In 2014, the renewable energy sector added about 7.7 million jobs, an increase of about 18% from the previous year (2013).

Today, the solar Photovoltaic energy industry is the largest and fastest growing employer within the renewables sector. This–according to a recent study presented to the ‘UN Sustainable Energy for All Forum’ by the International Renewable Energy Association (ARENA).

renewable energy by technology_IRENA

This study places the solar PV industry at the top with 2.5 million jobs around the world.

The report also mentions that China dominated global renewables employment with about 3.4 million jobs. Brazil follows China with about 934,000 jobs mostly in the biofuels industry. Then the United States with 724,000, India with 437,000 and Germany with about 371,000 jobs.

renewable energy by country_IRENA

In the coming years, renewable energy employment growth will depend on the return to a strong investment trajectory, as well as on continued technological development and cost reductions – says the IRENA study. Stable and predictable policies will be essential to support job creation. Finally, in a year when negotiators in Paris aim to carve out a global climate agreement, the broader policy framework for energy investments will also move to the forefront.

“Renewable energy continues to assert itself as a major global employer, generating strong economic and social benefits worldwide,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “This increase is being driven, in part, by declining renewable energy technology costs, which creates more jobs in installation, operations and maintenance. We expect this upward trend to continue as the business case for renewable energy continues to strengthen.”

“If we continue to invest in renewable energy and its multiple economic, environmental and social benefits, employment in renewables will continue to climb,” said Mr. Amin. “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.”

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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