The figure comes from the Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2015 from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

“Renewable energy continues to assert itself as a major global employer, generating strong economic and social benefits worldwide,” said IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin.

“This increase is being driven, in part, by declining renewable energy technology costs, which creates more jobs in installation, operations and maintenance. We expect this upward trend to continue as the business case for renewable energy continues to strengthen.”


Solar PV is the largest renewable energy employer with 2.5 million jobs worldwide, up from 2.3 million at last count.

Liquid biofuels is the second largest sector with around 1.8 million jobs, while wind is third largest at just over a million jobs.

Asia is home to five of the 10 countries with the most renewable energy jobs, with China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Bangladesh all enjoying healthy employment markets.

As a result, despite continued growth, the EU and the US now represent just 25% of global renewable energy jobs, compared to 31% in 2012. 

Domestic success

In the UK, employment in the industry grew by 9% across all sectors last year, according to the REA – around seven times faster than employment in the rest of the economy. The total number working in the renewables industry has risen to more than 112,000.

IRENA expects the jobs boom to continue around the world, projecting the renewables workorce to more than double in the next 15 years.

“If we continue to invest in renewable energy and its multiple economic, environmental and social benefits, employment in renewables will continue to climb,” said Mr. Amin.

“IRENA’s research estimates that doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030, would result in more than 16 million jobs worldwide.”


Brad Allen

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