June 22


COVID-19 and its Impact on Solar Industry Jobs

By hacheng1@gmail.com

June 22, 2023

The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors worldwide, and it has been undergoing steady growth over the past several years. The industry is primarily focused on developing and manufacturing solar panels and other related products. However, the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has taken a toll on the solar industry, leading to a decline in the manufacturing, distribution, and installation of solar products. The pandemic has created a significant impact on the solar energy industry jobs as well. With the limitations on the working conditions and the economic slowdown, the industry is grappling with several challenges. In this article, we will explore the effect of COVID-19 on solar industry jobs and analyses this sector’s current scenario.

COVID-19 and the Solar Industry


The solar industry plays a crucial role in the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy. It encompasses a wide range of activities, from manufacturing solar panels and cells to designing, installing, and maintaining solar power systems. Solar technology has seen incredible growth and development in the past decade, with unprecedented improvements in efficiency and cost-effectiveness. With the increasing demand for renewable energy and the global shift towards decarbonization, the solar industry has become a key player in the energy sector. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the solar industry, causing disruption to supply chains and labor markets.

Impact of COVID on the Solar Industry

The solar industry has been hailed as an emerging sector with great potential to transform the energy landscape. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on this industry. With the lockdown and restrictions placed on economic activities to reduce the spread of the virus, the demand for solar energy has dropped in some markets. This drop in demand has led to a reduction in job opportunities within the solar industry. As a result, many solar industry workers have been laid off or have had their salaries reduced, leading to economic hardship for them and their families.

A particular aspect of the solar industry that has been adversely impacted by COVID-19 is the installation sector. The social distancing measures required during the pandemic have made it difficult to install solar panels, leading to reduced demand for installation crews. Additionally, the supply chain for materials needed in the installations have been negatively affected, with disruptions in the international supply chains of photovoltaic panels, solar inverters, and other parts. This disruption in the supply chain has led to shortages and increased prices of these materials.

Another area that has been impacted by COVID-19 is research and development. The pandemic has slowed down the pace of research projects and delayed new product launches, leading to reduced investment in the R&D sector. This reduced investment will likely affect the long-term sustainability of the industry and may limit the development of new technologies that would lower the costs of solar energy.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the solar industry and its jobs. The reduced demand for solar energy, disrupted supply chains, and reduced investment in R&D have led to a reduction in the number of jobs in the industry and slowed down efforts to develop new technologies. It is important for policymakers to recognize the impact of the pandemic on the industry and to support initiatives that will stimulate growth, increase demand, and create new job opportunities.

Effects on Solar Industry Jobs

Job Losses

The solar industry has not been immune to the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on the global economy. The pandemic has caused a significant decline in solar industry jobs, resulting in massive job losses. The clean energy sector has been particularly hard hit, with thousands of employees becoming unemployed or furloughed.

According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA), an estimated 500 thousand jobs have been lost globally due to the pandemic. This job loss has been primarily caused by the significant disruption to the supply chain, resulting in delays in solar projects’ execution. Moreover, several factors, such as reduced demand, regulatory uncertainties, and challenges related to financing, have impacted the solar industry’s workforce. The impact on commercial and utility-scale installations has been substantial, at over 20%.

Furthermore, the solar industry has also suffered from a talent shortage due to travel restrictions and other operational challenges imposed by the virus. These challenges have slowed hiring for solar-related occupations, including manufacturing and sales.

Factors Contributing to Job Losses

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in various sectors worldwide, and the solar industry is no exception. The solar industry has experienced job losses due to various factors, such as the restrictions on the movement of goods and people, falling demand for solar products, and disruptions in the global supply chain. Additionally, social distancing measures and lockdowns have forced solar companies to temporarily halt their operations, leading to staff layoffs and delays in projects. Furthermore, the uncertainties caused by the pandemic have led to a decline in investor confidence, which has further contributed to job losses in the solar industry. The restrictions on international trade have also affected the affordability of solar products, leading to a decline in demand and hence job losses.

Geographical Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the solar industry, resulting in job losses worldwide. However, the impact of the pandemic on job losses in the solar industry has varied across regions, and some regions have been hit harder than others.

One of the hardest-hit regions has been Europe. With countries such as Italy, France, and Spain among the worst affected by the pandemic, the solar industry in these regions has suffered immensely. In contrast, other regions such as Asia and North America have experienced a lesser impact on the solar industry. In North America, the solar industry has been deemed an essential service, enabling companies to continue their operations despite the pandemic’s impact. In Asia, while the pandemic has caused a decrease in demand for solar panels, the industry’s domestic production has helped cushion the blow. It is also worth noting that developing countries have been hit harder by the pandemic, and this has also had an impact on the solar industry in these regions.

In conclusion, while the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on job losses in the solar industry globally, the extent of the impact has varied across different regions.

Job Creation

The solar industry has certainly suffered significant job losses due to the impact of COVID-19. However, there are also new job opportunities that have emerged in response to the pandemic. One of the most notable areas of growth has been in the field of solar installation and maintenance. With many people spending more time at home due to lockdowns and social distancing measures, interest in residential solar panel installations has increased. This has led to a greater demand for solar technicians to install and maintain these systems. Additionally, as more businesses transition to remote work, there has been a surge in interest in solar-powered data centers and other energy-efficient technologies. This has created new job opportunities in the fields of engineering, project management, and sales.

Another area of job creation in the solar industry has been in research and development. With the need for more efficient and cost-effective solar technologies, there has been a push for new innovations in photovoltaics, energy storage solutions, and materials science. This has led to an increase in research and development jobs in both academia and the private sector.

Overall, while the solar industry has certainly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still new job opportunities emerging in response to changing consumer demands and innovative technological developments. As the industry continues to adapt and evolve, it will be important for workers to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in order to succeed in this dynamic and growing field.

Government Response

Policy Changes

One of the most significant factors affecting the solar industry and its jobs has been changes in government policies. The COVID pandemic has led to a shift in priorities for many governments, with some focusing their attention on economic recovery rather than environmental policies. In some cases, this has led to a reduction in government support for renewable energy sources such as solar. For example, the US government under the Trump administration instituted tariffs on solar panels and attempted to roll back incentives for renewable energy projects. This has had a negative impact on the industry and its jobs.

However, some governments have taken steps to support the solar industry during the COVID pandemic. For example, the European Union has included solar projects in its pandemic recovery plan, allocating funds for the development of renewable energy sources. This has helped to support the industry and its jobs during this challenging time. Similarly, the Chinese government has continued to prioritize its ambitious renewable energy targets, including solar, despite the economic challenges posed by the pandemic.

Another important policy change affecting the solar industry and its jobs has been the shift towards clean energy goals by many governments. For example, the Biden administration in the US has set a goal of achieving a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. This has led to increased support for renewable energy sources, including solar, as part of the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, this has created opportunities for job growth in the solar industry. Similarly, the UK government has set a target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and has been increasing its support for the renewable energy sector, including solar.

Overall, changes in government policies have had a significant impact on the solar industry and its jobs, both negatively and positively. The COVID pandemic has created a challenging economic environment, leading some governments to reduce their support for renewable energy sources. However, others have recognized the importance of transitioning to clean energy and have increased their support for the solar industry. Moving forward, continued government support and policies that prioritize renewable energy will be important for the growth of the solar industry and its jobs.

Financial Support

The financial support offered by governments to the solar industry is critical to maintaining jobs in the sector. The pandemic has hit many industries, including the solar industry, hard. Without financial support from the government, many solar companies would have struggled to survive during the pandemic. The US government has recognized the importance of the solar industry and has offered support to the industry in the form of tax credits, grants, and loans. This support has been critical to the success of many solar companies. In addition, the government has increased funding for research and development of new solar technologies.

This research will lead to more efficient and cost-effective solar panels, further boosting the growth of the industry. The UK government has also recognized the importance of the solar industry and has offered support in the form of feed-in-tariffs and renewable obligation certificates. These incentives have helped to create demand for solar energy and have helped to drive down the cost of solar panels. The Australian government has also offered support to the solar industry in the form of rebates and subsidies. These incentives have helped to promote the adoption of solar energy and have helped to drive down the cost of solar panels. The financial support offered by governments is critical to the success of the solar industry and its ability to sustain jobs during challenging times such as the current pandemic.

Future Outlook


After the decline in the solar industry due to COVID-19, it is expected to make a strong recovery. Although many solar companies had to face economic hardships, the industry is showing positive signs of a rebound. During the early days of the pandemic, society experienced supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, and restrictions associated with social distancing, which economically devastated many innovators and leaders in the solar industry. However, it is worth noting that the solar industry is well-positioned to recover fully in the medium-term. Impacted endowment cycles may result in a lag in demand, but they also create opportunities for new market entrants. Policymakers have provided essential support to the industry, offering attractive incentives, rebates, and grants. Such policies include direct funding, loan guarantees, tax credits, and accelerated depreciation. Such policies signal that the government is doubling down on a commitment to expand the use of renewable energy sources.

Since many countries around the world have pledged to go green and reduce the carbon footprint, the global solar industry is poised to benefit from government policies that would help it circumnavigate any economic difficulties. Experts predict that the recovery could be boosted by the upgraded regulatory environment, along with sustained government policymaking. Additionally, the increase in energy demand, the shift away from fossil fuels, and new technological advances in the solar industry could pave the way for the industry’s positive recovery and usher in a new era of job growth for the industry. The decline in oil prices along with the increasing efficiency of solar panels has paved the way for increased solar demand, as customers become more aware of the long-term benefits of investing in solar energy. Although the demand-equalled increased solar panels’ cost minimization in the short-term, increased demand could result in more jobs being created.

The recovery of the solar industry would have a ripple effect on job creation. The jobs created to support solar development would not be limited to installation. For instance, research and innovation required in solar technology and solar system design, installation, and maintenance also present good employment opportunities. Notably, solar jobs could get even more lucrative as the industry gets more developed, and Governments around the globe double down on the commitment to use cleaner sources of energy. A massive demand for competitive solar financing would arise, and regional economic bodies would increase investments in building more robust solar power infrastructure.

Long-term Impact

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the solar industry, and it remains to be seen how long the consequences will last. The pandemic has forced companies to make tough decisions, such as furloughing or laying off employees, and has caused project delays and cancellations. Unfortunately, the long-term impact is expected to be significant. One of the most significant impacts is reduced investment in the solar industry due to decreased demand. The global economic recession caused by COVID-19 has caused a decrease in investment, and it is unclear when investment will begin to recover. However, some experts predict that the industry may see a surge in demand once the pandemic is under control, and economies begin to recover. Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of sustainability and renewable energy sources, which could increase demand for solar energy in the long term. However, the future remains uncertain, and the industry will likely continue to face challenges in the coming years.

One potential long-term impact of COVID-19 on the solar industry is the shift towards automation and technology. The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards automation, which could lead to more efficient and cost-effective solar installations. Automation could also reduce the need for manual labor, which could have negative consequences for jobs in the solar industry. However, automation could also create new job opportunities, such as in the development and maintenance of automation technologies. Additionally, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of digital technologies, such as remote monitoring and maintenance, which could become more prevalent in the solar industry.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of supply chain resiliency. Many solar companies rely on global supply chains, which were disrupted by COVID-19. This has led to delayed projects and increased costs. In the long term, solar companies may seek to diversify their supply chains or even bring production in-house to reduce reliance on external suppliers. However, this could have significant cost implications and may not be feasible for all companies.

Another potential long-term impact of COVID-19 is the changing regulatory landscape. The pandemic has disrupted government and regulatory processes, which could have consequences for the solar industry. For example, delays in permitting processes could lead to delays in project timelines. Additionally, governments may shift their priorities in response to the pandemic, which could lead to changes in regulations and policies that affect the solar industry. It is unclear how these changes will impact the industry, but solar companies will need to remain vigilant and adaptable to navigate the shifting regulatory landscape.

In conclusion, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the solar industry, and its long-term consequences remain uncertain. While there are potential opportunities for the industry to rebound, such as increased demand for renewable energy and advancements in technology, there are also challenges such as decreased investment and supply chain disruptions. The industry will need to remain resilient and adaptable to navigate these challenges and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the impact of COVID on solar industry jobs?

COVID-19 has led to an increase in unemployment in many businesses and industries, and the solar industry is no exception. Many companies have experienced financial difficulties due to supply chain disruptions, social distancing measures, and reduced demand, resulting in layoffs and furloughs.

How has COVID affected the solar installation sector?

The solar installation sector has been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to social distancing, many installation projects have been delayed or canceled, resulting in decreased revenue for solar companies. Additionally, many solar installers have been forced to take leave or face layoffs, making it challenging for solar companies to maintain their workforce.

What steps are solar companies taking to mitigate the effects of COVID?

Solar companies are taking several steps to mitigate the effects of COVID on their business and employees. These measures include remote work arrangements, increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols, adoption of video conferencing and virtual project management tools, and providing personal protective equipment to employees.

Is the demand for solar energy decreasing due to COVID?

The demand for solar energy has decreased amidst the COVID-19 pandemic due to many factors such as decreased investment options, reduced demand, and decreased installation rates. However, many industry experts predict that the demand is likely to recover as the economy eventually returns to normalcy.

How has COVID affected the solar panel manufacturing industry?

COVID-19 has caused significant disruption in the global solar panel manufacturing industry. Many solar manufacturing companies have been impacted by supply chain issues, labor shortages, and decreased demand, leading to job losses and furloughs. This disruption has also resulted in delayed production and delivery of solar products.


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