The global renewable energy industry employed more than 7.7 million people, directly and indirectly, in 2014, an increase of 18% on the figure reported last year, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said in a report released on Tuesday.
The figure excludes an estimated 1.5 million direct jobs in large hydropower.
The solar photovoltaic (PV) sector accounted for the largest number of jobs -- 2.5 million, up from 2.3 million at last count. Liquid biofuels come next with 1.8 million jobs, followed by wind power, where jobs breached the 1 million mark, an increase from 834,000 in the previous year.
According to the report, the regional shift in renewable energy employment towards Asia continued in 2014. As a result, despite the continued jobs growth, the combined share of the EU and the US in global employment has shrunk to 25% from 31% in 2012.
In terms of countries, China firmed up its position as the largest renewable energy employer with 3.4 million jobs, the report says. It is followed by Brazil with 934,000 jobs, mainly in liquid biofuels and the US, where employment rose 16% to 724,000 jobs. The top 10 also includes India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, France, Bangladesh and Colombia.
IRENA director-general Adnan Z Amin said the increase in overall jobs was driven partly by falling technology costs, which created more jobs in installation, operations and maintenance. "IRENA’s research estimates that doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030, would result in more than 16 million jobs worldwide," Amin also said.
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