Brightergy expands beyond Missouri — but stays true to its roots

 

Brightergy employees install a solar canopy In Kansas City's West Bottoms district. (Photo courtesy of Brightergy)

Brightergy employees install a solar canopy In Kansas City’s West Bottoms district. (Photo courtesy of Brightergy)

(Editor’s note: For an April 2015 op-ed by Brightergy’s Paul Snider, please click here. And for E2’s recent Clean Jobs Missouri report, where this profile was originally published, please see here.)

Brightergy was formed in October 2010 when energy entrepreneur Adam Blake purchased the assets of a small alternative energy business called The Energy Savings Store. By growing the company from just a few initial workers to the 80-plus employees who make up Brightergy today, Blake has guided the company through a wave of extensive growth – including expansion into the Northeast, opening an office in Boston, and completion of more than 1,200 solar projects. As one of the country’s largest solar providers, Brightergy launched a $100 million strategic alliance with Black & Veatch in 2013 to develop commercial solar PV systems in the greater Kansas City area and throughout the country.

Brightergy’s initial growth in Missouri was largely fueled by the state’s utility rebate program, passed into law by Proposition C in 2008. But in response to an uncertain incentive environment, the company has increased the diversity of its offerings. Blake describes his long-term vision of the company as a full-service energy provider specializing in providinginsight into their clients’ energy demand and utilizing that insight to identify opportunities to manage risk and control costs. The abrupt cancellation of the utility rebate program has been one of Brightergy’s biggest challenges, but Blake expressed optimism about upcoming energy efficiency opportunities driven by the EPA Clean Power Plan – a policy he hopes will usher in a new era of market certainty.

Meanwhile, the company continues to grow, enabling businesses to benefit in a myriad of ways. “You see business owners act like little kids as their [solar] system comes online,” said Rachel Simmons, Brand Communications Manager. “There’s a feel-good aspect to it.” Blake talks about a future “energy democracy” where building owners generate and manage energy at the distribution level through technology such as battery storage systems and demand management. And Brightergy has brought its work home in the meantime: one of the company’s earliest projects was a 50 kilowatt solar PV array at Rockhurst High School, Blake’s alma mater.

–Environmental Entrepreneurs