Achieving Sustainable Energy & Economy Growth
CleanMax April 30, 2020 | Thursday
An independent non-profit solar research and education organisation, The Solar Foundation (TSF) has released a report on job opportunities created by the solar industry in the US. As per the report, solar employment has been growing nearly 20 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.1 percent.
The report further adds that the solar plant installation sector is already larger than well-established sectors of fossil fuel generation, such as coal mining. As of 2019, the solar industry employs almost twice as many workers as the coal industry, and ranks third in total employment among energy industries, behind only petroleum and natural gas in US (TSF). These numbers suggest that apart from providing clean energy, solar is also acting in a big way to drive economic progress in countries such as US.
The Indian scenario
So, where does India stand today in the solar context? Solar installations have rapidly picked up pace in India in the last 10 years. The government is coming out all guns blazing, to ensure solar energy expansion. This is bound to create space for solar to contribute to India’s economic growth as well.
With respect to the current population growth rate, our country would need to create 10 million new jobs annually. Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently carried out an analysis, which suggested that more than 1 million full-time equivalent jobs would be created by the solar deployment industry alone, between now and 2022. These would include over 210,000 skilled plant design and site engineering jobs, 18,000 highly skilled jobs in business development and over 80,000 annual jobs for performance data monitoring.
Clean environment is not the sole benefit
Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanised and capital intensive, the renewable energy solutions industry is more labour-intensive. This means, on an average, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels.
In addition to the jobs directly created in the renewable energy industry, growth in this industry creates positive economic “ripple” effects. For example, industries in the renewable energy supply chain would benefit, and unrelated local businesses would benefit from increased household and business incomes. Construction, installation and operational-related activities support thousands of jobs, directly or indirectly. Moreover, the industry’s high percentage of domestically-sourced components results in employment growth all along the supply chain.
Hence, we must stop looking at solar energy from a single prism, as simply a renewable energy source. If harnessed effectively and efficiently, solar has the potential to not only change the fate of global warming but also to provide sustainable economic growth!
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