The number of Australians working in renewable energy has fallen 3 per cent in the past financial year.
The decline caps off a 27 per cent collapse (about 5100 jobs) since 2010-11, when subsidies and other government support for the industry were at their most generous.
The data, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed 470 full-time equivalent jobs were lost in renewable energy across 2014-15, compared with the previous 12 months. The trend sits amid a backdrop of growing global renewable energy employment.
Annual full-time equivalent (FTE) employment in renewable energy activities stood at 14,020 in 2014-15, down from 14,490 in 2013-14 and down from 19,120 recorded in 2011-12.
ABS director of environmental statistics Mark Lound said employment in solar energy has peaked, and the latest statistics are indicative of an industry feeling the effects of a decline in investment.
“Solar energy, including roof-top solar PV, solar hot water and large scale solar PV, is the most significant source of employment among renewable energy activities. In 2014-15 annual FTE employment in solar was 8310 or 59 per cent of total employment in renewable energy activities,” he said.
The decline in renewable energy employment has been most marked in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, according to the statistics. Between 2011-12 and 2014-15 annual FTE renewable energy employment fell by 2010 in Queensland (from 5580 to 3570, a fall of 36 per cent); by 1420 in South Australia (from 2360 to 940, a fall of 60 per cent); and by 1130 in Western Australia (from 2230 to 1100, a fall of 51 per cent). For the same period, employment in renewable energy declined in Victoria by 880 (from 3510 to 2630, a fall of 25 per cent).”
“Between 2011-12 and 2014-15 employment in renewable energy increased in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory while it remained steady in Tasmania,” Mr Lound said