The renewable energy industry created over 500,000 new jobs globally in 2017, a 5.3% rise on 2016, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The organisation's latest edition of 'Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review' says the number of people employed in renewables across the world stood at 10.3 million  in 2017, surpassing the 10 million mark for the first time.

China, Brazil, the US, India and Japan were the largest renewable energy employers, according to the report, accounting for over 70% of industry jobs globally. Some 60% of all renewables jobs were located in Asia.

The solar photovoltaic sector was the largest employer among renewable energy technologies, accounting for almost 3.4 million jobs globally, up nearly 9% from 2016 following a record 94GW of installations in 2017.

China accounted for two-thirds of solar PV jobs in 2017, estimated at around 2.2 million by IRENA. Japan and the US were the next-biggest employers in the sector, with India and Bangladesh completing the top five.

Jobs in the wind industry fell slightly in 2017 to 1.15 million worldwide, with China accounting for 44%, followed by Europe and North America with 30% and 10% respectively.

Director general of IRENA Adnan Amin said: “Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs created in the sector."

He added: “The data also underscores an increasingly regionalised picture, highlighting that in countries where attractive policies exist, the economic, social and environmental benefits of renewable energy are most evident.

“Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonisation of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050.”

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