Renewable energy jobs reach 10.3 million worldwide

Published on: 23 May 2019


The renewable energy industry created more than 500,000 new jobs in 2017, with a record-breaking 10.3 million people now employed in the sector globally.

That is according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which reveals that a growing number of countries are reaping the socio-economic benefits of renewables.

However, China, Brazil, the US, India, Germany and Japan remain the world’s largest employers, with 60% of all renewable energy jobs worldwide located in Asia.

“Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs created in the sector,” IRENA director-general, Adnan Z. Amin, said.

“The data also underscores an increasingly regionalised picture, highlighting that in countries where attractive policies exist, the economic, social and environmental benefits of renewable energy are most evident.”

The solar PV industry remains the largest employer of all renewable energy technologies, accounting for close to 3.4 million jobs, up almost 9% from 2016 following a record 94GW of installations in 2017. 

Despite a slight dip in Japan and the US, the two countries followed China as the largest markets for solar PV employment in the world, with India and Bangladesh completing the top five.

Jobs in the wind industry contracted slightly last year to 1.15 million worldwide., but are spread out across the globe more evenly than in the solar PV sector. 

China accounts for 44% of global wind employment, followed by Europe and North America with 30% and 10%, respectively. 

Half of the top ten countries with the largest installed capacity of wind power in the world are European.

“The energy transformation is one of improving economic opportunity and a rise in social wellbeing,” IRENA deputy director of knowledge, policy and finance, Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi, said.

“By providing policy makers with this level of detail about the composition of renewable energy employment and skills requirements, countries can make informed decisions on several important national objectives.

“Such considerations will support a fair and equitable transition to a renewables-based energy system.”