The recent boom of solar energy in Europe is a cause for celebration. Having quickly become the cleanest and most cost-effective energy source, solar is now gearing up for massive deployments in 2020. Indeed, after a stellar year for installations in Europe, with a 110% increase and over 20GW of capacity added, the future of solar looks brighter than ever.
Where solar really soars is in its immense employment potential, where it creates more jobs per installed watt than any other power generation source. As a result of new installations, and research and development, solar jobs are expected to double by 2021 compared to 2016. In Europe alone, solar can create up to 500,000 jobs by 2030, and 1.7 million by 2050. These jobs are highly-skilled and local, and can help deliver a European Green Deal for all by targeting former coal regions for solar projects – sites that have untapped solar potential, and are thus attractive business environments for solar deployment and manufacturing. In fact, a recent Joint Research Centre study found solar to be particularly suitable for employing former coal workers and to help drive regional development.
In this series of articles, SolarPower Europe catches up with the people behind the power, putting a spotlight on those who work in the solar sector. Today, we talked with Guillermo Oviedo Hernández, R&D Specialist at BayWa r.e., the German full-service provider for renewable energy.
Why did you choose to work in the solar sector?
For many reasons, but here are the most important: (1) because I wanted to contribute to the worldwide transition to a renewable energy system, (2) because solar energy is a renewable resource available all over the world, and free from geopolitical and scarcity conflicts, and (2) because solar PV is a simple and proven technology, and is ready for immediate deployment.
What is your favourite aspect of working in the solar industry?
The satisfaction and peace of mind that I feel after a long day of work, with the knowledge that my time and energy are invested in making the world a better and more sustainable place.
Tell us about your day-to-day activities?
After a 20-minute commute via bicycle to the office, I spend most of my day in front of a computer, however, I feel fortunate that I do not have to perform the same tasks over and over again. My job allows me to dig into the technological solutions that both academia and the industry offer to improve the performance of solar PV plants.
What is something most people do not know about solar?
That solar PV, when complemented by other renewable sources (i.e. wind, biomass, geothermal, hydro), fully replace fossil fuels in the mid-term without putting in danger the stability of our grids.
What do you think the future of the solar sector will look like?
The future of solar looks bright, very bright. We will reach grid-parity everywhere very soon, so will no longer require subsidies.
Photo: Baywa r.e.
Do you work in the solar sector? We’d love to hear from you and how your work is contributing to the energy transition. Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.