Eight million people employed by renewables sector in 2015

A total of 8.1 million people worldwide worked in the renewables sector in 2015. That’s a 5% increase compared to 2014, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

A total of 8.1 million people worldwide worked in the renewables sector in 2015.

That’s a 5% increase compared to 2014, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The solar industry was the largest green energy employer with 2.8 million jobs globally. Employment in the sector topped in China with 1.7 million jobs followed by Japan and the US.

However, jobs in solar water heating and cooling declined to 940,000 as markets in China, Brazil and the European Union contracted, IRENA added.

Biofuels accounted for 1.7 million jobs while biomass and biogas offered 822,000 and 382,000 jobs respectively.

The wind sector witnessed a record year with 1.1 million jobs, IRENA stated.

That’s due to strong installation rates in China, the US and Germany. The East Asian country led the turbines sector as well accounting for almost half of the jobs.

Direct jobs in large hydropower fell to 1.3 million due to a drop in new installations. Most of the jobs were in operation and maintenance and China, Brazil and India were key employers.

IRENA added: “While the growth in jobs slowed down compared to previous years, the total number of jobs in renewables worldwide continued to rise, in stark contrast with depressed labour markets in the broader energy sector.”