Around 6.5 million people were employed in the renewable energy industry worldwide last year, a new study reveals.
The figure is a rise from the previous year when the sector provided around 5.7 million jobs, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said.
The Abu-Dhabi based agency, which represents more than 150 countries, suggests renewable energy employment was shaped by “regional shifts, industry realignments, growing competition and advances in technologies and manufacturing processes” last year.
It confirms China as the largest renewable energy market globally, with most of the job creation coming from the nation’s booming solar and wind sectors. It estimated a five-fold increase of solar installations in the East Asian nation from 2011 to 2013.
Other larger employers following China by country are Brazil, the US, India, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh and the largest employers by sector are solar, biofuels, wind, modern biomass and biogas.
The offshore wind industry however is still concentrated in Europe, particularly the UK and Germany, according to the report.
Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA’s Director-General said: “The [renewable] sector is proving that it is no longer a niche, it has become a significant employer worldwide. The insights into shifts along segments of the value-chain revealed in the report are crucial to developing policy that strengthens job growth in this important sector of the economy.”