In 2018, 11 million people were directly and indirectly employed in the renewable energy sector around the world, an increase on 10.3 million the year before, according to data published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Solar photovoltaic accounted for 3.6 million jobs, 3.2 million were in bioenergy, 1.2 million were in wind and the rest were distributed across several industries such as solar heating and biogas.
Even though the renewable energy sector has an increasingly diverse geographic footprint, the bulk of employment is concentrated in a handful of countries.
Today, China is the clear leader in renewable energy employment with 4.1 million jobs in 2018, 39% of the global total.
Despite that impressive figure, China’s job count actually dropped in comparison with 2017 due to a fall in solar PV employment amid a suspension of subsidies and lower domestic sales.
Brazil comes a distant second for employment in renewables and it remains the world’s largest biofuels employer.That looks set to increase even further as Brazil continues to ramp up its wind and solar activities.
Despite the Trump administration’s coal-friendly policies, employment in the U.S. renewable energy sector rose from around 786,000 in 2017 to 855,000 in 2018. 311,000 of those jobs were in biofuels while solar and wind accounted for 242,000 and 114,000 jobs respectively.
Elsewhere, India is making dramatic progress and its renewable energy jobs total skyrocketed from 432,000 to 719,000 between 2017 and 2018 however renewable energy jobs growth slowed in 2019 because of the 20 per cent decline in capacity additions in the solar and wind sector.
The goods and services tax (GST), imposition of safeguard duty, payment delays by power distribution companies, lack of finance and infrastructure constraints were key reasons behind the slowdown.
Reference- IREA report, Forbes