Job Creation

In recent years, job creation has been an important co-benefit of accelerated renewable energy deployment. IRENA estimates that the sector employed 9.8 million people in 2016. Employment opportunities are created throughout the value chain for renewable energy deployment, from project planning to manufacturing, installing, operating and maintaining, as well as decommissioning.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) power was the largest employer, with 3.1 million jobs, up 12% from 2015. The growth came mainly from China, the United States and India, whereas jobs decreased for the first time in Japan and continued to decline in the European Union. New wind power installations in the United States, Germany, India and Brazil, meanwhile, contributed to an increase in global wind employment of 7%, reaching 1.2 million jobs.

Liquid biofuels (1.7 million jobs), solid biomass (0.7 million) and biogas (0.3 million) were also major employers, with jobs concentrated in feedstock supply.  Brazil, China, the United States and India were key bioenergy job markets. 

Jobs in solar heating and cooling declined 12% to 0.8 million amid an installation slowdown in major markets such as China, Brazil and the European Union. 

Large hydropower employed 1.5 million people (direct jobs), with around 60% of those in operation and maintenance. Key job markets were China, India, Brazil, the Russian Federation and Vietnam.

China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany are the leading renewable energy job markets.

Jobs in renewable energy could rise from just 9.8 million in 2016 to more than 24 million in 2030.


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