Solar Jobs and Wealth Creation in Europe

SolarPower Europe has commissioned a new study assessing the socio-economic contribution of solar to jobs and value added in Europe. This has been conducted by EY and notes the impressive contribution that solar is making to job and wealth creation in Europe today and that by 2020, this contribution will grow. It also shows that the level of jobs in the solar sector has fallen from around 180,000 in 2008 to around 110,000 in 2014. Likewise the Gross Value Added of the sector has fallen from around 10 billion Euros to 6 billion Euros in 2014. This situation is predicted to improve to nearly 140,000 jobs and almost 7 billion Euro GVA by 2020.

The study also shows that the majority of the jobs and value creation in the solar sector in Europe are in the downstream segment. This has been the case since 2008 and is set to continue to be true through to 2020.

The key findings include:

  • Although the European Photovoltaic sector has been severely challenged in terms of installed capacities and turnover since 2011-2012, the sector continues to prove its socio-economic value in Europe, both in terms of job creation and Gross Value Added (GVA).
  • All countries, except the UK, had fewer jobs and a lower GVA in 2014 when comparing with the situation in 2011.
  • Rooftop PV installations support almost 3 times as many jobs and GVA than Ground-Mounted installations. This can be explained by their installed capacities, unit cost per MW and labor needs for installation, maintenance and operations.
  • Respectively 86% and 83% of the impact on jobs and GVA in 2014 is linked to the downstream activities of the PV value chain. Downstream activities of the PV value chain are more labor intensive than upstream activities. Particularly the sector of engineering, studies and administration shows less sensitivity to the downsizing of the PV market.
  • An analysis of the impact of the expiry of the Minimum Import Prices (MIP) set by the EU on modules and cells imported in the EU, shows there would be positive employment effects throughout the PV value chain. The positive employment effects are higher downstream then upstream. This would be the result of a higher demand, following lower system prices


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