Renewable energy jobs surge on back of solar

Employment in Australia’s large scale, photovoltaic solar energy sector more than doubled (210 per cent) in 2017-18, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director for the Centre of Environmental and Satellite Accounts, Jonathon Khoo, said: “Across Australia, in 2017-18, the number of full time equivalent (FTE) jobs related to renewable energy activity grew by 28 per cent to a total of 17,740 FTE jobs.”

“Over this period, we saw large scale solar projects – systems with an installed capacity of 100 kilowatts or greater – overtake hydroelectric power to become the second largest creator of renewable jobs, accounting for 16 per cent of jobs,” Mr Khoo said.

“However, rooftop solar continues to be the main driver of employment in the sector, accounting for 46 per cent of jobs in in 2017-18.”

“The increase in employment in large scale solar projects was mainly due to projects in the installation phase in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales along with continuing growth in rooftop solar panel installations.”

Queensland continued to have the largest renewable energy workforce, with an increase of 1,550 FTE jobs from 3,530 in 2016-17 to 5,080 in 2017-18.

However, the largest percentage increase was seen in Victoria where employment in renewable energy increased by 47 per cent; an increase of 1,020 FTE jobs to bring the total to 3,180 FTE in 2017-18.

“Factors contributing to the growth in renewable energy uptake in Australia include a reduction in costs, greater interest in clean energy sources and the development of electricity storage technologies,” Mr Khoo said.

“Although this has led to a boost in employment in the renewable energy sector, employment in renewable energy remains comparatively small compared with other forms of energy which employs around 59 thousand people,” he said.

The ABS publication, Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, provides experimental estimates of the levels of employment in renewable energy by state and territory, and by types of renewable energy activities.

Notes:

  • The scope of employment estimates in this publication is employment in activities principally motivated by the production of renewable energy, and/or by the design, construction and/or operation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure.

/ABS Public Release. View in full here.