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Will Wiseman: Helping Fund Community-Based Solar Projects

Will Wiseman: Helping Fund Community-Based Solar Projects


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Will Wiseman, co-founder and CEO of Climatize. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Will! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing at Climatize?

Will: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Many people feel like climate change is an urgent problem but they feel powerless to make a difference. There's a huge problem where people want to use their money to make a difference but don't know how because of greenwashing. At the same time, there's a shortage of funding for solar projects below USD 5 million, since banks focus on utility-scale projects (over USD 100 million) and solar power for our homes (below USD 50,000). Now with Climatize, anyone can invest in fighting climate change by funding solar projects in their community with as little as USD 10!

Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?

Will: On September 29, 2019, led by Greta Thunberg, Fridays For Future staged a global climate strike in which millions of people in hundreds of cities took to the streets to protest for climate action. My future co-founder and I joined the strikes on the main street of Barcelona where over 100,000 people had gathered. Students led the charge while parents and grandparents marched behind with their grandchildren. There was hope and motivation on everyone’s faces. In that inspiring moment, I stood up on a bench to look out over this sea of people and as I took in this sight, I was struck by a sad realizationwe will all go home and tomorrow, nothing will be different. If our best option is to make a cardboard signthat’s a glaring problem.

Spiffy: How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?

Will: Climatize's objective is to facilitate over USD 1 billion per year of investments in renewable energy projects.

Spiffy: That’s great! Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Will: Since launching in May 2023, Climatize has transformed everyday Americans into active stakeholders in the energy transition, facilitating over USD 2 million of investments to fund five solar projects benefitting a low-income community in Massachusetts, a Shakespeare Theatre, a synagogue battling rising energy costs in New Jersey, a family-owned hardware store, and a rural chicken farm in Tennessee. Over their lifetime, these five projects are projected to avoid 11,303 metric tons of CO2 which is equivalent to 28,975,792 miles driven by the average gasoline-powered car (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2023).

Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?

Will: In high school, I thought I was destined to go to an Ivy League college. I had played Junior Olympic sports, had a 4.0 GPA, and had a good SAT. However, I was rejected by every one of them. That experience gave me the chip on my shoulder that I still carry to prove the world wrong. Now, I've gone on to achieve far more than I would have if everything had turned out as planned. Education isn't about the name on the diploma. It's about how you engage with the experience. I've realized that the titles don't matter. There are even slackers at Harvard. What matters is a passion for your field, coupled with finding what you're good at. Combine those two, and you can achieve anything!

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Will: I suggest creating a personal mission outlining the principles upon which your "best self" will act, early on in your life. Defining this early in life and checking in with it when you reach a crossroads or major decision will help you act based on the version of who you aspire to be. Over time those principles will become muscle memory and help you become that version of yourself that you aspire to be. My personal mission has 22 principles that I know by heart.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Will—it’s been an honor!

Will Wiseman has a ten-year track record in renewable energy, particularly solar, with experience in every role, including finance, engineering, project management, and construction, where he has built 15 solar systems. As the co-founder and CEO of Climatize, Will facilitated over USD 2 million of community solar project finance in five states. He holds a double MSc in renewable energy engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology. (First published on the Ladderworks website on February 16, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.