The types of jobs in the energy access context vary from those typical of the modern” energy sector. In the context of distributed renewable energy (DRE), Platform partner Power for All distinguishes between direct, indirect and induced jobs in either the formal or informal sector:
- Direct, formal jobs are those created through contractual engagement with an incorporated company in the DRE sector. Examples include people employed in the sales and installation of equipment such as solar PV panels, biogas facilities, or improved cook stoves, IT professionals involved in operating PAYGO businesses, minigrid project managers, and others.
- Direct, informal jobs are informal jobs created through contractual or non-contractual engagement with an incorporated company in the DRE sector. Informal employment in the sector include various arrangements, including people involved in product retail (such as commissioned sales agents).
- Indirect jobs are the formal and informal jobs created by vendors and suppliers who serve the DRE sector upstream or provide services for day-to-day operations. For example, the jobs created by an inverter manufacturer or an importer who supplies DRE companies are indirect.
- Induced jobs are created as workers in the DRE sector spend their salaries on goods and services throughout the economy. For example, during the construction of a mini-grid plant, induced jobs are created for food vendors and water fetchers at the construction site.
In the energy access context, there is another category in addition to direct, indirect, and induced employment:
- Productive use jobs are created by the DRE end users themselves as a result of newly gained or enhanced energy access. Power for All defines productive use as any income-generating application of a DRE product or service. An example in the agricultural sector is jobs created by the purchase of a solar milling plant. Another example concerns communications, given the synergies between improved energy access through DRE and the spread of mobile phones and mobile money in developing economies. Further, as Platform partner GOGLA points out, “indirect jobs are being created in other sectors through linkages with local suppliers for services such as transport, construction, recruitment, insurance and telecoms.”