- SolarPower Europe’s solar jobs report counts 39% annual growth in the EU in 2022 to a total of 648,000 FTEs
- Poland led the jobs in the bloc with its residential market growing strong, followed by Germany and Spain
- Installation jobs lead the job segments with an 84% market share, while manufacturing jobs made up only 7%
- With solar PV installed capacity and manufacturing ambitions of the EU, SPE now expects the growth in solar jobs to reach 1.2 million by 2025
Going by the solar workforce boom in the European Union (EU), SolarPower Europe (SPE) has revised its previous forecast of 1 million solar jobs in the bloc by 5 years. In the 3rd annual edition of its EU Solar Jobs Report 2023, it now expects the forecast to be exceeded by 2025, vs. the previously expected date of 2030.
The confidence is based on the 39% annual growth in numbers over the last year when EU’s solar workforce grew from 466,000 in 2021 to 648,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions by 2022-end.
The growth is more than what SPE predicted when it forecast 30% solar jobs growth to 606,000 by the end of 2022 with 40 GW installations under high scenario in the previous edition of the report.
The bloc eventually deployed 40.2 GW of new PV capacity last year, driven by high electricity prices and the growing adoption of this clean energy generation technology by households, businesses and policymakers.
“From 2021 to 2022, the EU’s solar workforce grew by almost 200,000 people, reflecting the solar market’s own growth. Hitting 648,000 workers in 2022, the sector is set to reach 800,000 workers in 2023, and 1.2 million by 2027 in SolarPower Europe’s most-likely scenario for EU solar market growth,” shared SPE CEO Walburga Hemetsberger.
Poland, with almost 150,000 jobs thanks to its residential segment, led the solar jobs market with a 23% share and an annual installed capacity of 4.5 GW in 2022, followed by Spain and Germany employing over 100,000 and more than 95,000 employees, respectively.
It is the installation segment where most jobs continue to be concentrated with 84% of all solar jobs, mostly in the rooftop segment. Operation and maintenance make up 8%, and high-value manufacturing jobs account for 7% of the total solar jobs in the market.
Among the 48,200 manufacturing jobs, inverter production accounts for 35,299 direct and indirect FTEs, representing 73% of the total jobs in this segment. Module manufacturing makes up 15%, and polysilicon 10%. With hardly any ingot or wafer manufacturing in the bloc currently, this category totaled less than 750 jobs.
However, things are set to change as Europe expands its manufacturing capacity following the creation of the European Industrial Solar Alliance (ESIA). Analysts expect the region to exceed the symbolic 100,000 mark for solar manufacturing jobs by 2026 beginning.
Project lead and one of the co-authors of the report Michael Schmela said the analysis of the jobs data helps understand where the gaps lie, to ensure European solar workers have the right skills to help EU deliver energy transition. The bloc needs to step up efforts to groom skilled employees as it must urgently ramp up installation capacity, while maintaining high quality and safety standards.
As the continent continues to look for qualified installers, the report makers highlight some policy recommendations that touch upon:
- Assessing the lack of workers
- Communicating on green skills needs
- Equip workers with solar knowledge
- Develop public and private retraining programs, skill-proof energy policies
- Facilitate intra-EU movement of workers, and
- Integrate the solar industry needs into immigration policies.
This year, the solar association expects the EU to install 53.8 GW new solar capacity and reach 97.8 GW by 2027 under the medium scenario.
According to Schmela, “Our projections for solar jobs envisaged annual growth of 24%, resulting in 805,000 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) within the Medium Scenario’s projection of 53.8 GW capacity additions. Yet, should our more ambitious 65.6 GW High Scenario materialize, a remarkable 64% year-on-year market growth in 2023 would result in a 52% growth in solar jobs, reaching 983,000.”
The complete EU Solar Jobs Report 2023 is available for free download on SPE’s website.
Source from Taiyang News
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