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Solar PV employed around 3.4 million people in 2021 – pv magazine India

Almost half of the workers were employed in China, around 280,000 in North America, more than 260,000 in Europe and some 50,000 in Africa, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The vast majority of workers were employed in the fabrication and installation of new capacity, with solar jobs paying lower wage premiums than the nuclear, oil and gas industries.

Excerpt from pv magazine Global

The energy sector employed more than 65 million people in 2019, or 2% of global employment, according to the new World Energy Employment Report published by the IEA. Half of this workforce is employed in the clean energy sector, with solar PV employing more workers than any other power generation technology.

According to the report, employment in power generation stood at 11.2 million in 2019, including 3 million in solar PV, 2 million in coal and 1.9 million in hydropower. Onshore and offshore wind employed 1.2 million people and nuclear 1 million. Employment in other renewables totaled approximately 710,000 employees.

The agency estimates that employment in the energy sector as a whole in 2021 increased by around 1.3 million and could increase by another 6 percentage points by 2022, with clean energy accounting for the largest share. full growth. Energy investments could increase by 8% in 2022, to reach $2.4 trillion, but almost half of the increase in capital expenditure is linked to higher costs.

According to the report, about 3.4 million workers were employed in solar PV in 2021, nearly half of them in China, thanks to lower-cost labor. North America employed about 280,000 workers and Europe more than 260,000. There were about 50,000 people working in the solar industry in Africa, and that number is expected to grow due to the proliferation of on- and off-the-shelf solutions. network on the mainland, the agency said.

Most industry employees work in manufacturing and installing new capacity, with manufacturing jobs heavily concentrated in a few countries: China alone had 260,000 workers in the production of polysilicon, wafers, cells and modules.

“Residential solar panels are often installed by construction workers and electricians who also work on other projects, so many solar PV jobs are not full-time, and it can be difficult to count employees with accuracy,” the agency noted.

The shortage of skilled labor poses a major challenge for the industry, which is expected to see continued growth in annual capacity installation in each IEA scenario. About $215 billion was invested in the industry in 2021, an average annual growth of 5% over the previous decade, according to the report. Total installed capacity worldwide was 740 GW in 2019, comprising 425 GW of utility-scale installations and 315 GW of residential, commercial and industrial (C&I) installations.

The construction of new projects, including component manufacturing, is believed to be the main driver of employment in the energy sector, employing over 60% of the workforce. According to the report, industries with a higher share of workers in construction, such as solar, have lower wage premiums than industries like nuclear, oil and gas. The solar industry also has less union representation than the fossil fuel industries, where worker representation has led to higher wages.

According to the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 scenario, 14 million new clean energy jobs will be created by 2030, and 16 million additional workers will move into new clean energy roles . In this scenario, approximately 60% of new hires will require at least two years of post-secondary education, making worker training essential to the sustainable development of the industry.

The report also shows that currently, women are severely underrepresented in the energy sector, accounting for 16% of the sector’s workforce, compared to 39% of global employment.

“Women make up a very small share of senior executives in energy, just under 14% on average. However, there are substantial variations across energy sectors, with the percentage shares of nuclear and coal being the lowest at 8% and 9%, respectively, while electric utilities are among the highest. with almost 20%. This compares to 16% of senior women in the economy as a whole,” the report said. There are no major differences in the share of female employment between fossil fuels and clean energy globally.

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