Everyday Renewables

According to the President of SolarPower in Europe Christian Westermeier, by the year 2021, there is set to be a further 94,000 jobs created in the solar industry.

This comes as welcome news after a tough few years for the industry after the initial boom in solar grinded to a stop in 2011 and 2012.

These forecast figures originate from a report produced by EY and SolarPower Europe titled ‘Solar PV Jobs & Value Added in Europe.’ It highlights how if the correct policies are utilised when it comes to solar, there is set to be an exponential level of growth in wealth creation and jobs by the year 2021. The advantages of solar energy are clear and countries are now getting on board.

Since the slowdown occurred, there has been a litany of different retrospective policies introduced and a very slow transition phase when it came to the deployment of solar throughout the continent of Europe. Thankfully, the tides are changing and things are looking up for the sector.

It was in 2016 that the number of full-time jobs in Europe in this sector reached 81,000, with gross value added (GVA) coming in at 4,600M. The report forecasts that the jobs figure will bypass 174,000 by 2012 and there will be a GVA of 9,500M.

This would mean a significant rise of 145% in the amount of full-time employment and a 105% rise in GVA when compared to the 2016 figures.

What is the explanation for this forecasted growth?

The main driver of these forecasted jobs figures are down to the year on year increases when it comes to newly installed capacities.

European countries are set to increase the proportion of the energy mix that solar and renewables takes up. Higher targets mean a greater number of new jobs to fulfil these goals.

Countries such as Italy, France, Poland and Spain have already committed to ambitious renewable targets, which will most certainly increase the number of full-time jobs in the sector.

The report goes on to suggest a number of different ways in which these jobs figures and revenue targets can be even further enhanced.

For example, if the renewable energy share target in Europe was brought up from 27% to 35%, this would mean that there would be an increase in new jobs by 56%.

Youth unemployment is a massive concern for many European countries today and there is great potential for the solar sector to be the saving grace and getting these young people into well-paid full-time positions.

Across all of the major energy sectors, solar has the highest proportion of young workers, which showcases how good of an opportunity it is for these nations to invest in their youth.

Other steps that can be taken to increase the targets are to get rid of trade measures for cells and modules coming from Asia. This would see as many as 45,500 new jobs created in a single year as there has been a lot of price pressure placed on companies involved in the manufacturing process due to these duties.

This is certainly an exciting time for Europe and the solar sector at large as it looks set to achieve great results in terms of new jobs, increases in value-added and environmental sustainability over the coming years.

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