SolarPower Europe: Removing trade barriers could create 50,000 solar jobs

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A new study, Solar Photovoltaics Jobs & Value Added in Europe, completed by EY on behalf of European solar trade association, SolarPower Europe, has concluded that scrapping the minimum import price (MIP) on imports of PV products into Europe from China has the potential to create an additional 50,000 jobs.

"Importantly," says SolarPower Europe, "the EY model suggests that these would be along the value chain, including in inverters, balance of systems, modules, etc."

According to the model, which analyzed the market scenarios related to the removal of the MIP on jobs in Italy and Germany, an extra 22,000 jobs could be created in these two markets alone. "Extrapolation to EU 28 shows the potential of over 54.000 (direct and indirect) extra jobs created," state the report’s authors. A decision on whether or not the MIP will continue or expire is expected in the next few days.

Overall, the number of jobs in the European solar industry have fallen between the boom year of 2008, and 2011, from 178,879 full time employees (FTEs) to 110,000 (see table for a breakdown by country). Gross value added (GVA) was also negatively affected, decreasing from €10,044 million to €5,600 million.

Total jobs per year (FTE)

EU 28

Belgium

UK

Greece

Spain

France

Italy

Germany

Rest of EU

2008

178,879

2,818

224

579

4,654

3,701

18,052

148,385

465

2014

109,650

1,456

35,049

891

1,177

13,338

14,304

29,131

14,304

2020

136,096

2,536

18,999

5,039

6,699

15,393

26,903

29,599

30,927

Despite this, "moderate" growth between 2015 and 2020 is forecast, with 136,000 FTEs expected and a GVA of € 6,670 million. Most jobs are currently in the downstream sector. This trend has been seen since 2008, and is expected to continue to 2020.

"This study shows that there is much work for our policymakers to do in Europe to realise the potential of solar, we have seen in COP21 countries such as India and France offering a global leadership role on solar and private investment organisations coming together to launch a trillion dollar Terrawatt Initiative for solar," stated SolarPower Europe CE, James Watson.

"For Europe to reach the European Commission’s ambition to be the number one in renewables we need to accelerate the deployment of solar considerably in the coming years. This will boost employment and wealth generation far beyond the forecasts in this study,"he added.