In the past year alone solar has seen exponential growth. From 2020 to 2021 the solar market grew 40% leading to 466,000 solar jobs in Europe. Solar is currently the cheapest, most easily deployed energy source meaning solar is an undeniable solution to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, tackling climate change and improving our energy security.
The European Commission this year published its REPowerEU plan along side an unprecedented EU Solar Strategy which raised EU solar ambition to 750 GW by 2030. This increased ambition, given that legislative challenges will be addressed, sets us on a path towards over 1 million solar jobs in 2026. Furthermore, if the 2030 target was increased to 1 TW of installed solar capacity, this could lead to 1.5 million jobs in the same year. If it wasn’t clear already, the solar sector is booming!
“We need massive and urgent investment in people’s skills, as well as skills mapping and job matching. So, I very much welcome the #SolarWorks Platform that you are launching today. This is exactly the kind of practical initiative which will bring tangible results in the sector, both for companies and for job seekers. Young people looking to start their career can use the platform to hone their skills, and find good job opportunities.”
EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights
Panel discussions explored the many types of jobs that exist in the solar sector from the technical jobs of engineers and electricians to the jobs that require virtually no qualifications such as manufacturing. The solar sector is a place to express passion and creativity through communications and marketing, or use psychology, sociology, and economics for sales and business development. Katharina Eickelberg from SMA Solar Technology summed this up perfectly by stating “although we manufacture the brain of the solar PV system, we are not all brain surgeons”.
One thing that clearly makes the renewables sector stand out from the rest is the sense of purpose. By working in renewables you are doing something meaningful, for your planet and your communities. Heather Hayes from Lightsource bp argued that for many renewables organisations this sense of purpose is greater than economic gain, and this helps to open up space for conversations on why inclusivity and diversity are so important.
The solar sector currently stands as the most diverse energy industry, with 40% of employees being women. In our diversity panel discussion it was clear to see that these positions held by women are across the board, including leadership positions. “10 of our 18 leadership roles are filled by women” said Yamali Rodriguez Refunjol from RatedPower.
Industry players and education providers gave advice to young people and job seekers, with the same sentiments resurfacing throughout the day: be brave, take action, follow your dreams and never dull your passion.
“The solar industry is on the verge of an unprecedented expansion - this is the solar era. I encourage all to join - it is meaningful, it is so important, and it is so fun!”
SMA Solar Technology
We are very excited to officially launch the #SolarWorks Platform, connecting job seekers to companies and trainings with a skills-matching algorithm. The #SolarWorks Platform is the go-to source where jobseekers can learn more about working in the solar sector, and discover training opportunities to acquire new solar skills.