Solar energy sector could revolutionise the employment sphere

The renewable energy revolution is already happening. As numbers of users and technologies are on a constant rise, the impact is broadening daily, affecting different aspects of our lives including environmental, social, financial, and much more.

As Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA said a few weeks ago: “Beyond climate goals, governments are prioritizing renewables as a driver of low-carbon economic growth in recognition of the numerous employment opportunities created by the transition to renewables.”

According to La Camera, “renewables deliver on all main pillars of sustainable development – environmental, economic and social. As the global energy transformation gains momentum, this employment dimension reinforces the social aspect of sustainable development and provides yet another reason for countries to commit to renewables.”

La Camera’s words were part of a special report published by the agency recently, reviewing and analyzing the employment opportunities created by the growing sector around the world.

According to the report, more than 11 million people are already employed worldwide, with the field of solar energy directly in-charge of  a third of the total jobs.  While Asia, America, and Europe are still leading with high numbers, Africa is speeding up: in 2018, 110,000 full-time employees were employed in the field, and those numbers are expected to multiply by 5, to over 550,000 by 2022.

At Ignite Power, local employment is not just a side effect: it is a core value, a goal we keep pursuing in every market we enter. We invest a lot of resources into training and developing our employees, as we believe that local employment is a two-way street, benefiting both the company and the country.

A great example of this is the story of Jean Bosco Mutsindashyaka. We are very proud to have him as part of our Ignite family since 2016: he was first recruited as a village agent in Rwamagana District of Rwanda and demonstrated extremely high ambition and outstanding personal qualities.

Over two years, he was promoted 5 times, getting more and more responsibilities. Today, he is Ignite Power’s Operation Officer in the District, responsible for thousands of customers and hundreds of agents.

When asked what he misses the most about working in an on-field position, he says: “my favorite part of work was to resolve a customer’s problem. Nowadays, I am focused on recruiting, guiding new agents, distributing stock, and more. There’s no other filling like walking door to door to recover a system”.

Mutsindashyaka’s passion is admirable, and can’t be taught. When asked for his message to young people starting their careers he says,”They need to work hard, be patient, and be honest. Nothing other than that”.

Ignite Power’s family has more than 3,000 local employees, working in five different countries throughout Africa. These employees are one of the core reasons for the company’s success, and the main engine for future growth.

As the IRENA report states, in the coming years we expect to see many more employees joining the company and the field, as the renewable energy revolution will spread, bringing more impact on every aspect: environmental, economic and social.

The writer is the founder of Ignite Power, a solar power firm in Rwanda.

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