Indian Prime Minister Modi’s 100 gigawatt solar energy goal by 2022 could create as many as one million jobs says the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
Additionally, a proposed target of 60GW of wind energy could generate another 180,000 jobs in the country.
New analysis recently released by the two organisations says the 1 million jobs could be created within a decade and doesn’t include employment generated in the manufacturing sector.
“Prime Minister Modi’s clean energy plan creates enormous potential for India’s booming population. It provides job opportunities and access to electricity that will power rapidly growing cities and villages,” said Anjali Jaiswal, Director of NRDC’s India Initiative.
The analysis states the jobs will be spread throughout the country, creating positive ripple effects on local economies across India. Patchy data indicates grid-connected solar and wind energy combined are estimated to have created nearly 70,000 full-time jobs so far.
If India’s solar goals are realised, the nation will become the world’s biggest solar electricity powerhouse. It’s only taken 4 years for India’s solar market to have grown more than a hundredfold – the country currently has around 3 GW of installed solar capacity.
India is currently the world’s fifth largest wind energy producer, with 22 GW of installed capacity.
NRDC and CEEW’s analysis looks at different scenarios based on how solar projects might be split up between large and small scale solar power systems, and the effect on employment opportunities.
Of the three scenarios presented, a split of 60GW rooftop and 40GW large-scale could generate the most jobs given the labor-intensive nature of installing rooftop solar panels.
“This scenario could create a potential 1,000,000 short-term FTE and 310,000 long-term FTE jobs, totaling more than 1,310,000 FTE jobs by 2022,” states the analysis.
The full report can be viewed here: Clean Energy Powers Local Job Growth in India (PDF).
Local and international solar companies are quickly gearing up to assist India in reaching its goals. US-based SunEdison has strong ties to India and among its upcoming local projects is 5GW of mega-scale grid-connected solar plants in Rajasthan, plus 5 other solar PV projects around the nation totaling 150 megawatts capacity. Another important initiative is SunEdison’s “Eradication Of Darkness” program that brings off-grid solar to impoverished communities.