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Press Release: Skilled Workforce Key to Meeting India's Ambitious Renewable Energy Goals
12 Feb 2016

New Delhi (February 12, 2016) - The renewable energy sector is expected to receive a big push during the ‘Make in India’ week starting tomorrow in Mumbai, new analysis released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) finds that the lack of a skilled workforce and quality training programs could pose a significant challenge to meeting India’s ambitious target of 175 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable energy by 2022.

The CEEW-NRDC analysis finds that solar developers will need a multitude of skilled workers across every phase of a solar project. To reach 100 GW of solar by 2022, India would need nearly 2,10,800 skilled site engineers and approximately 6,24,600 semi-skilled technicians for construction, most of whom would be needed to achieve the targeted 40 GW rooftop solar capacity addition. As many as 81,000 highly skilled workers would be needed annually by 2022 to carry out annual and ongoing performance monitoring of solar projects totalling to 100 GW. An additional 1,82,400 workers would be needed annually by 2022 to carry out low-skilled operation and maintenance functions for the multitude of solar rooftop and utility scale projects.

India’s 100 GW solar target would generate more than 1.1 million jobs by 2022 spread across business development (2%), design and pre-construction (3%), construction and commissioning (72%), operations and maintenance (23%). The 65 GW wind target is projected to create a further 1,83,500 jobs across the various phases of wind deployment. These projections do not include jobs created in the manufacturing sector, another significant jobs opportunity.

Availability of appropriately skilled manpower is one prominent challenge, and the solar sector may benefit from employing workers from conventional labour markets with relevant skill sets. The wind sector, however, is constrained by a lack of transferability of skills limiting the movement of skilled workforce between industries. Also, unlike the solar sector, the wind sector is less reliant on external skilling and certification placing much more importance on in-house and on-the-job skilling.

Other key challenges for the solar sector include a shortage of platforms to advertise for solar jobs, low salaries, lack of local proximity to training institutes, poor quality of existing training programs, etc.

Recognising the vast number of jobs that a scaled up renewable energy market would create, the Government of India has formed a Skill Council on Green Jobs and introduced several domestic initiatives that support manufacturing, job creation and skill development.

Shri Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), said, “Make in India is not just about increasing domestic manufacturing but also about preparing a market that is conducive to the scaling up of renewable energy capacity. The International Solar Alliance also recognises the importance of capacity building, with skills and training being central to its work. In this context, this timely report outlines the nature of skills essential for increasing renewable energy deployment in India and lays out a roadmap to upgrade these skills.”

Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, added, “Without Skill India, it would be difficult to meet Make in India’s targets for the renewable sector. There is a clear need for improved training and certification programs, which are accessible to workers of varying backgrounds and skillsets in all states. Policymakers should also consider establishing at least one prominent solar training institute in each of the renewable energy clusters of the country, along with developing renewable energy training clusters near ongoing renewable energy projects.”

Dr Praveen Saxena, CEO of the Skill Council for Green Jobs, emphasised that, “The CEEW-NRDC report is giving us an insight into the solar and wind sector’s skill requirements. In fact, it sets goals for the Skill Council and gives us a roadmap.”

“India has a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate how a growing economy can scale up green energy—creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and boosting renewable power—and protect our climate while meeting rising energy demands,” said Nehmat Kaur, NRDC India Representative. “This comprehensive assessment of the variety of jobs, skills and training that needed as India expands its solar industry will help realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The CEEW-NRDC findings come on the heels of the launch of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP21 in December 2015. ISA aims to facilitate widespread deployment of solar power and development of the supporting ecosystem including supporting skilling in member countries.

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