How can product leaders fight climate change with innovation? The scale and urgency of the transformation required to fight climate change has never been more clear. Building hardware and software products, acquiring the funding and creating a diverse community to enhance talent capacity and to drive innovation, is essential to tackling this global environmental crisis. In this podcast, host and Silicon Valley Bank (a division of First Citizens Bank) Product Director Maggie Wong, will be interviewing SolaBlock CEO Eric Planey to discuss how his roots in Ohio led him to Climate Tech, how SolaBlock is building integrated and durable products to revolutionize construction tech, and how product management expertise is crucial to innovation and delivery of new climate technologies.
- Eric Planey is the CEO of SolaBlock, a company that embeds solar panels into cement blocks.
- SolaBlock’s product has undergone testing and received UL certification
- Eric grew up in Youngstown, Ohio near steel mills and experienced pollution firsthand.
- He has a background in banking and economic development.
- 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.
- SolaBlock’s product has potential longevity of 40 years with only 20% degradation.
- SolaBlock is opening a factory in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
- New York and Massachusetts are leaders in green building policies.
- The built environment sector is important for climate change solutions.
- SolaBlock is raising a $3 million Series A.
- They will establish regional facilities around the US to distribute their product.
- SolaBlock is working with RPI University on research projects.
- Their next generation product may use a zero carbon cement.
- SolaBlock wants to test their product’s resilience during hurricanes.
- Over 100 million buildings need retrofitting for efficiency in the US.
- Incremental progress is needed in climate solutions while technology advances.
- Startups, universities, and large companies need to collaborate.
- Perseverance is key for climate tech product managers.
- Policy commitments need to be backed by real action.
- Private sector investment and enthusiasm is helping drive progress.
About the speaker
Eric Planey joined SolaBlock as CEO in September 2021. He has 25+ years of international banking and economic development experience, with a focus on industrial, automotive, aerospace, and energy industries. Eric is a proud graduate of Bowling Green State University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In 2015 Eric completed NYU’s inaugural Energy Finance program in their School of Professional Studies. He is currently co-host of the Pirates of CleanTech podcast, and a board member of the City Parks Foundation in New York City.
About the host
Maggie is an accomplished product management leader with over 15 years of experience in driving product strategy, managing customer journey, identifying global user needs and leading cross-functional teams. Outside of her current role as Director of Product Management, she is also experienced in increasing program impact, growing community reach and implementing DEI initiatives at travel and fintech non-profits. Maggie is passionate about making a social impact for the next generation, tackling climate change and traveling. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and a beginner in Spanish.