The number of jobs in the German renewables industry decreased last year, pushed lower by a collapse in the solar sector where every second job was lost within a year amid a rapid fall in feed-in tariffs (FITs), new government data shows.
Jobs in all renewables receded to 371,400 in 2013 from 399,800 in 2012, according to a study by the German institute for economic research DIW and others that was commissioned by the ministry for economics and energy.
In PV, jobs plunged to 56,000 from 100,300 a year earlier, while they fell to 11,400 in solar thermal from 12,200 before, and to 1,100 from 1,400 in solar thermal power plants.
"The decline in PV employment shows that the uncontrolled build-up of renewable energies in the past years wasn't sustainable," says state secretary for energy, Rainer Baake.
The government says the halving of solar jobs comes as PV installation also halved last year in Germany, while the industry still is mostly geared towards the home market.
"The balance is bitter and in great part due to excessive cuts to support in recent years," says Carsten Körnig, general manager for the solar industry federation BSW.
The government stresses that while solar jobs were lost, employment in the wind industry rose.
In onshore wind, the number of employed rose to 119,000 in 2013 from 104,000 in 2012, while offshore wind jobs rose to 18,800 last year from 17,800 a year earlier.