More than 100,000 jobs were created across Europe by the solar power industry in 2021, according to a new report from trade association SolarPower Europe. 

In total, the EU’s solar sector employed 466,000 people last year, a 30% increase on the 358,000 employed in 2020, according to SolarPower Europe’s EU Solar Jobs Report 2022

The EU’s solar sector employed 466,000 people in 2021. (Photo by Mike Harrington via Getty Images)

Most of the jobs were in installation, which accounted for 79% of total solar employment. Around 44,000 were in the high-value strategic sector of solar PV manufacturing, while 40,000 were in operations and maintenance. Poland, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands boasted the most solar jobs across the region.

In May 2022, the European Commission set a 750GW solar power target for 2030 as part of the REPowerEU plan to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russian gas. Under this ‘medium scenario’, the EU will require more than one million solar workers in 2030. However, in a ‘high scenario’, where European and national policymakers succeed in resolving permitting and supply chain issues, the EU solar industry would need one million employees by 2026.

“At a time when the continent faces economic uncertainty, solar offers a reliable source of millions of future-proof, local and green jobs,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, in a statement. “Even as Europe emerged from a pandemic, solar employment increased by 30%.

“Solar skills will remain hugely employable, and a key opportunity for national governments and regional authorities across Europe in the years to come. Now we must rise to the challenge, and ensure we have the skills and workers to deliver Europe’s energy security and climate goals.”