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PEOPLE | Staff Reporter, China
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China's renewable energy employment balloons to 3.64m

Solar PV accounted for almost 1.96m jobs.

China continues to lead renewable energy employment, with 3.64 million jobs in 2016. The Chinese renewable energy job market grew by 3.4% in 2016, primarily due to strong gains in the solar PV sector, according to a recent research by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Employment declined in bioenergy, solar heating and cooling and small hydropower. Solar PV accounted for close to 1.96 million jobs, of which 1.3 million were in manufacturing; 635,000 in construction and installation and 26,000 in O&M.

Here's more from IRENA:

Despite increased installation, employment in solar PV manufacturing remained essentially unchanged from 2015, due to rising labour productivity and economies of scale. Jobs in the construction and installation segment doubled as new installation increased by 125%. O&M jobs rose 18%.

Wind employment edged up slightly to reach 509,000 jobs in 2016, as new installations declined. The loss of jobs in construction and installation was more than offset by gains in O&M jobs. For a third straight year, employment in the Chinese solar water heating industry fell to 690,000 jobs, as sales declined 10%.

At 95,000 jobs, employment in small hydropower dropped by 5%. At the beginning of 2017, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced plans to invest CNY 2.5 trillion (USD 360 billion) into renewables based power generation by 2020, including USD 144 billion for solar, USD 100 billion for wind, and USD 70 billion for hydropower.

NEA projected that more than 13 million jobs would be created from 2016 to 2020 (Reuters, 2017). This would be a gain of 2.6 million jobs annually.

Additional job gains may be secured as Chinese companies boost their overseas investments in hydropower, solar PV and wind power. In 2016, China’s foreign investments in renewables increased 60% to USD 32 billion 

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