May 9 (Renewables Now) - The global renewable energy sector added more than 500,000 jobs last year, a year-on-year rise of 5.3%, reaching total headcount of 10.3 million, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) announced on Tuesday.
The solar photovoltaic (PV) industry continues to account for the largest number of renewable energy jobs. Solar employees increased by almost 9% from 2016 to nearly 3.4 million as the world installed a record 94 GW.
Wind jobs, however, declined slightly to 1.15 million. China is the largest employer in both industries and is estimated to have increased its PV jobs by 13% last year to 2.2 million.
China, Brazil, the US, India, Germany and Japan account for over 70% of all renewable energy jobs globally. The jobs total includes 1.5 million people employed in large hydropower.
The biofuels sector, which ranks second after solar PV in terms of number of jobs, boosted employment by 12% to 1.93 million.
"Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonisation of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050," said IRENA director-general Adnan Z Amin.