In the past few years, we've seen a major uptick in renewable energy projects around the world and with those new projects have come a lot of new jobs.
Back in 2012, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) completed its first survey of renewable energy jobs and at that time 5 million people were employed in the sector worldwide. The group released this year's report and that number has climbed to 9.8 million employed as of 2016.
The falling cost of solar and wind projects as well as government policies promoting clean energy growth have boosted new projects and the resulting jobs. In the last four years, the number of jobs in the solar and wind sectors alone has more than doubled.The total numbers include large hydropower projects, but if those are removed, there were still 8.3 million clean energy employees in 2016.
The countries representing the largest share of these jobs are Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan and the United States. China has the largest number of people employed in the sector with 3.5 million and 62 percent of the jobs are located in Asia where a lot of solar panel manufacturing is taking place.
The even better news is that this growth is only expected to speed up. IRENA reports that renewable energy jobs are predicted to number 24 million by 2030, outpacing the loss of fossil fuel jobs. This trend will make clean energy a major economic force around the world with the added benefit of making our planet a lot healthier.