Bridge India

Small rooftop solar systems can generate 4 times the employment than utility scale projects

Utility scale projects have dominated the solar landscape in India until now. Distributed generation has remained in the backstage. But with net metering guidelines in several states, demand for distributed solar systems will increase. A recent BRIDGE TO INDIA analysis suggests that job creation will be highest in the case of installation of small rooftops. For further details, please refer to ‘India Solar Decision Brief’ titled- “India’s Solar Transformation: Beehives vs Elephants” (online downloadable version available here).

  • Jobs in manufacturing, business development, project development, administration, and design & drawing will be “sticky” – i.e. will not correlate directly with new capacity
  • Jobs in supply chain, logistics and installation & commissioning will correlate with Y-o-Y growth of installations whereas operation & maintenance jobs are directly proportional to the cumulative solar capacity
  • The total job creation potential is highest for small rooftops (“bees”) and lowest for GW-scale plants (“elephants”)

Our analysis is based on the assumption that the creation of jobs in the supply chain, logistics and installation and commissioning correlate with Y-o-Y growth of installations. Jobs in manufacturing, business development, project development, administration, accounts, administration and design and drawing on the other hand, would only be 50% correlated with Y-o-Y growth of installations, i.e. they are more “sticky”. In case of negative growth in new installations, only half of the people will be affected. Jobs related to operation and maintenance are directly proportional to the cumulative solar capacity as plants will need these services throughout their lifetimes. They are the most “sticky”.

For small rooftop systems, our assumption was, a team of five people (some part time roles are cumulated) will be able execute around 50 installations of average 3 kW system in a year. This timeframe includes business development, creation of pipeline, procurement and execution. For large rooftop systems, we assumed that a team of 20 people (some part time roles are cumulated) will be able to execute around four installations of average 250 kW in a year. For utility scale projects, we assumed that a team of 250 people (some part time roles are cumulated) will be able to execute two installations of average 20 MW in a year. For ultra-mega scale projects, we assumed that a team of 2,000 people (some part time roles are cumulated) can build 2 GW in three years . It should be noted that these installations will not be completed in a single year.

In the figure below, we have compared the job creation for 1 GW installation at around 40,000 for small rooftops (“bees”), 27,000 for commercial rooftops (“pigeons”), 10,000 for utility scale (“horses”) and 6,000 for GW scale (“elephants”). The graphic displays that “bees” would create 4 times the jobs of “horses” and 7 times the amount of “elephants”.


 blog as on sept17th 2014

Mudit Jain is a Consultant at BRIDGE TO INDIA

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