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India’s clean energy sector could create 300,000 new jobs by 2020: Study

According to reports, more than 300,000 new workers can be employed in wind and solar jobs and more than one million total employment opportunities can be created in achieving India’s ambitious clean energy goals to install 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power by 2022, said a study released on Wednesday.

It highlighted that the solar and wind energy sectors employed more than 21,000 additional people across India in 2016-17 while an additional 25,000 people will be employed over the coming year.

The study also said that labour-intensive rooftop solar segment will employ 70% of the new workforce, creating seven times more jobs than large-scale projects such as solar farms.

India’s clean energy workforce comprises solar installers, maintenance workers, engineers, technicians and performance data monitors

India’s clean energy workforce comprises solar installers, maintenance workers, engineers, technicians and performance data monitors.

The study Greening India’s Workforce: Gearing Up For Expansion of Solar and Wind Power in India published by Delhi-based think tank, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also stressed that strong growth in the domestic solar manufacturing industry could provide full time employment for an additional 45,000 people in India.

Just before 2015 Paris Climate summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had announced an ambitious target of 175 GW renewable power which included 100 GW Solar power and 60 GW wind power.

80% of the new clean energy workforce will be employed during the construction phase– Neeraj Kuldeep, Programme Associate at CEEW

At present, India’s installed wind power capacity is 32.2GW and solar is 12.2GW.

According to the CEEW analysis, India’s clean energy goals have the potential to put 34,600 people to work in wind power, 58,600 in utility solar and 238,000 in rooftop solar jobs over the next five years.

“Solar jobs will be well distributed across India with Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh leading in job creation. Wind jobs are likely to be concentrated in a few states that have high wind potential, as has been the case with wind capacity,” said the study.

“80% of the new clean energy workforce will be employed during the construction phase. However, despite these being contractual jobs, the large pipeline of renewable energy projects creates enough opportunities for workers to stay employed. Additionally, since most of these jobs are in the rooftop solar PV segment, central and state governments must provide greater policy support to the rooftop sector,” said Neeraj Kuldeep, Programme Associate at CEEW.

Nehmat Kaur, consultant and development economist at NRDC said, “Clean energy expansion is generating thousands of new jobs while meeting India’s climate and economic goals. With this tremendous opportunity, India is stepping up as a global leader in demonstrating how a growing economy can scale up renewables, generate employment and provide access in the face of rising energy demands.”

The study recommended to central government and state governments to provide policy priority to rooftop solar to create renewable energy jobs.

It also recommended the governments to support development of training centres led by the private sector to source construction jobs locally since solar jobs are well distributed among states.

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