The global green energy sector added half a million jobs in 2017, driving the sector’s total employees to 10.3 million. International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) presented the benchmark figures this week inthe fifth edition of "Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review" during IRENA’s 15th Council in Abu Dhabi.

The United States is among the world’s largest renewable energy employers, along with China, India, Brazil, Germany and Japan. Those six countries provide 70 percent of the sector’s employment, but renewable energy manufacturing work is largely concentrated in Asia.

“Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs in the sector,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA director general. “Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonization of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050.”

Solar photovoltaics (PVs) claims the largest number of workers among green energy technology. The solar employment sector surged 9 percent in 2017 to total nearly 3.4 million jobs, following a record 94 gigawatts (GW) added capacity. Two-thirds of those jobs were in China, which boasted 2.2 million PV employees.

Wind power employed 1.15 million globally last year. Forty-four percent of wind energy workers were in China. Rounding out the top three wind energy employers were Europe, at 30 percent, and North America, with 10 percent.

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