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India’s Expanding Clean Energy Workforce

Opportunities in the Solar and Wind Energy Sectors

Akanksha Tyagi, Charu Lata, Jessica Korsh, Ankit Nagarwal, Deepak Rai, Sameer Kwatra, Neeraj Kuldeep, and Praveen Saxena
January 2022 | Renewables

Suggested citation: Tyagi, Akanksha, Charu Lata, Jessica Korsh, Ankit Nagarwal, Deepak Rai, Sameer Kwatra, Neeraj Kuldeep, and Praveen Saxena. 2021. India’s Expanding Clean Energy Workforce. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Skill Council for Green Jobs.

Overview

This study, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) and the Skills Council for Green Jobs (SCGJ), provides updated data on jobs created through India’s on-grid solar and wind energy sectors during FY21 and FY22. It provides updated findings and recommendations geared toward India’s goal of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel electricity generation capacity. It builds on earlier studies on clean energy jobsPowering Jobs Growth with Green Energy (2019), Greening India’s Workforce (2017) and Clean Energy Powers Local Job Growth in India (2015).

Key Findings

  • India can potentially create about 3.4 million jobs (short and long term) by installing 238 GW solar and 101 GW new wind capacity to achieve the 500 GW non-fossil electricity generation capacity by 2030 goal. These jobs represent those created in the wind and on-grid solar energy sectors. A workforce of about one million can be employed to take up these green jobs. Jobs created are different from the workforce needed, as one worker can perform more than one job.

Sector-wise jobs creation potential by achieving 101 GW wind and 238 GW solar targets of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.

sector wise job creation

Source: CEEW-NRDC analysis, 2022

  • As of FY21, the wind and solar energy sectors employ a workforce of 111,400. The solar sector (utility-scale and rooftop solar) continued to employ the majority of this workforce with a 77 per cent share (85,900) whereas the wind sector accounted for 23 per cent share (25,500).

Cumulative workforce employed by wind and solar energy sectors as of FY21

workforce employed by wind and solar energy sectors

Source: CEEW-NRDC analysis, 2022

  • COVID-19 impacted the Indian RE sector which created 48 percent fewer jobs in FY21 compared to FY19. A new workforce of only 6,400 was added in FY21 as compared with 12,400 in FY19. Furthermore, the total workforce addition in FY20 and FY21 combined (11,600) is six percent lower than FY19 alone (12,400).
  • More than 78,000 trainees have been certified under the national-level solar energy Suryamitra training program between 2015 and July 2021.

Key Recommendations

  • Focus on scaling up decentralised renewables like rooftop solar, mini and microgrids, biogas etc. as they have more direct employment potential.
  • Ensure continuous deployment of RE capacities to restrain job loss. Steady and continual installation of RE projects through periodic tendering can help in retaining the existing clean energy jobs and create new jobs across the RE landscape.
  • Promote rural skill development programs. To access jobs in the sector, features such as providing access to under-educated youth, ensuring women’s inclusion, and connecting trainees to job platforms need to be embedded in training programs and through industrial training institutions (ITI).
  • Strengthen domestic manufacturing of various technology components like solar cells, modules, batteries to generate indirect employment opportunities in these allied sectors.
  • Update the skilling curriculum regularly to meet the industry demand especially from new sectors like batteries and green hydrogen. Reskilling and upskilling measures will also be crucial to ensure that employment benefits are made accessible across the wider economy.
India’s renewable energy sector can employ one million people by deploying 238 GW solar and 101 GW wind capacity between FY22 and FY30 to achieve its 500 GW non-fossil capacity target.

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