Insights with John R Stone, Vice President, Solar Initiatives at Apex Clean Energy

Written By: Jen Neville
April 5, 2018

John R. Stone Vice President | Solar Initiatives, Apex Clean Energy John Stone is responsible for leading the strategic development and deployment of Apex Clean Energy’s solar portfolio. John joined Apex Clean Energy in January 2015 as the Director of Project Management, and he transitioned to his current role in January 2018 as Apex moved to enhance its solar investment. John also continues to manage the integration of development and execution functions for certain Apex wind projects. In his previous role at Apex, John managed the late-stage development, engineering, and construction for the 15.4 MWac solar project at Fort Hood, TX and 800 MW of constructed wind projects in Oklahoma and Texas. Prior to joining Apex, John served as a Senior VP of Project Management of Drax Biomass, the USA subsidiary of Drax Power of York, UK; VP of Project Management of Lincoln Clean Energy in Chicago; Director of Project Management for EDP Renewables North America’s business unit, formerly Horizon Wind Energy, in Houston; President of an Integrated Electrical Services business unit in Glen Burnie, MD and previously served as the domestic Vice President, At Risk Construction for URS Corporation based in Chattanooga. Tennessee. In these positions, he provided senior project management support for the development and construction of 160 MWac of solar projects, 700 MW of constructed wind projects, and multiple substation and transmission lines projects throughout the USA. John has a Master’s degree in business administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Trine University, Angola, IN.

Current Trends in the Corporate Offsite Market What is your expectation of the growth of corporate offtake agreements for solar in the next 2 years? Apex is receiving many requests from corporates and industrials for solar solutions to lower their energy bills and fulfill their renewable energy needs. We expect the C&I renewable market, solar and wind, to grow significantly in the next two years across the United States. These customers are looking to increase their renewable energy procurement to power data centers, factories, material processing plants, and a variety of other enterprises. What, if anything, can the solar industry do to expand the corporate offtake market? C&I customers generally expect to expand their energy usage and many of them are interested in incorporating renewable energy to lower their current energy costs. As a developer, Apex strives to provide cost efficient solutions to these C&I customers. We believe the renewable energy industry has a role to play as a subject matter expert for our customers. By listening to each customer, we can help them understand the solutions that exist to meet their unique energy delivery and cost requirements.

The Behind-the-Meter C&I Market What is your view on what models and strategies are needed to move the behind-the-meter C&I market forward? Apex had the opportunity to complete a unique behind-the-meter solar installation at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas in 2017, which taught us a lot about how to move the market forward. In this case, the Army could advance their on-site solar goals by complementing the project with the purchase of low-cost wind energy from an off-site wind facility. The cost-savings the Army could gain from the wind project subsidized the cost of the on-site solar. We think a similar strategy could be used by C&I customers with either wind energy or energy storage facilities, allowing flexibility in behind-the-grid solar plant sizing. How do you see this market evolving in the next 2 years? We expect behind-the-meter installations for the C&I market to become more prevalent as solar costs come down and the energy storage market evolves.

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Q&A with John R. Stone, Vice President of Solar Initiatives at Apex Clean Energy

Written By: Jen Neville

Stratton caught up with John R. Stone, Vice President of Solar Initiatives at Apex Clean Energy at the Solar F&I Summit in San Diego to briefly discuss current trends in the corporate offsite market and the behind-the-meter C&I Market

Behind-the-Meter C&I