Global renewable energy employment reached 10.3 million jobs in 2017, an increase of 5.3% compared with the number reported in the previous year.
An increasing number of countries derive socio-economic benefits from renewable energy, but employment remains highly concentrated in a handful of countries, with China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan in the lead.
China alone accounts for 43% of all renewable energy jobs. Its share is particularly high in solar heating and cooling (83%) and in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector (66%), and less so in wind power (44%).
The PV industry was the largest employer (almost 3.4 million jobs, up 9% from 2016). Expansion took place in China and India, while the United States, Japan and the European Union lost jobs.
Biofuels employment (at close to 2 million jobs) expanded by 12%, as production of ethanol and biodiesel expanded in most of the major producers. Brazil, the United States, the European Union and Southeast Asian countries were among the largest employers.
Employment in wind power (1.1 million jobs) and in solar heating and cooling (807 000 jobs) declined as the pace of new capacity additions slowed.
Large hydropower employed 1.5 million people directly, of whom 63% worked in operation and maintenance. Key job markets were China, India and Brazil, followed by the Russian Federation, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran and Viet Nam.
Employment remains limited in Africa, but the potential for off-grid jobs is high, particularly as energy access improves and domestic supply chain capacities are developed.