India saw expand in solar photovoltaic employment in 2018, while China, the US, Japan and the European Union lost jobs, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on Thursday, report agencies.
In total, 11 million people were employed in renewable energy worldwide in 2018, up from 10.3 million in 2017.
As more and more countries manufacture, trade and install renewable energy technologies, IRENA's latest 'Renewable Energy and Jobs -- Annual Review' finds renewables jobs grew to their highest level despite slower growth in key renewable energy markets, including China.
The diversification of the renewable energy supply chain is changing the sector's geographic footprint. Until now, renewable energy industries have remained relatively concentrated in a handful of major markets, such as China, the US and the European Union.
Increasingly, however, East and Southeast Asian countries have emerged alongside China as key exporters of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
Countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, were responsible for a greater share of growth in renewables jobs last year, which allowed Asia to maintain a 60 per cent share of renewable energy jobs worldwide.
"Beyond climate goals, governments are prioritising renewables as a driver of low-carbon economic growth in recognition of the numerous employment opportunities created by the transition to renewables," said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera.
"Renewables deliver on all main pillars of sustainable development -- environmental, economic and social. As the global energy transformation gains momentum, this employment dimension reinforces the social aspect of sustainable development and provides yet another reason for countries to commit to renewables.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind remain the most dynamic of all renewable energy industries.
Accounting for one-third of the total renewable energy workflow, solar PV retains the top spot in 2018, ahead of liquid biofuels, hydropower and wind power.
Geographically, Asia hosts over three million PV jobs, nearly nine-tenths of the global total.
Most of the wind industry's activity still occurs on land and is responsible for the bulk of the sector's 1.2 million jobs.
China alone accounts for 44 per cent of global wind employment, followed by Germany and the US.
Offshore wind could be an especially attractive option for leveraging domestic capacity and exploiting synergies with the oil and gas industry.
The solar PV industry retains the top spot, with a third of the total renewable energy workforce.
Besides India, PV employment expanded in Southeast Asia and Brazil, while China, the US, Japan and the European Union lost jobs.
Rising output pushed biofuel jobs up six per cent to 2.1 million.
Brazil, Colombia, and Southeast Asia have labour-intensive supply chains where informal work is prominent, whereas operations in the US and the European Union are far more mechanised.
Employment in wind power supports 1.2 million jobs.
Onshore projects predominate, but the offshore segment is gaining traction and could build on expertise and infrastructure in the offshore oil and gas sector.
Hydropower has the largest installed capacity of all renewables but is now expanding slowly.
The sector employs 2.1 million people directly, three quarters of whom are in operations and maintenance.