Clean Jobs Missouri presents an in-depth look at clean energy employment in Missouri. It is based on data from survey research conducted by BW Research, a national leader in workforce and economic development research.

Clean Jobs Missouri shows that while the clean energy sector is a significant employer in the state, and that it has benefited from successful state-level policies, it falls far short of its potential to drive economic growth and add jobs.


Clean energy – defined as renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative transportation, and greenhouse gas management and accounting – is a significant and growing cluster in Missouri, yet the Show-Me State has only scratched the surface of its potential.


It’s clean transportation like electric vehicles that can travel from Saint Louis to Kansas City on a single charge or advanced biofuels grown from feedstock in places like Johnson County.


It’s energy efficiency measures like improved insulation in our homes that keep us warm during Saint Joseph winters or windows that block the sun’s heat during long summers in the Bootheel.


It’s managing and accounting for greenhouse gas emissions.


It’s renewable energy like the solar panels on the schools in our communities or the wind turbines on our farmers’ fields in northwestern Missouri.

The Missouri clean energy industry – defined as renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced transportation, and greenhouse gas emissions management and accounting – employs nearly 40,000 workers at more than 4,400 clean energy businesses.




The population of Illinois (12.88 million) is exactly twice as large as Missouri’s (6.44 million). Yet Missouri has less than half – 41 percent – as many clean energy jobs as our eastern neighbor.


The population of Massachusetts is comparable to Missouri, and we have almost 7 TIMES the renewable power generating potential (according to NREL), yet we have LESS THAN HALF as many clean energy workers.

There are 6 wind farms in NW Missouri.

Newly announced wind farms include the 100 MW Hawthorne Wind Farm and the 49 MW High Prairie Wind Energy Project.

With so much generating potential, and with only 2.2% of Missouri’s clean energy workers, there’s lots of opportunity to grow the Show-Me State’s wind energy workforce.

Enacted in 2008, Missouri’s renewables standard requires 15 percent renewables and energy efficiency statewide by 2021.

Utilities are just beginning their own energy-saving programs. Ameren Missouri’s programs saved enough energy in 2013 alone to power 25,000 homes in a year.

With the federal Clean Power Plan presenting Missouri with a big opportunity to create more clean jobs – almost 4,000 direct jobs in energy efficiency alone by 2020 due to the CPP – it’s time to put the pedal to the metal with state energy policy.


Missouri’s large energy efficiency workforce - 32,000 STRONG – means the state is positioned to unlock savings in thousands of large commercial buildings

Energy efficiency measures like weatherization, energy use monitoring, adding insulation, etc. could save K.C. building owners $50 MILLION annually in energy costs

Kansas City has taken a big step in saving money on energy bills by joining the CITY ENERGY PROJECT and committing to reduce the amount of electricity used in K.C. by 5 PERCENT BY 2030


In April 2011, three men from Chesterfield, Missouri, formed Ideal Energy Solutions, an energy consulting firm catering to utilities. As they gained experience with commercial energy efficiency incentives, they saw a big discrepancy between the energy efficiency incentives utilities were offering, and the number of consumers actually taking advantage of those incentives. “Plain and simple, we saw a big need in Missouri of people wanting to save energy, but not knowing how,” said Wes Tucker, an Ideal Energy principal. Leveraging prior relationships in the consumer retail sector, Ideal Energy’s found- ers began exploring other opportunities performing building retrofit projects featuring efficient lighting products.In June 2012, this morphed into a new business of its own: One3 LED.

“Christian principles purvey into everything we do,”  – Wes Tucker, principal, One3 LED

One3 LED’s unique name comes from the company founders’ Christian faith – the title references Genesis 1:3: “And the Lord said, let there be light.” “Christian principles purvey into everything we do,” Tucker said. Tucker cites a Christian Land Ethic that motivates sustainable practices across the company. Not only does One3 LED market energy efficient products, the business also walks the walk by limiting plant energy consumption through the integration of automated controls for environmental systems, minimizing paper consumption by emphasizing digital text platforms, and practicing active recycling policies.

One3 LED partners with retail, commercial, transportation sector, and petroleum service clients. The company performs lighting audits and designs turnkey lighting solutions, partnering exclusively with U.S. manufacturers. “U.S.-made prod- ucts, those are the best out there in our industry,” Tucker said. One of One3’s largest endeavors is staying out in front of industry technology trends. “LED product technology changes every single day,” said project manager Michael Dorwart. Tucker added: “Most contractors, they don’t want to have to figure this stuff out.” At the same time, Tucker said growing customer awareness is a boon for the industry. “Over the last five years, we’ve seen energy efficiency become more and more socially acceptable,” he said. “In the last year alone, we’ve seen a huge increase in people who say, ‘Oh, why not LED?’ ”

This growing consumer education has dramatically impacted sales: In the first two quarters of 2014, One3 LED has already done more businesses than it did all of last year.

–Environmental Entrepreneurs

While clean energy is traditionally less diverse by gender, race, and ethnicity than the overall workforce, recent hires demonstrate more diversity in Missouri.


About 39 percent of new hires over the past year are racial or ethnic minorities.

More than TWO TIMES the state’s overall percentage of minorities.

From Navy SEALs and Air Force fighter pilots to Army soldiers and Marines, returning veterans are increasingly finding good jobs in clean energy.


Veterans understand the value of clean energy – for our economy and for our national security.




About 14 percent of new clean energy hires in Missouri are veterans.


Installations like the Army’s Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base have both invested in clean energy and energy efficiency measures – saving taxpayer money and creating jobs.

Brightergy was formed in October 2010 when 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+ 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.

“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.”

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 providing insight 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


According to NREL, Missouri has enough solar resources to meet much of its energy needs.


Yet state leaders can do much more to expand Missouri’s solar industry.


That would mean more jobs. Of the 6,000+ Missourians who work in renewables, the majority – more than 3,700 – work in the state’s solar industry.


When orthopedic surgeon Dane Glueck evaluated putting a solar array on his St. Louis rooftop in 2006, one of the first questions he researched was where to find certified solar installers. To Glueck’s dismay, Missouri had no NABCEP-certified installers—a designation that’s the industry’s gold standard. In response, Glueck took matters into his own hands. He took the qualifying exam himself and became the state’s first NABCEP installer. As Glueck installed the final panel on his own residential system, an interested neighbor began asking questions about the economics of residential solar and whether it made sense to put an array up on his own rooftop. Recognizing a business opportunity, StraightUp Solar was born.

StraightUps’s workforce is full of compelling stories. Mike Hornitschek, the company’s strategic development director, served for 23 years in the Air Force, ascending to the rank of Commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, before recognizing the geopolitics of resource security was driving America’s overseas military operations. “Once the energy epiphany seizes you, you can’t unsee it,” Hornitschek said. “The greatest risk to my kids having a quality of life greater than or equal to my own is energy insecurity. I feel like I’m on a mission in my second career to enable this, however I can.”

“Back home, mining is what people do. The clean air, it took me a while to get used to. All my friends are so passionate about mining … I’d love to see them make the same transition I have.” – Matt Reuscher, former Illinois miner who now installs solar panels on Missouri Rooftops

Or see Matt Reuscher, an Illinois coal miner who was laid off in spring 2012 after a deep drought caused his local mine to scale back production. Now, Reuscher installs rooftop systems for StraightUp. “Back home, mining is what people do,” Reuscher said. “The clean air, it took me a while to get used to,” he chuckled, recalling his first workday on a roof. “All my friends are so passionate about mining … I’d love to see them make the same transition I have.”

Like many Missouri-based solar companies, StraightUp faces challenges in the Missouri market since local utilities canceled the consumer rebate program. But StraightUp has responded by diversifying into a new efficient lighting product line and expanding operations into southern Illinois. StraightUp’s employees are far from discouraged. “People are talking now about where the energy comes from and why that’s important,” said Erin Noble, director of staff. “The growth and maturation of the industry has been really exciting to see.”

–Environmental Entrepreneurs



More than one-third of Missouri’s clean energy firms and workers are found in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Kansas City is home to 22% of Missouri’s clean energy employment, while the rest of Missouri is where 42% of the state’s jobs can be found.

St. Louis 1,653 14,459 37%
Kansas City 936 8,507 22%
Rest of Missouri 1,820 16,450 42%
Total 4,409 39,416 100%


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