Green Energy Jobs In India Bounce Back To Record Level
Green energy jobs in India have now surpassed the pre-pandemic high of 8.33 lakh in 2019.
India's renewable energy industry is now employing more people than ever, marking a recovery from the dip in jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2021, the number of people employed directly or indirectly in green energy rose to an estimated 8.63 lakh, according to a joint report by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Labour Organization. That's an 18% rise over 2020 when sales plummeted and employment fell.
Green energy jobs in India have now surpassed the pre-pandemic high of 8.33 lakh in 2019, the report said.
Growth has been heavily driven by increased adoption of solar power. A quarter of the green jobs in India are in the solar industry. It had 1.37 lakh jobs in grid-connected solar—up 47% over 2020. Another 80,000 people work in off-grid solar, the report said.
That's despite the country still being a net importer of solar components. Only a small share of India's solar manufacturing capacity is operational right now as imports from China are cheaper. In 2021, India used only 57% of its cell manufacturing capacity and 38% of its module manufacturing capacity.
The Indian government is trying to change that by introducing customs duties on imports and offering incentives for domestic manufacturing. It expects that the incentive scheme will create 30,000 direct and 1.2 lakh indirect jobs in solar.
Solar jobs in India have continued to grow with extensive efforts being carried out to upskill and train the workforce. The report said over 1 lakh people have been trained between 2015 and 2021, of which 78,000 have been certified under the national Suryamitra training programme. India's Skill Council for Green Jobs has played a key role developing occupation standards for green jobs. That has also led to additional programmes in wind energy and solar pumps too, it said.
The wind energy sector, where annual installations continued at a slow pace, employed 35,400 people in 2021—a small improvement over the previous year. Hydropower, including even the large projects, continued to be the biggest employer with 4.14 lakh jobs. That has always been historically higher than the rest as hydro projects have been around for longer.
The report said if India can reach its goal of installing 500 gigawatt of non-fossil fuel energy by 2030, it could lead to over 34 lakh new opportunities, including over 10 lakh direct full-time jobs.
Globally, renewable energy jobs rose to 1.27 crore in 2021.
China continued to be the biggest market accounting for almost half of the total green jobs in the world. Its dominance in the global solar supply chain and record capacity additions in its own countries help explain why it creates so many jobs in the space.