As leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26 to tackle the climate crisis, SolarPower Europe has published its ‘EU Solar Jobs Report 2021’. Based on the existing European Commission 40% renewables target by 2030, we can already expect solar jobs to double to 742,000 by the end of the decade.
However, in order to put the continent on the most cost-efficient track to meet Paris Agreement commitments and achieve 2050 carbon neutrality, today’s report calls on the European Commission to adopt a target of 45% renewables by 2030. Following this necessary climate ambition, this latest research forecasts that the number of today’s EU solar jobs will triple to 1.1 million within the decade.
While reviewing the current conditions of the EU solar job market, the study estimates that that the solar sector created around 357,000 jobs in 2020, a massive increase from our 81,000 estimate for 2016. In the medium term the study predicts the creation of 584,000 EU solar jobs by 2025 – a 64% increase in five years.
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe said: “The huge projections for the growth of solar jobs is unsurprising. No other power technology is as job intensive as solar, which creates 2 to 6 times more jobs than any of its peers during the construction phase.”
Hemetsberger continued: “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. We now need EU Member States to facilitate the urgent training and development of a skilled workforce to fill these crucial jobs”
Michael Schmela, Head of Market Intelligence said: “EU solar jobs will not only be the key to Paris climate goals, the overall ambition seeks to improve European energy security. Although Europe has an exceptionally strong solar R&D landscape and leading manufacturers, not every product needed for a solar power system can currently be made in Europe anymore. The European Union needs to support investment in manufacturing jobs for solar technology, which already adds more power generation capacities than any other, and will shoulder the major responsibility of keeping European lights on in the long term.”
Raffaele Rossi, Senior Policy and Market Analyst said: “Residential, commercial, and industrial rooftop solar energy systems create more jobs than utility-scale systems. At the same time, European rooftops could meet up to 25% of the continent’s energy needs. Therefore we must rapidly develop strategies to deploy rooftop PV and unlock this massive employment and energy potential.”
The SolarPower Europe ‘EU Solar Jobs 2021’ report, published with the support of the Vlerick Business School, is the third of its kind, following the first edition in 2016. Going forward, the report will be published annually. The increased regularity of the publication reflects the rapid development of the EU solar sector, and the need for expert research around this crucial energy technology.