Industry Analysis

The reported 3 million jobs: Are we on it?

International Labour Organisation stated India would be able to generate 3 million jobs once the renewable energy shift happens. India has created quite a stir in the RE world since then with a shift in its energy choices. But then, where are we on the said 3 million jobs? Industry experts analyse and share what they think needs to b e done to address the short coming of the sector.

RE revolution in India is witnessing a situation similar to IT revolution a couple of decades ago. While IT revolution created an exodus of IT experts from India, RE revolution is enabling skilling and retention of RE experts for the first time in India.

Nithyanandam Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Senior Advisor Power and Utilities, EY India, says, “Skill Council for Green Jobs (SCGJ through National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)) has launched several initiatives for skilling, upskilling, jobs creation, awareness generation and other key skilling initiatives across all the RE sectors in India.”

MNRE’S world’s largest solar installers training program (SURYA MITRA) has become a game changer in solar industry in producing skilled solar installers to meet the demands of the solar industry.

Dinesh Babu adds, “The demand for RE skill force is currently high and is inadequate. Creation of this emerging skill force will be a time and resource intensive exercise. Therefore, upskilling of the allied sector experts is the need of the hour. At the same time colleges and ITIs should immediately include RE syllabus and field assignments for the graduating students.”

Siddartha Ramakanth Keshavadasu, Consultant, Energy Division, Feedback Infra Pvt. Ltd points out, “RE don’t have the potential to create 3 miilion jobs not only in India elsewhere in the world. Most of the RE technologies are plug and play solutions and are capital driven. Average manpower required for constructing a 25MW plant is 250 and that period of employment is hardly 6 months and O&M of a similar capacity RE plant requires a manpower of 10 nos. With increasing project sizes, the manpower requirement will be further reduced; the employment is unsustainable.”

Shailesh Patni, Head – Sales and Marketing, Jyotitech Solar LLP has quite a positive stand regarding the job generation. He says, “India’s renewable energy sector is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs over the coming years. The government has taken up several initiatives in partnership with private sector firms under the skill development programs such as setting up of renewable energy training centres and green skill academies.“

However, there is a current lag between demand and supply when it comes to human resources in the industry due to lack of technical skills. The employment generation in RE would help transform India’s rural economy and help bringing rural population above poverty level. At present, the challenges are:
• Un-availability of skilled personnel, employable in manufacturing, project design, construction, business development, and operations and maintenance
• At present, many employers in the sector do not source their workforce from the training institutes.
• Shortage of a well-qualified design engineers and technicians with specific knowledge of RE technologies.

Jeetendra Saraf, Founder, Newtronics Green Energy is of the opinion that creating good quality renewable energy jobs that will help reduce poverty in rural, underdeveloped regions is a less considered, but crucial added benefit.

Jeetendra continues by saying,” I expect India’s target of adding 160 GW of solar and wind energy capacity by 2022 to generate more than 1.8 million new jobs over the next 5 years and 4.1 million jobs in next 25 years as per the current market scenario. As per my estimates the solar industry in India employs 150,000 people, including 65,000 in grid-connected and 85,000 in off grid applications, while another 50,000 people work in the wind sector.”

The growing employment opportunities in the sector could support India’s rural community by offering an alternative to subsistence farming, but it all depends upon government policies. Start-up friendly policies and schemes such as MUDRA, ‘Start-up India, Stand-up India’ are helping in reshaping Indian economy.

In the current era, developed countries are undergoing or are at the verge of robotic transition. Amid the possible benefits of automating jobs, there is a widespread fear that automation is sure to take away jobs. Krishnendu Mukherjee, COO, Sova Solar Limited also voiced the same concern, “Today, this RE industry is going through a transition phase, where there is a huge change in the technology being used; an automation revolution making more jobs are being automated. This is the biggest challenge in the way of creating job opportunities.”

Unskilled and semi-skilled workers in rural areas face entry barriers to clean energy employment. Mayank Khandelwal, AGM, Sunpower India Ventures Pvt. Ltd states the main hurdles as:
• Unavailability of skilled manpower
• Stressed margins for project developers
• Not much manufacturing units in India for solar equipments as the cost of imported equipments is cheaper

J P Chalasani, Group CEO, Suzlon Group has a positive take on employment opportunities. He observes, “More than 4,000 SME units in our country are producing wind turbine components across the value chain and providing large scale employment.”

There is an immense potential for the country to become a global manufacturing hub for wind energy, which is visible as a number of global companies have set up their manufacturing units in India.

“There is an enormous scope for indigenising technology and component manufacturing. By securing the supply chain for wind, solar and other renewable technologies in India, we can not only reduce the cost of these technologies, but also create value additions and employment in the country. This would act as a GDP multiplier as seen in Europe and China,” adds J P Chalasani.

Shashi Shekhar, CEO, Vimal Fire Controls precisely states the challenges which is hindering employment generation as:
a) Unclear policies and sudden changes like we have seen in safeguard implementation which hinders the on-going projects and affects mobilisation
b) Lack of domestic manufacturing facilities

Nimish Jain, Head of Global Sales- Modules, Vikram Solar, opines, “Indian renewable energy sector promises to improve India’s employment sector, which is currently in dire need of support.” In order to help the industry realise its job creation targets, India needs to focus on domestic manufacturing capacity enhancement and not import solar. Solar dominating countries in the world have reached their position by supporting their domestic manufacturing industry. Therefore, India needs to follow these battle-tested steps and create jobs within the country while initiating socio-economic development.

Krishnendu Mukherjee, COO, Sova Solar Limited
“RE is undergoing an automation revolution and as such more and more jobs are being automated”

Shashi Shekhar, CEO, Vimal Fire Controls
“Unclear policies and sudden changes like the safeguard implementation hinders the on-going projects and affects mobilisation.”

Jeetendra Saraf, Founder, Newtronics Green Energy
The growing employment opportunities in the sector could support India’s rural community by offering an alternative to subsistence farming, but it all depends upon government policies.

Mayank Khandelwal, AGM, Sunpower India Ventures Pvt. Ltd
“Not much manufacturing units in India for solar equipments as the cost of imported equipments is cheaper”

Nithyanandam Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Senior Advisor Power and Utilities, EY India
“Colleges and ITIs should immediately include RE syllabus and field assignments for the graduating students.”

Siddartha Ramakanth Keshavadasu, Consultant, Energy Division, Feedback Infra Pvt. Ltd
“RE don’t have the potential to create 3 miilion jobs as they are plug and play solutions and are capital driven.”

Shailesh Patni, Head – Sales and Marketing, Jyotitech Solar LLP
“India’s RE sector is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs over the coming years.”

Nimish Jain, Head of Global Sales- Modules, Vikram Solar,
“To help the industry realise its job creation targets, India needs to focus on domestic manufacturing capacity enhancement and not import solar.”

J P Chalasani, Group CEO, Suzlon Group
“More than 4,000 SME units in our country are producing wind turbine components providing large scale employment.”

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