The renewable energy industry created more than 500,000 new jobs globally in 2017, a 5.3 per cent increase from 2016, according to the latest figures released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in the fifth edition report Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2018, launched at IRENA’s 15th Council which took place in Abu Dhabi from 8 to 9 May 2018. The report states that the total number of people employed in the sector (including large hydropower) now stands at 10.3 million globally, surpassing the 10 million figure for the first time.
China tops the latest EY’s Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) for the third time consecutively, with the US and Germany overtaking India, which falls from second to fourth position. The UK and the Netherlands are notable climbers (to positions seventh and ninth respectively), while Taiwan re-enters the bi-annual top 40 ranking.
Community solar capacity in the United States more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, from 347 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2016, to 734 MW at the end of 2017, according to the “Community Solar Program Design Models” report released by the U.S. Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). At present 228 utilities in 36 states have active community solar programs.
Global solar photovoltaic (PV) demand is forecast to hit another annual record of 113 gigawatts in 2018, propelled by strong demand anticipated in China. According to business information provider IHS Markit, burgeoning demand from the Chinese market is expected to persevere on the back of continuing policy support, a successful transition from a market that had been dominated by large ground-mount projects and strong momentum in the distributed-PV (DPV) sector. In particular, the fourth quarter of 2018 — with 34 gigawatts of new PV installations — will be the largest quarter in history.
The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, published on April 5th by UN Environment, Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that falling costs for solar electricity, and to some extent wind power, is continuing to drive deployment. Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables exceeded $200 billion – and since 2004, the world has invested $2.9 trillion in these green energy sources.