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Home Blog 36 Fascinating Renewable Energy Job Creation Statistics

36 Fascinating Renewable Energy Job Creation Statistics

by Branka Vuleta

Betting on renewable energies instead of fossil fuels is reducing greenhouse gases and other types of environmental pollution that keeps the threat of the sixth mass extinction alive.

The thing is:

The continued growth of investment in renewable energy is causing an unprecedented creation of jobs in the sector. In fact, according to renewable energy job creation statistics, 11 million people around the world were employed in this sector as of 2018. This growth in employment is helping governments address a fundamental economic problem that plagues developed and developing countries alike. 

Now:

We should point out that the growth of employment in the renewable energy sector is exceeding the predictions of many professionals in the sector. That’s why we decided to bring you all the facts and figures about the employment generation capacity of this industry. 

Let’s delve in deeper!

Renewable Energy Employment Statistics (Editor's Choice)

  • Iceland is the greenest country in the world, with nearly 100% of its electricity coming from renewables.
  • Solar power employs more than 43% of people in the electricity generation industry in the US. 
  • China has the most wind energy jobs in the world (44%). 
  • 68% of clean energy jobs are taken by men.
  • The average annual salary of solar panel installers is around $39,000.
  • There are 1.2 million people employed in the wind industry worldwide according to renewable energy job growth stats.
  • Renewables account for 24% of electricity generated around the world.
  • India employs the highest number of people in the global hydropower industry. 
  • There were 11 million renewable jobs as of 2018.

There will be 24 million jobs in the global renewable energy sector by 2030.

Global Renewable Energy Employment Statistics

renewable energy job creation statistics - solar panels

1. There are 3.39 million renewable energy jobs in China as of 2014.

Source: IRENA

The renewable energy sector is emphatically breaking into the Asian countries, creating thousands or even millions of job opportunities. Globally, the production of solar panels increases considerably at a low cost and focuses mainly on China and Japan. Brazil, the US, India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, France, Bangladesh, and Colombia are also world leaders in the use of renewable energy and employment growth in the sector. 

2. Solar power employs more than 43% of people in the electricity generation industry in the US. 

Source: Forbes

You might be thinking:

Are there more jobs in renewable energy? 

Currently, the workforce of the solar industry in the United States is bigger than that of the oil and gas sectors. What’s more, it’s nearly triple the size of all workers employed in coal mining. While the solar energy sector employed more than 43% of workers in the electricity generation industry in 2016, the combination of all other fossil fuel-based sectors (coal, oil, and gas) employed just 22% – nearly half of solar’s. And we haven’t even started talking about wind, biofuel, and others. 

 3. The solar industry employed more than 209,000 people in the US in 2015.

Source: The Guardian 

In case you were wondering:

How many jobs are in renewable energy? 

You now know the answer:

As of 2015, in the United States, there were around 209,000 workers in the field of solar energy alone. The number keeps growing despite President Donald Trump’s tariffs and other market uncertainties. 

4. Brazil creates the highest number of jobs in the biofuel industry. 

Source: IRENA 

In the entire clean energy industry, Brazil comes second in the area of job creation. However, the South American country generates 40% of the total jobs, the most in the biofuel industry. 

5. 68% of clean energy jobs are taken by men.

Source: IRENA

According to a 2019 US energy and employment report from the industry, the percentage of women who took up renewable energy jobs in 2018 stands at 32%, less than half of their male counterparts. Generally, there are few women in the energy industry, especially in the blue-collar category. 

6. China has the most wind energy jobs in the world (44%). 

Source: IRENA

According to renewable energy employment stats, China is the leading producer of jobs in the solar PV industry as well as in the wind technology industry. The country takes a larger share of 44% with around 500,000 jobs. Germany comes next with around 140,000 jobs. The  United States comes third with approximately 110,000 jobs. 

7. The average annual salary of solar panel installers is around $39,000.

Source: BLS

Does renewable energy create jobs that pay well? 

Well, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, a solar panel installer is a “good” job. It is skilled labor and has a respectable annual salary of $39,490 as of May 2017. In fact, in 2015, salaries in the United States rose 2.5% compared to the previous year. Panel installers earn 21 dollars per hour on average, 5% more than a year ago or twice the national average according to the Solar Foundation. 

8. Renewables make up 24% of electricity generated around the world.

Source: C2ES

This is according to renewable energy job creation statistics for 2017. Globally, renewable energy makes up more than 24% of energy generation. However, much of that number comes from hydropower, which accounts for 17%. 

 9. The solar PV industry is the largest employer of labor with 3.36 million employed people.

Source: IRENA

According to a 2017 US energy and employment report by IRENA, the Photovoltaic industry was the biggest employer of labor in the clean energy industry as of 2017, employing over 3 million people, many of whom were from China. However, the Liquid Biofuel industry (1.9 million workers) has more laborers than hydropower (1.5 million workers). Next on the list are the Wind Energy, Solar Heating/ Cooling, Solid Biomass, Biogas, Hydropower, Geothermal Energy, CSP, Municipal and industrial waste, Tide, Wave & Ocean Energy, and others. 

10. 1.2 million people worldwide are employed in the wind industry.

Source: Forbes

The solar and wind industries are spearheading the alternative energy job growth coming from the global clean energy industry. After the solar photovoltaics industry, the wind energy industry is the second biggest employment creator, taking the position from biofuel over the last few years. However, wind commands just one-third of what is obtainable in the photovoltaic industry. Meanwhile, 84% of all the jobs in the wind industry are concentrated mainly in China, Europe, and North America. 

11. India employs the highest number of people in the global hydropower industry. 

Source: IRENA

According to global clean energy jobs stats, there are over two million people employed in the hydropower section of the renewable energy sector. And among these, 17% are people from India. China comes next with 15%, while 10% belong to Brazil and 6% to Vietnam. 

12. 39% of global clean energy jobs are in China.
Source: IRENA

According to clean energy jobs statistics for 2019, China is a powerhouse of the global renewable energy sector. The Asian country has 39% of all the jobs in the renewable sector around the world. 

 13. Iceland is the greenest country in the world, with nearly 100% of its electricity coming from renewables.

Source: ClickEnergy 

The small European country runs a 100% clean energy economy. It generates and supplies the cleanest electricity per each person in the world. Iceland maintains almost 100% of energy creation from renewable resources, having proposed to do so in 1988. Interestingly, 85% of this energy is produced locally. 

14. More than 7.7 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector worldwide in 2014.

Source: IRENA

How many jobs does renewable energy create

In view of a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), it should be noted that around 7.7 million people were estimated to be working in the renewable energy sector worldwide in 2014. That represented a growth of 18% from the previous year’s figure of 6.5 million. 

15. 500,000 renewable jobs were lost in the EU in 2013

Source: EurObserv’ER

If we focus on employment in the renewable energy sector in Europe, the use of renewable energy was reduced in 2013 in the European Union due to adverse political conditions in the region reflecting a sharp decline in investment in general. In 2013, there were about 1.2 million jobs in the 28 member states of the European Union, down from 1.25 million in the previous year. 

 16. Germany has the most renewable energy jobs in Europe (371,400). 

Source: Seforall.org 

According to renewable energy job creation statistics, Germany remains, by far, the European country with the largest number of renewable energy jobs. That’s more than twice the number of France (176,200), which in turn is far ahead of other member states such as Italy or Spain. Germany has recently set its renewable energy goal to 65% by 2030. 

17. Around 2.5 million people are working in the solar energy sector. 

Source: IRENA

As can be verified by the solar energy job growth report from IRENA, the bulk of employment is in the solar energy sector, with around 2.5 million jobs around 2004. It’s followed by biofuels that employ more people in countries such as Indonesia, and finally, wind. Subsectors in the renewable energy technology sector include the solar energy industry, biofuel industry, geothermal industry, and wind energy industry. 

18. There are just 60,000 jobs in the Spanish renewable energy sector. 

Source: EurObserv’ER

Clean energy jobs statistics by EurObserv’ER place renewable employment in Spain at 60,250. This is well below the estimate of 94,800 presented by the APPA. Sadly, in recent years, there has been a systematic destruction of jobs in the renewable sector in Spain, whereas in most countries, more jobs have been created.

19. Offshore wind energy provides around 7% of the UK’s energy.

Source: ITV

One of the most used renewables is wind. The wind at sea and on land is used all over the world. According to clean energy jobs statistics, in the United Kingdom, offshore wind farms are extremely effective, and its use will increase by 2030.

What’s more:

According to the Guardian, deals in the wind sector are projected to produce around one-third of the United Kingdom’s electricity power needs before the year 2030. The government is ready to throw its weight behind power generation from offshore wind.

Renewable Energy Jobs in the USA

renewable energy job creation statistics - photo

20. In 2018, solar energy contributed 1.7% of the total electricity consumed in the United States. 

Source: Wikipedia

This also affected job creation in the sector in 2018. Although the figures coming out for 2018 showed an overall fall in employment generation, in 29 of the 50 states of the country there were increases in the solar energy sector, with Florida leading the pack.

21. There are more than 3.26 million green jobs in the US. 

Source: Solar Power World 

You may have been wondering:

How many green jobs are there in the US? 

This is huge:

The clean energy industry is one of the fastest-growing employment creating industries in the US. According to a report published by E2, the overall number of green jobs in the US surpassed 3.26 million at the end of 2018. This represents around 29.6% of the total clean energy jobs around the world. 

22. Jobs in the field of solar energy doubled in five years in the United States.

Source: CNN

As renewable energy employment statistics for the US show, solar energy is going through a boom moment. In the United States, the number of jobs linked to the sector has more than doubled in five years. In fact, today more people are working on solar energy than on oil platforms and gas fields. According to the BLS, you wouldn’t need experience from other related industries to work in the solar field. In fact, a high school diploma is enough for prospective workers.

23. Solar energy employs 2x as many people as coal in the United States

Source: USEnergyJobs

People often bring up the coal jobs vs renewable energy jobs capacity debate. However, according to a report prepared by the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Energy Futures Initiative, there are more than twice as many jobs in solar energy in the US than in the coal industry.

24. 350,000 people were employed in the solar energy industry as of 2017.

Source: Cleantechnica 

In the US, companies in the solar energy industry employed, directly and indirectly, 350,000 people in 2017. Among these, more than 250,000 workers were employed on a full-time basis according to renewable energy job growth data from the industry. In comparison, the number of jobs in the coal generation sector remained static at 92,000.

25. The PV installer job will be the fastest-growing job in the US in 2026.

Source: BLS

In the 2016-2017 period, experts predicted that the photovoltaic solar installer job would be the fastest-growing job in the US in the next ten years. According to renewable energy job creation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate is set at 105%, much faster than the average for every other occupation. 

26. US jobs in solar energy went down for the second consecutive year in 2018.

Source: GreenTech Media

Jobs in the US solar energy industry fell 3% last year. According to this renewable energy employment statistic for the US, this represents their second consecutive annual decline. The industry is still trying to adapt to the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on imports of solar panels, the Solar Foundation reported. However, given the large projects underway in California, Texas, and Florida, the solar energy sector is expected to return to a path of increased job creation.

Job Growth Statistics in the Clean energy Industry

renewable energy job creation statistics - image

27. Job growth due to renewable energy was 5.3% in 2018.

Source: IRENA

The renewable energy sector is the future of work in the energy industry. The sector is experiencing one of its best moments, recording a job growth of about 5.3% as of 2018.

28. There were over 10 million people employed in the clean energy industry as of 2017.

Source: Forbes 

Is the renewable energy industry growing

You bet!

Gaining over two million new jobs in three years (between 2014 and 2017), the total number of people employed in the renewable energy technology sector reached 10 million for the first time in the history of global energy production. This figure is according to IRENA’s renewable energy and jobs annual review 2018.

29. 30% of world energy consumption will come from clean energy. 

Source: ClimateAction 

According to BP, renewable energy is expected to account for 30% of the world’s energy supply, up by 20% from its current 10%. Some of these clean sources include wind, solar and hydro. Jobs created by renewable energy around the world is expected to more than double before then. The speed at which the industry has grown far exceeds that of any other historical change. This growth is due to the need for cleaner energy to address environmental objectives.

30. Jobs in the global photovoltaic industry have exceeded 3 million. 

Source: Forbes

The biggest industry in the clean energy sector is the solar photovoltaic industry. According to energy sector employment statistics, in this industry, the number of employees has grown by 9%, bringing up the number to 3.4 million. Two-thirds of the jobs in the photovoltaics sector are based in China. 

31. There were 11 million renewable energy jobs as of 2018.

Source: IRENA

Adding about one million more jobs compared to 2017, the number of employment in the global clean energy sector rose to 11 million in 2018, as reported in the renewable energy and jobs 2019 annual review by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

32. The top 5 producers of photovoltaics have 90% of jobs in the industry. 

Source: Forbes 

Photovoltaics involves the production of electricity from light through the use of semiconducting materials. The biggest producers are China, Japan, the US, India, and Bangladesh. These countries have around 90% of solar PV employed people around the world.

Future Renewable Energy Jobs

renewable energy job creation statistics - energy

33. There will be 24 million jobs in the global renewable energy sector by 2030.

Source: The Guardian

The renewable sector could boast as many as 24 million jobs by 2030, experts predict. This is quite a realistic figure considering the growth of the sector, the international outlook, and the ongoing energy transition towards global decarbonization.

34. 1 out of 50 jobs created in the US is from the solar industry. 

Source: Energy.gov

What types of jobs are there in renewable energy‘s solar sector? 

Some of those who work in the sector are panel installers, designers, engineers, sales personnel, and managers. In 2016 alone, the solar sector generated over 73,000 jobs, 25% more than in 2015. This growth trend is likely to continue in the future.

35. Industry leaders predict 400% growth for the renewable energy industry by 2040.

Source: ClimateAction 

As we can see in existing renewable energy employment statistics and forecasts, the clean energy industry is growing year after year at a pace that has never been seen before. 

This is huge:

By 2040, renewable energies will be the main energy supply to the world! 

36. Global decarbonization can create around 28 million jobs by 2050.

Source: Forbes 

According to Forbes’s renewable energy jobs outlook, close to 30 million job opportunities could be available in the clean energy sector by 2050 if the world favors decarbonization

Conclusion

renewable energy job creation statistics - wind turbine

At a time when automation and robotics are taking away humans’ jobs, the world is bound to benefit more from the 2050 decarbonization goal. Currently, the dependence on fossil fuels (in terms of the products and employment opportunities) are fading out. 

What’s more: 

No sector in the global energy industry possesses as much potential in terms of job creation, planet safety, and workers’ health and welfare. As our renewable energy job creation statistics clearly show, the future of the global energy industry lies in the renewable energy industry. 

Bottom line:

At a time when greenhouse gas emissions are shifting the planet to extreme and unfavorable climate change and global warming precipice, the time for individuals, organizations, and governments to invest in the renewable energy sector is now!

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