Eight-fold rise seen in jobs in solar and wind energy sectors, says report

The study was jointly conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, Natural Resources Defence Council India and Skill Council for Green Jobs

February 11, 2023 01:25 am | Updated 01:25 am IST - New Delhi

File image.

File image. | Photo Credit: M. Periasamy

India’s solar and wind energy sectors added 52,700 new workers in project development roles in the last financial year, an eight-fold increase from financial year 2021, according to a joint report by three think tanks on February 10.

Nearly 99% all of the new workforce (52,100 workers) were employed in the solar energy sector, with the wind energy sector registering very small growth (600 new workers). India’s solar and wind energy sectors employed 1,64,000 workers as of FY’22, showing a 47% increase from FY’21. 84% of this workforce is in the solar energy sector.

The study was jointly conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), NRDC India (Natural Resources Defence Council India), and Skill Council for Green Jobs (SCGJ).

Were these trends to continue, new on-grid solar (238 GW) and wind (101 GW) capacities — planned as part of India’s commitment to ensure half its electricity, or nearly 500 GW, is from non-fossil fuel sources — can potentially create about 3.4 million jobs temporary and permanent jobs, the report suggests.

The report considered only full-time jobs, calculated by a formula developed by the team in 2017 wherein a co-efficient, called FTE, for each sector — solar rooftop, utility solar and wind — was computed by dividing the time spent by an employee on a particular activity to the number of standard working hours in a year. The FTE formula translates short-term or one-time employment into a full-time equivalent or job-year and the coefficients are derived from surveys conducted in 2016-17 across the solar and wind energy companies that included developers, engineering construction and procurement contractors and solar PV module manufacturers. These FTE numbers are used as coefficients to estimate the total workforce expected to be employed in the solar and wind energy project deployment process based on excess capacity added every year (MW),

“India’s renewable energy sector continues to grow steadily and create employment opportunities. Our earlier studies have showcased the potential to employ 1 million people in the sector as India marches towards its 2030 ambitions. The skilling programmes must catch up with the new requirements arising from sectors such as solar module and battery manufacturing and hybrid projects,” Neeraj Kuldeep, senior programme lead, CEEW, and an author of the report, said in a statement.

The study also pointed to a “huge shortage” of workers trained in upstream manufacturing segments such as making poly-silicon, ingots, wafers and cells. This segment is the focus of the recently launched ₹19,500 crore ($2.43 billion) production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, which  targets 65 GW of domestic manufacturing capacity. The bulk of the current jobs are in assembling solar modules.

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