The distributed renewable energy sector is set to generate 400,000 jobs in India by 2023, comprising 190,000 direct, formal jobs, almost double the current number, as well as 210,000 direct, informal jobs, as per the first annual jobs census assessing employment from decentralized renewables for rural electrification released by industry organization Power for All.
The "Powering Jobs Census 2019: The Energy Access Workforce" targets to highlight the energy skills and jobs required to accomplish Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 ─ access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
The census delivers inclusive data on energy access jobs created by decentralized renewable energy comprising solar for home and business, green mini-grids and productive use systems such as solar water pumps. The India census received responses from 37 companies in India across the sector including many major companies representing a large market share.
“Access to electricity means access to jobs. The powering Jobs census offers strong evidence of the important link between energy access and employment in countries where rural joblessness is at record highs,” said Power for All Chief Research Officer and census lead researcher Rebekah Shirley.
According to government efforts like the Saubhagya scheme, at present, less than 20,000 rural households remain unelectrified. However, the quality, reliability, affordability, and short-duration supply of electricity continue to present challenges. In addition, the recent Periodic Labour Force Survey showed that the unemployment rate in India is at its highest since 1972, with rural unemployment up more than three times among men, and more than double among women.
According to the census findings, decentralised renewables are a significant employer. Relative to its penetration level in the market, the DRE sector has already grown an impressive direct employee base. The India census results show that the country’s DRE direct, formal workforce is already equivalent to the on-grid solar industry, and may double in size between 2017-18 and 2022-23 if the mini-grid market continues to expand at a rapid pace.
“In 2017-18, the DRE sector provided 95,000 jobs, most of which are from end-user product providers, which are companies that sell pico solar appliances, solar home systems, and other small, off-grid appliances directly to customers. With strong policy support, mini-grids could grow to become a major employer,” Power for All said in a statement.
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