These days, Solar Power is more accessible than ever for countries trying to balance their energy mix – in the last decade, solar photovoltaics costs were reduced by 81%.
When compared with traditional energy sources, renewable energy sources have low ongoing running costs, making them attractive choices to countries aiming to lower their emissions long-term. Because of this, renewable energy now accounts for a third of our global power capacity meaning there’s now a large volume of job vacancies available for candidates looking to grow their career within Solar Power.
But what’s in store for the solar job market? In recognition of Solar Appreciation Day, we spoke with NES Global Talent employees Daniel Brook, Recruitment Manager in the Middle East and James Pipe, Sales Director for the UK, Europe and Africa.
1. How has the Solar Power industry developed in recent years?
James: In just a couple of years, solar has evolved dramatically to become the most affordable clean energy technology. It is now a major element of our energy system and is anticipated to become the dominant source of energy by 2050.
Daniel: There has been a significant increase in the amount of CAPEX projects in the MENA region in the past 5 years which has increased the amount of project hire positions across the MENA region. However, there has been in a shift in the amount of EPCs and Subcontractors who have hired overseas specialists on local contracts as opposed to bringing a project team from overseas.
2. What job opportunities are there for candidates looking to enhance their career within Solar Power?
James: Solar jobs are growing in Europe – as a result of new installations and growth in cumulative capacity, jobs are set to double by 2021 compared to 2016. In Europe, most solar jobs are created locally and therefore cannot be relocated, ensuring significant contribution to long-term socio-economic development. In fact, for every TWh of power produced, solar currently creates 1,100 jobs in the EU.
Daniel: 2020 has seen a drive towards nationalisation within the Middle East, and In-Country Value, with an ICV becoming an increasingly large factor in tender evaluation criteria for solar contract awards. As a result, we have seen increased nationalisation quotas in the UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia driven by the government authorities to promote In-Country Value. Since solar is still a relatively new industry in the Middle East, Developers are increasing their national hiring and graduate programmes with the goal of introducing nationals into the solar industry. Presently the UAE has the highest number of solar jobs within the MENA region, with a mix of both project-based and staff positions. Saudi Arabia has an ambitious programme of renewable energy projects scheduled over the coming years which will no doubt increase the amount of project-based hires.
3. What are the challenges for the Solar Power Job Market?
James: There are numerous challenges (just like in any growing market), but one of the more notable challenges, especially for solar, is the ‘aging’ grid infrastructure in Europe which may not be able to cope with a surge in large scale/significant growth in the Renewable market.
But, this is also an opportunity for development and improvement of our current grid infrastructure. If governments/countries are able to increase the use of grid-flexibility options (this entails improved grid management, better response to demand, and more efficient energy storage) then we could see huge growth in solar.
Daniel: In the Middle East, achieving nationalisation targets remains the biggest challenge in the solar industry, as nationalisation quota increases throughout the region, it will be increasingly important for companies to nurture and develop Middle Eastern talent. As plants move into their Operations and Maintenance phase and the EPC teams are expected to hand over to an increasingly nationalised O&M team, the industry will be challenged to deliver a pipeline of suitable experienced national candidates to protect the private sector investments in solar plants. Locally based supply chains, ICV scores factoring in tender evaluation, national development programs, and graduate schemes will all play a key part in ensuring these nationalisation targets are met.
NES Global Talent and Careers in Solar Power
Are you looking for a career in Solar Power? Search our solar jobs. From buildings to transport, industry to agriculture, solar is powering a range of sectors and economic activities meaning that from the Middle East to Europe, candidates can expect to find solar job opportunities to suit them.
If you have a renewable energy staffing requirement, contact our expert teams. NES Global Talent have a depth of expertise in the solar industry, a global network and the local market knowledge to provide you with a cost-effective energy workforce solution.