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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
November 2021 | 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, including 450 GW of RE, by 2030. 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 3.5 million jobs (short and long term) by installing 280 GW solar and 140 GW wind capacity out of the 500 GW non-fossil electricity generation capacity goal by 2030. 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 wind and solar targets of 450 GW target by 2030.

sector wise job creation

Source: CEEW-NRDC analysis, 2021

  • As of FY21, the wind and solar energy sectors employ a workforce of 111,400. The solar sector (utility-scale and rooftop solar) employed 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, 2021

  • COVID-19 impacted the Indian RE sector — it created 48 per cent less jobs in FY21 compared to FY19. A new workforce of only 6,400 was added in FY21 over 12,400 in FY19. Further, the total workforce addition in FY20 and FY21 combined (11,600) is six per cent less 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 decentralised renewable energy (DRE) sources like rooftop solar, mini- and micro-grid systems to significantly increase the employment opportunities by achieving India’s 500 GW of non-fossil fuel electricity generation capacity target. The distributed nature of these projects makes them more labour intensive than utility-scale projects. This can increase the jobs created across the project deployment cycle.
  • Ensure continuous deployment of RE capacities to restrain job loss through periodic tendering and providing relaxations to continue construction activities with necessary precautions even in special cases like pandemics. This will ensure that the tendered projects meet the timeline and support investments in the sector through streamlined processes, payment securities etc.
  • Strengthen domestic manufacturing of various technology components to exploit the untapped employment potential and meet the requirements of the 500 GW non-fossil fuel electricity generation capacity target.
  • Promote rural skill development programs to take the transition closer to the community. The research indicates that the availability of a skilled local workforce can accelerate the deployment of solar parks and mini/ microgrid projects.
  • Regularly update the skilling curriculum through periodic industrial engagements. This will help bridge the skill gap and ensure timely availability of skilled workforce.
India can potentially create about 3.5 million jobs (short and long term) by installing 280 GW solar and 140 GW wind capacity out of the 500 GW non-fossil electricity generation capacity goal by 2030.

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