Solar to create 94,000 new jobs in Europe by 2021

Fabricación de inversores en una fábrica de SMA/Inverter manufacturing at a SMA factory ©SMA

In 2016, the PV sector in the EU28 represented more than 81,000 full-time Equivalents (FTEs) and more than €4,600 m GVA (Gross Value Aded) created. Despite recent reductions in job and added value creation by the PV industry in Europe, this trend is set to be reversed, with increased job creation and GVA in the coming years. According to a new EY report solar jobs and wealth creation in Europe are set to increase to nearly 175,000 full time jobs and €9,500 m value added by 2021.

The EY report also shows that an increase in ambition for the European Union 2030 renewable energy target from 27% to 35% will result in more than 120,000 new solar jobs alone.

Additionally the removal of the anti-dumping measures that are currently in place would have a positive effect on employment throughout the value chain in Europe. In such a scenario, 45,500 additional (direct and indirect) jobs would be created in the EU28.

This surge is only possible if countries increase their solar deployment rate in line with policy requirements to 2020. With the right policies in place this growth could be even greater by 2030. Member States should have the necessary flexibility to boost renewable energy that is available on their territory. With this approach Member states could develop incentives to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and to create new jobs in the most efficient way.

Calculations show that Spain will have the highest number of new jobs, with an expected growth of 471% from 2016 to 2021, followed by Greece (+403%), and Poland (+381%).

Yearly installed capacities in the European countries have a significant impact on job and GVA creation, as there is a direct impact on manufacturing and services needed. In 2016, rooftop PV installations support almost 3 times as many jobs and GVA than ground-mounted installations. This can be explained by their installed capacities and labor needs for installation, maintenance and operations. Respectively 75 and 73% of the share of jobs and GVA in 2016 is linked to the downstream activities of the PV value chain. Downstream activities (PV application) of the PV value chain are more labor intensive than upstream activities (PV materials & Equipment).

Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe said: “The more solar installed the more jobs and economic growth we will see in Europe. We need to remove all barriers to solar starting with withdrawing the trade measures currently in place on solar panels and cells accompanied by a predictable regulatory environment for PV in Europe. EY found that the average PV system price in Europe has decreased by 23% in 2016, compared to 2014, but we know that the price could be even lower if we ended the artificially high tariffs on solar products, which would boost jobs and economic activity in the countries of the EU.

Source: SolarPower Europe