Solar jobs in Europe could exceed 1.1m if EC raises renewables target to 45%

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Around 80% of all solar jobs in Europe are current in solar deployment activities. Image: Lightsource BP.

Solar jobs in Europe will double to 742,000 by 2030 when based on the current European Commission (EC) target of 40% renewables. But if this target is raised to 45% by 2030, and solar jobs on the continent would triple to 1.1 million.

That’s according to the latest EU Solar Jobs Report 2021, published by SolarPower Europe.

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The report said that job growth could rise 30% year-on-year under the EC’s medium scenario to 463,000 by the end of 2021, with the number hitting 584,000 by 2025, and eventually 742,000 by 2030.

However, it has also assessed the potential for job growth under a more ambitious EC target of 45% renewables by 2030, which is being pushed for by SolarPower Europe. This would triple today’s solar jobs to 1.1 million by 2030.

As such, the report recommends raising EU targets, along with creating a clearer industrial strategy, addressing job bottlenecks and promoting diversity among the workforce.  

It estimated that the solar industry generated round 357,000 jobs in 2020, with 42% (150,000) directly employed by the sector, with the remaining 58% (207,000) indirect jobs. The vast majority of all jobs (80%) are in solar deployment activities, with O&M accounting for 10%, manufacturing 6%, and decommissioning/recycling making up 4%.

“As the most flexible and low-cost energy source, the European solar sector must expand rapidly to meet the continent’s climate goals, and so it follows that the solar workforce must expand rapidly too,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe. 

“We now need EU Member States to facilitate the urgent training and development of a skilled workforce to fill these crucial jobs.” 

In August a report by LUT University in Finland that suggested jobs across the global solar PV sector could increase almost 10-fold by 2050 if 2050 net zero targets are realised.

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