SolarPower Europe, the Brussels-based European association for solar, has released the “EU Solar Jobs Report 2023.” The organisation predicted that the number of Europeans employed in the continent's solar industry will grow to 1 million full-time workers by 2025.
The report stated there were 648,000 workers employed in the solar industry at the end of 2022, which was a 39% increase from the year prior. Poland recorded the largest proportion of full-time workers, at almost 150,000 people by the end of last year, followed by Spain and Germany.
Installation continues to dominate the workforce, accounting for 84% of employees, according to the report.
“Approximately 8% of the total jobs were associated with operation and maintenance, while manufacturing accounted for 7%, and decommissioning and recycling made a minor share of 1%,” said SolarPower Europe.
Demand for installation jobs drives the need for a larger workforce. However, once installed, solar panels require minimal physical maintenance and fewer workers. Inverter manufacturing, on the other hand, employs the most workers in Europe, thanks to the widespread presence of inverter companies, including many global market players.
The report said 2022 was a “pivotal” year, as operation and maintenance jobs surpassed manufacturing jobs. It said that this reflected the “discrepancies between the installation rates of PV, and the slow expansion of a local supply chain.”
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Supporting these employees may come with growing pains. The report suggested several policy recommendations to nurture the workforce. Recommendations include launching communication and education campaigns about “green-collar” jobs, providing specialized training for relevant professionals, facilitating the freedom of movement of workers within the European Union while ensuring cross-border recognition of skills, and integrating the needs of the solar sector's workforce into existing immigration policies.
Using data and modeling collected as part of the organization’s SolarPower Europe's Global Market Outlook 2023-2027, released in June, the organization predicts that the sector will swell to 1.2 million employees by 2027.
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