ten countries for wind jobs together employed 1.16 million people which is equal to 85% of wind jobs.
Global employment in renewable energy could hit 38.2 million in 2030 under an ambitious energy transition scenario with front-loaded investments, IRENA said. Energy efficiency, electric vehicles, power systems/flexibility and hydrogen could provide jobs for a further 74.2 million people by that same year under the ambitious scenario.
The full report by IRENA is available for download here: https://www.irena.org/publications/2022/Sep/Renewable-Energy-and-Jobs-Annual-Review-2022
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