Growth in the U.K.s renewable energy job sector surged seven times faster than the national average last year, with solar PV supporting more than 16,000 jobs in 2014.
Data from the U.K.s office for national statistics (ONS) reveals that employment across the renewable energy sector grew by 9% between 2013 and 2014, rising to 112,026 positions throughout the industry. The U.K.s national average employment growth was just 1.2% in comparison over that time.
By industry, both the offshore and onshore wind industries employ the most people, supporting 19,478 and 18,191 jobs respectively, followed by solar PV on 16,103; a growth of 3.1%. The fastest-growing sector in terms of employment in 2014 was in the biomass boilers industry, which grew by 19.3% last year.
According to the Renewable Energy Association (REA), this encouraging job growth now outstrips growth in market values in many sectors, but warned that with a general election looming, the renewable energy industry cannot afford to become complacent.
"We are delighted to see such significant jobs growth across all technologies and industries in the renewable energy sector," said REA chief executive Nina Skorupska. "This reflects greater confidence not only in the renewable market but also the wider economy as a whole.
"Our industry offers a wealth of unique and exciting career opportunities and plays an essential part in ensuring that the U.K. meets its renewable energy targets."
Skorupska added that the renewable energy industry must do its utmost to work with the incoming government to ensure that more is done to support the industry and create more skilled jobs across various clean energy sectors.
Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have made pledges in their election manifestos to grow the number of green jobs in the U.K. The Conservative party headed by current Prime Minister David Cameron have made no such pledges.