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Renewables industry creates 800,000 new jobs

IRENA says 6.5 million people employed in sector worldwide in 2013.

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Renewables could be an engine of job creation, according to IRENA.
Renewables could be an engine of job creation, according to IRENA.

The number of jobs created in the renewable energy industry soared last year partly driven by the development of solar power in the Far East.

There were 6.5 million people employed in the sector worldwide in 2013, a 14% rise from 5.7 million a year earlier, according to a new report by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The largest employers by country are China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh, while the largest employers by sector are solar photovoltaic, biofuels, wind, modern biomass and biogas, the report says.

China is leading the way in the solar energy industry with a fivefold increase of photovoltaic installations between 2011 and 2013.

“Surging demand for solar PV in China and Japan has increased employment in the installation sector and eased some PV module over-supply concerns,” said Rabia Ferroukhi, heading the Knowledge, Policy and Finance division at IRENA and lead author of the report.

“Consequently some Chinese manufacturers are now adding capacity.”

China is also at the forefront of growth in the wind power sector along with Canada though the outlook in the United States is mixed due to political uncertainty, the report says.

The biofuels value chain provides the second largest number of renewable energy jobs after solar PV with the United States still the largest producer and Brazil the largest employer.

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