Bangladesh has been able to create the sixth largest renewable energy-related workforce in the world in 2013, which is as large as that of Spain, a study said.
In the last 10 years, the number of solar-powered homes in Bangladesh has jumped from 25,000 to 2.8 million, said a report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This created some 114,000 jobs, for assembling solar panels and selling, installing and maintaining them.
The number of solar-power related jobs nearly doubled between 2011 and 2013.
“The numbers are set to increase further due to higher installation rate,” said the Dubai based intergovernmental organisation in its latest annual review.
The increase is expected despite the fact that 62 percent of the population have access to the national power grid as of September 2013. In 2009, only 47 percent had this access, according to data from the Power Division.
Solar power is increasingly becoming a way to leapfrog the need to build a bigger power grid.
Bangladesh was able to generate those jobs mainly due to a growing popularity of solar home systems, said Mahmood Malik, chief executive of the Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL).
The IDCOL's programme of solar home systems has itself created around 50,000 green jobs directly and indirectly in the country, he said, adding that a strong backward linkage industry has already developed centring their programme.
IDCOL, with financial support from the World Bank, started the programme in 2003.
“Regional shift from developed to emerging countries continued in wind and solar technologies, predominantly in the manufacturing and installation segments of the value chain,” the IRENA report stated.
Solar photovoltaic and wind power remain the most dynamic renewable energy technologies.
Solar energy accounted for 2.3 million of the world's 6.5 million renewable energy-related jobs in 2013, which was 5.7 million jobs in 2012, according to the report.
China remains the largest employer in the renewable energy sector with 2.6 million people working in renewable energy.
In 2013, the installation of 13 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic cemented China's position in solar power globally. The Chinese solar photovoltaic value chain employed 1.6 million people that year.
Brazil is the second largest green job generator with 894,000 people employed in renewable energy jobs in 2013. About 70 percent of those positions are related to biofuel production.
The United States came in third with 625,000 renewable energy jobs. Solar, wind and biofuels accounted for most of those jobs.
India employed nearly 400,000 people in green-energy jobs.
Germany remains the dominant force in Europe, despite having suffered some job losses. The latest statistics from 2013 indicate that the country has 371,000 direct and indirect green jobs.
Once a renewable energy pioneer, Spain has been hit hard by the economic crisis, and adverse policy changes continue to damage employment prospects there.
Spain employed 114,000 people in green-energy jobs. Altogether, the country lost about 23,700 jobs in the renewable energy sector between 2008 and 2012.