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National Solar Centre measures jobs growth

The BRE National Solar Centre (NSC) has carried out a comprehensive survey of jobs in the solar sector in 2013, detailing both staffing numbers and site installation activities.

Commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the resulting data will be used to quantify the economic impact of the UK’s progress on solar and provide the DECC with accurate job numbers against which to measure the scale of the Solar PV industry in the soon to be published Solar Strategy.

The job numbers calculated in the study relate to both building and ground-mounted installations, and include office staff and those in the support chain for the industry. During 2013, there was a recorded deployment of approximately 521 MW of installation less than 1MW funded by the FIT, assumed to be predominantly building-installed solar and 510 MW of installation above 1MW, assumed to be predominantly ground-mounted solar PV, giving a total of 1,031MW installed. This led to a corresponding estimate of approximately 14,000 full time equivalent jobs across both installation bands. As the majority of solar installations during the year were domestic, this sector showed the greater number of jobs – 20 jobs / MW installed compared to 7 jobs / MW installed for significantly larger ground-mounted projects. As the industry moves towards more commercial roof installations, job numbers per MW are likely to tend towards that of ground-mounted sector.

The survey also helped to identify the value of solar market to the UK in 2013. A significant amount of the present costs of installed solar relate to imported products, but results indicate that a significant proportion of the installed price of building and ground mounted solar have a related value to the UK market, potentially to the order of hundreds of millions of pounds. We will continue to refine our methodology on this.
“Previous attempts by the industry to accurately calculate job numbers were largely unsuccessful as many solar installers carry out other types of work as well” said Jonny Williams Associate Director of BRE National Solar Centre. “We solved the problem by developing our own methodology, enabling us to relate actual job numbers to product quantities installed in 2013 and recorded by DECC and Ofgem.”

Highlights of the survey will be included in DECC’s Solar Strategy to be published over the next few weeks.

For further information please contact [email protected]