Australia’s solar industry has been the major victim of the more than 2,000 job losses to hit the renewable energy sector in the years since the Abbott government came into power, a new report has found.
In its latest report on annual direct full time equivalent (FTE) employment in renewable energy activities in Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that the number of full-time jobs in renewables in Australia stood at 12,590 in 2013-14 – a 15 per cent (2,300 jobs) fall from the peak of 14,890 recorded for 2011-12.
From state to state, solar jobs dominated overall, including employment in rooftop solar, solar hot water and large-scale solar.
This pattern was strongest in WA and Queensland where 89 and 88 per cent of jobs, respectively, were attributable to all types of solar in 2013-14.
Likewise, however, most of the states – NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and WA –had also seen big falls in solar jobs over the last couple of years.
Roof-top solar (including solar hot water systems), while still the largest overall renewables employer in 2013-14, with 6,120 jobs or 49 per cent of the market, had slumped from its 2011-12 peak of 74 per cent.
Wind power – which the report notes is primarily driven by installation activity, rather than ongoing operation and maintenance, and is therefore heavily dependent on continued investment – varied in size from a low of 1,110 in 2011-12 (7 per cent of annual direct FTE employment in renewable energy activities) to a high of 2,690 in 2013-14 (21 per cent of the total).
Interestingly, employment in renewable energy activities located in government entities and in non-profit institutions (NPIs) grew steadily from 480 in 2009-10 (or 5 per cent of annual direct FTE employment in renewable energy activities) to 1,170 in 2013-14 (9 per cent of the total).
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