According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Annual Review 2016 of Renewable Energy and Jobs, it has been estimated that last year the number of people employed worldwide directly or indirectly in renewable energy rose by 5% to 8.1 million.
A large number of these people were employed in businesses connected with solar power. In fact, 2,772,000 people were employed in solar photovoltaic with this being 11% more than in 2014. A further 939,000 were employed in solar heating/cooling.
It probably does not come as a surprise to read that the country that was the biggest employer of people connected with solar photovoltaic was China. They employ 1,652,000 million people. Japan employs 377,000 people. The USA employs 194,000 people, Bangladesh employs 127,000 people. India employs 103,000 people. Brazil employs 4,000 people. Germany employs 38,000 people – the most of the countries in the European Union. France employs 21,000 people. The rest of the EU employs 84,000 of which the United Kingdom employed 35,000 people in 2014. The EU witnessed a further drop in employment in this sector.
Of course, here in the UK, we have seen a number of businesses cease to trade that were involved in the solar industry and it is being forecast that further job cuts are likely. The reduction seen in some feed-in-tariffs has probably not helped the situation in this respect as there are fewer people having solar panels installed on their rooftops here in the UK.
It is to be hoped that something can be done to alleviate this situation as it is important that both the UK and countries around the world achieve their renewable energy and carbon emission targets by 2020. Periodically, we hear of innovative alternative uses of solar panels to help generate energy but in order for the aforementioned targets to be achieved it will no doubt continue to require both as many homeowners and businesses as possible to install either roof or ground mounted solar photovoltaic panel systems.