Poland was the EU’s biggest solar jobs market last year thanks to a national roof incentive scheme, but Germany’s push to scale back solar production will see the block’s PV power plant back to the top spot in three years, according to SolarPower Europe.
With the solar industry supporting 466,000 full-time jobs in the EU last year, industry association SolarPower Europe predicts the industry will lag behind the equivalent of 530,000 jobs in 2022.
This is one of the headline figures in the body EU Solar Employment Report 2022released this week.
Under SolarPower Europe’s medium scenario for the development of the industry – which appears most accurate when comparing the actual figures with the trade group’s latest medium scenario forecast – Europe will need more than 1 million solar workers in 2030, which the trade association estimates prompted a warning : “The skills shortage could become the biggest bottleneck preventing Europe from achieving its energy security and climate goals.”
The membership organization used the report to propose tax deductions to attract individuals to solar installer training and persuade companies to provide skills. to call for a proposed EU solar mandate for new public buildings to be extended to all buildings undergoing exterior refurbishment; and to call for a ban on oil and gas boilers.
Due to the labor-intensive nature of residential rooftop PV, Poland was Europe’s largest solar employer last year, with its industry supporting about 113,000 jobs – 24% of the EU total – also helped by the country’s low labor costs.
Germany supported 87,000 jobs in the solar industry in 2021; Spain 66,000; the Netherlands 36,000; France 33,000; and Italy 24,000; with Greece the fifth largest labor market for solar jobs with the equivalent of 34,000 jobs. Spain and France were the only EU Member States where more jobs were supported by utility-scale solar than rooftop in 2021.
SolarPower Europe forecast – again within its medium ambition scenario – Germany would support 204,000 solar jobs in 2026, supported by a solar market of 23 GW per year and a surge in PV manufacturing. The energy crisis will ensure Poland retains 102,000 rolls in 2026, despite the planned shutdown of a rooftop solar stimulus program that has boosted its PV sector, the trade association added.
Spain, Italy, France and Greece will continue to be healthy solar labor markets in 2026, according to SolarPower Europe, and will be joined by Gigamarket newcomer Romania, where low labor costs will help support around 43,000 solar positions with utilities. related employment dominates.
The report included useful snapshots of the EU’s solar industry, highlighting Wacker Chemie as Europe’s only polysilicon producer and Norwegian extra-EU companies NorSun and Norwegian Crystals, two of the continent’s three solar bar and wafer producers, alongside French company EDF Photowatt.
Lithuania’s Valeo; Meyer Burger based in Germany; Hungarian Fab Ecosolifer; and Italy’s 3Sun were Europe’s only solar cell manufacturers in 2021, according to the study.
The document also lists the investment costs (Capex) for PV across Europe over the past year, taken from figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency, the International Energy Agency and German research body Fraunhofer ISE.
Hungary and the Czech Republic offered Europe’s cheapest solar systems, the report said, at an upfront cost of €0.38/watt ($0.38) of installed generation capacity for utility-scale systems; €0.50/W for industrial arrays; €0.58 for commercial panels; and €0.86 for the living roof kit.
Greece had the most expensive industrial, commercial and residential solar bills in the bloc at €1.61/W; €1.87; or €2.75. However, the national value of €0.76/W for large solar installations has been achieved in Poland and Spain and is cheaper than the utility-scale solar investments recorded in Romania and Denmark (at €0.77/W); Italy (€0.78); Sweden (€0.86); Portugal and France (€0.94); the average value of €0.98 in Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta; and in the Netherlands (€1.07).
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