Living on sustainable energy is becoming the new normal. It's creating new jobs, transforming industries, and enabling technological developments. Thanks to its impressive evolution and impact on global energy efficiency, the renewable energy industry is a major employer.
Renewable energy employment statistics reveal that clean jobs offer a promising future. Millions already work in this sector, and despite the economic contraction caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses around the globe realize that sustainable innovations are key to long-term success. This article delves deeper into renewable energy employment stats and the current state of the industry.
Compelling Stats about the Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy (Editor's Choice)
- There are approximately 11.5 million jobs in the renewable energy sector worldwide.
- More than half of the world’s renewable energy jobs are in Asia.
- The employment of solar photovoltaic installers is projected to grow 51% in the coming years.
- Getting a renewable energy job can result in an 8% to 19% pay increase.
- When it comes to the fossil fuel vs. renewable energy jobs showdown, the latter is booming with a projected 859% increase in energy storage jobs.
- Around 3.8 million renewable energy jobs are in the solar photovoltaics sector.
- The employment rate among wind turbine service technicians is set to grow 61%.
- Most of the world’s renewable energy jobs are in China, Brazil, the US, and India.
Renewable Energy Job Growth Statistics
The expansion of renewable energy has offered stable and high-wage employment for millions of workers across the globe, including in fossil fuel-heavy countries. Much of this is explained through simple economics - renewable energy is more affordable than maintaining plants for some of the traditional fossil fuel alternatives.
These economic opportunities are paving the way for various career paths that play an important role in meeting global demand for clean energy. To learn more about the state of the industry, check out the list of stats below.
1. Renewable energy employment statistics show that there are approximately 11.5 jobs worldwide in the sector.
The expansion of the renewable energy sector opened the doors to employment for many job seekers in different parts of the world. Currently employing more than 11 million people, the industry experienced an impressive spike in the availability of jobs throughout the last decade. In 2012, there were 7.3 million renewable energy jobs.
2. The number of energy storage jobs increased by 235% in a single year.
The renewable energy industry is composed of various sectors, including energy storage.
According to US renewable energy statistics, energy storage jobs are among the most common professions in this field, experiencing a 235% influx of employees between 2015 and 2016.
3. Energy storage jobs are forecast to see a further spike of 859% by 2022.
In addition to its already impressive growth rate, the future looks equally bright for the energy storage sector. After creating more than 90,000 jobs between 2015 and 2016, the sector is expected to surge by a massive 859% by 2022.
4. The solar photovoltaic sector will account for some 22.2 million jobs by 2050.
One of the most popular technologies in the renewable energy industry is solar photovoltaics. This is the process of converting light into electricity, referred to as the photovoltaic effect. According to solar industry job growth forecasts, solar photovoltaics will be responsible for much of the direct employment in the energy sector in the coming decades.
5. Wind energy will create an estimated 1.4 million jobs in 2050.
Solar power has traditionally been the leading source of new jobs in energy. Wind power, on the other hand, played a significantly smaller role on the electric grid. But the latter is still responsible for many clean jobs. By 2050, wind is expected to blow in more than a million new jobs. These wind energy job growth rates are partly driven by the size of wind equipment, which gets bigger every year.
6. Direct jobs in the wind energy sector increased by 3.5%
Analyzing employment percentages related to the renewable energy industry involves reviewing both direct and indirect jobs. Direct employment refers mostly to permanent full-time jobs. Research shows that the direct hiring rate for wind energy jobs increased by 3.5% between 2017 and 2018.
7. Solar photovoltaic installment is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sectors. Sources within the US government expect further growth.
Along with the entire renewable energy industry, the solar PV sector enjoyed substantial growth in recent years. And according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar PV installers can look forward to more employment opportunities in the future. By 2029, employment in this sector is projected to grow by 51%.
8. According to renewable energy employment statistics in China, the country is the global leader in the number of jobs that it provides in this sector.
The total number of jobs related to the renewable energy industry in China stands at around 4 million. That figure refers to both direct and indirect employment across multiple sectors related to environmental protection, including everything from waste management to forestry. Green jobs in China account for an estimated 44% of the total global employment in wind energy and 15% of global hydropower jobs. These renewable energy employment statistics also serve as an indicator of Beijing’s ambitions to dominate several highly profitable and strategic industries such as next-generation telecommunications and artificial intelligence.
9. Brazil, the US, and India are home to a sizable portion of global renewable energy jobs.
(Environmental Entrepreneurs) (IRENA)
Aside from China, a few other major players on the world stage have a significant impact on renewable energy employment rates. Although the US energy sector experienced a minor contraction for the first time in years during 2020, it continues to employ an estimated three million people. Moreover, clean renewable energy employment statistics point to unparalleled growth in the coming months and years.
Meanwhile, the Latin American giant Brazil provides just over 1.1 million renewable energy jobs, and although South Asia has the world’s most polluted air, India is also home to more than 700,000 renewable energy workers.
10. The right stimulus program could create another 5.5 million renewable energy jobs.
The COVD-19 pandemic devastated the global economy and left millions without work. As part of the recovery process, the International Renewable Energy Agency is recommending a departure from the business as usual approach. Its Post-COVID Recovery Agenda recommends an ambitious stimulus plan that could create more than five million new jobs in the renewable energy sector. When it comes to the renewable energy jobs vs. coal jobs showdown, the agency argues that low renewable costs make the latter obsolete.
Global Renewable Energy Sector Employment Statistics
We’ve already covered the list of countries that are leading the charge in renewable energy employment. However, this industry is still composed of relatively new technologies, and in many countries, job seekers are still more likely to look for employment in the fossil fuel sector. That said, the rise of green jobs is undeniable, and this trend is expected to maintain its upward trajectory.
11. Wind energy is the biggest employer in the UK’s renewable energy sector.
Renewable energy employment statistics in the UK reveal that the country has more than 144,00 jobs in this sector. Of those, at least 44,000 are in wind energy. A third of that workforce is based in London. Other employment clusters in northern England and Scotland.
12. The US has invested around $59 billion in renewable energy in a single year.
Just like much of the world, the US has invested a significant amount of money in renewable energy in recent years. Data related to renewable energy employment statistics in the US shows that the number grew from just over $11 billion in 2005 to 59 billion in 2019.
13. A third of all renewable energy jobs are in the solar PV sector.
We’ve already touched on the impressive forecasts concerning employment in the PV sector. This is one of the top choices when it comes to renewable energy careers. Currently, an estimated 3.8 million jobs worldwide belong to the solar PV category. This is yet another area where the comparison between renewable energy vs. fossil fuels statistics tells us that the former is putting more people to work at comparable wages.
14. The global renewable energy market is expected to be worth $1.1 trillion in the coming years.
Harnessing the power of renewable energy is undoubtedly beneficial in the long run. Many corporations agree with these upbeat projections and are continuing to invest in clean jobs. By 2027, the renewable energy market is forecast to reach $1.1 trillion.
15. The median annual wage for solar PV installers is $46,470, according to renewable energy technicians salary data compiled by the US government.
PV installers set up and maintain systems that convert sunlight into energy. This line of work generally doesn't require anything more than a high school degree, but most workers take additional courses at a community college or a technical school. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the maiden pay for a PV installer is $22.34 per hour.
16. Of course, like in most other industries, it’s the management positions that offer the highest paychecks in the renewable energy sector.
Salaries in the renewable energy sector depend on multiple factors, including one’s job title, location, and level of experience. In the US, the national average renewable energy manager salary is just over $86,000 per year. Managers can earn even more in cities with the highest number of clean jobs, including Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
17. 69% of congressional districts in the US have wind power facilities.
(Into the Wind)
Several forms of renewable energy, such as wind, are commonplace across the US. According to recent reports, around 69% of congressional districts established infrastructure for generating wind energy. This includes 78% of Republican-held districts and 62% of Democrat-held districts.
18. Indiana renewable energy jobs versus other employment statistics show that clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel ones.
(Clean Jobs Midwest)
The number of jobs in industries like oil, natural gas, and coal amounts to just one-fifth of the total number of people working in Indiana’s clean energy sector. Moreover, while the number of coal jobs is dropping, the number of renewable energy jobs is only rising. These clean jobs extend across a broad range of industries such as agriculture, trade, construction, utility, manufacturing, and professional services.
19. An average renewable energy engineer salary is more than $81,000 per year.
(Zippia) (Brookings Institution)
The top 10% in this sector have above-average paychecks ($113,000 per year). That’s understandable given the fact that clean energy workers earn higher wages when compared to other workers nationally. Being employed in the renewable energy industry can land you an 8% to 19% increase in income.
Renewable Energy Job Creation Statistics
As mentioned earlier, this industry is developing at a rapid pace. A growing number of leading companies in the US and across the world are shifting their focus to renewable energy. The following stats will give you a better sense of how many employment opportunities have already been created through this sector.
20. According to energy sector employment statistics, over 55,000 jobs have been created as part of an effort to set up a modern power grid.
Developing an advanced grid is part of the long-term strategy to ensure a constant supply and demand for renewable energy. In other words, these badly needed upgrades ensure greater accessibility. That's why it's considered a crucial career field in the renewable energy industry.
The objective is to ensure the distribution of renewable power to every household. Clean energy jobs statistics that the sector is expanding and accounts for more than 55,000 jobs in the US.
21. China is expected to start generating more than 9 million jobs per year in the green energy operations and maintenance sector by 2050.
Although the renewable energy industry is expanding in many different corners of the globe, China is on course to retain its status as the number one employer in the renewable energy sector. That sector will start employing 9.85 million people per year in less than 30 years, according to the latest renewable energy employment statistics.
22. By 2026, the number of wind turbine service technicians is projected to grow to 11,300.
Aside from solar PV installers, turbine service technicians are experiencing the fastest employment growth among environmentally focused occupations. There were only 5,800 of them in 2016, with the number expected to grow to 11,300 in less than a decade. The average wind energy jobs salary is $56,230 per year.
23. Employment of wind turbine service technicians in the US is projected to grow by 68% by 2030.
That translates into 4,700 additional jobs or 1,400 new job openings each year, which is a faster growth rate than the average of other occupations in the US. Requiring nothing more than a typical entry-level education, the job currently nets a median pay of $27.03 per hour. With renewable energy job creation statistics looking especially promising in this category, the pay will likely increase as well.
24. The American hydropower industry employs more than 300,000 people.
(National Hydropower Association)
Studies show that this sector will likely be able to accommodate 1.4 million workers by 2025 when relevant policies are implemented. Whatever happens, the sector’s expansion has been pretty impressive. In 2018, there were only 66,448 Americans working in this field, according to renewable energy employment statistics in the US.
25. 26% of the hydropower jobs are categorized as manufacturing and utilities.
Hydropower jobs extend across various industries, including manufacturing, utilities, business services, and construction. US renewable energy statistics from 2018 show that most of those jobs belonged to manufacturing and utilities (26% each). Meanwhile, 18% were in business services and 16% in construction.
26. Energy efficiency jobs account for the biggest chunk of the clean energy workforce in the US.
Energy efficiency encompasses a lot of work across different industries. For the most part, this field is all about the construction and installation of efficient systems. So how many jobs are available in energy efficiency? This expanding sector employs an estimated 2.2 million people in the US.
27. An estimated 174,000 individuals develop and create renewable energy vehicles.
Clean energy plays an important role in developing modern forms of transportation. Examples include hybrid and electric vehicles. According to a recent study focused on the comparison between fossil fuel vs. renewable energy jobs, around 174,000 workers are currently employed in developing renewable energy transportation. This sector comprises specialized engineers and assembly line workers.
28. At least 63% of renewable energy careers on the planet are in Asia.
Sometimes, finding the right job is all about being in the right place at the right time. Many states in the US are currently involved in renewable energy. However, the leading region in this industry is Asia. According to statistical research about renewable energy job growth, Asia is home to at least 63% of renewable energy jobs on the planet.
29. An estimated 32% of total renewable jobs are held by women.
The renewable energy industry has gone to considerable lengths to bridge the gender gap that exists in so many modern-day industries. With 32% of all jobs held by women, the gender gap is far less apparent than in other industries such as fossil fuels, where women hold only 21% of the jobs.
What Can These Renewable Energy Employment Statistics Do for You?
Renewable energy is growing in popularity, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. As leading global corporations and governments embrace renewable energy, employees, and job applicants will have to adapt. These changes are most obvious in the US, where many coal companies and workers have shifted to a more sustainable approach.
Renewable energy employment statistics worldwide tell a story of a sector that provides more than 11.5 million jobs, and the future looks very lucrative. The jobs can be divided into various areas of expertise that extend across many industries. The most prominent examples include solar photovoltaic installment and energy storage. Based on the latest data, renewable energy jobs are here to stay, with many exciting opportunities expected in the near future.