FRI AM News: WisBusiness: the Podcast with Beau Engman, founder and president of PACE Equity; Solar for Good providing $150,000 in funding for new projects

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Beau Engman, founder and president of Milwaukee’s PACE Equity. 

This company helps developers secure capital for energy-efficient commercial building projects. PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a program that provides financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects linked to residential and commercial properties. 

“Let’s say on average we provide about 10 to 20 percent of a total development project’s funds, and that’s generally replacing more expensive equity in the capital stack,” he said. 

Engman discusses the growth in the energy-efficient building market, the company’s role in the industry, as well as projects PACE Equity has helped get off the ground. 

He explains in the world of energy efficiency, “energy savings alone are really not that compelling” to get developers to make a highly sustainable facility. 

“Yes, they’re there, and they can be really attractive, but it’s not enough to really change behavior,” he said. “And we need to change the behavior. Because if you look at the building codes … we are definitely not tracking to meet our national goals in terms of carbon reduction.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

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— RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good program will be providing $150,000 in funding and material donations for solar installations at nonprofits. 

The statewide renewable energy advocacy group administers the program with funding provided by the Couillard Solar Foundation. The foundation provides recipients with up to half of the solar panels needed for their project, or up to 20 percent of the cost of the array for monetary grant recipients, a release shows. 

Since launching in 2017, the program has awarded grants to 118 nonprofit groups that have constructed at least 120 solar arrays, per the release. The program says the over $1.1 million in grants it’s provided to nonprofits has led to nearly $10 million in renewable energy projects. 

“Smaller-scale solar projects, like these, demonstrate how organizations can lower their utility bills, reduce strain on our electric grid, and help reduce emissions,” said Sam Dunaiski, distributed resources director at RENEW Wisconsin.

Applications for the latest grant cycle are due May 1, and recipients will be announced June 1.

See the release: 

— UW-Madison has hired former Foxconn executive Alan Yeung as a professor of practice for entrepreneurship. 

Yeung, an alumnus of the university’s College of Engineering, will focus on entrepreneurship efforts within the college as well as in the School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences and the College of Letters and Science. He starts in the new role today. 

Along with his experience leading Foxconn’s Wisconsin project development, Yeung is an entrepreneur and holds multiple U.S. patents, according to a release from the university. 

“My goal is to develop best practices in innovation that will encourage and motivate inventors having technology ideas to explore the viability and feasibility of commercializing their technology,” he said in the release. 

See the release: 

— The Department of Natural Resources has identified cases of avian influenza in wild birds. 

The avian flu is considered highly contagious and often fatal to domestic birds such as chickens. 

The strain of the avian flu was found in a Cooper’s hawk and a bald eagle in Dane County, a type of duck in Columbia County, a red-tailed hawk in Grant County, a Canada goose in Milwaukee County and a trumpeter swan in Polk County. 

A DNR release shows the initial results came from the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center and were confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory over the past several days. 

The results come about two weeks after DATCP announced the strain was detected among domestic poultry in Jefferson County. According to the release, it was first detected in North America in December 2021 and has infected domestic and wild birds in several states since then. 

As monitoring efforts continue, the DNR is asking the public to report sightings of wild birds showing symptoms such as tremors, circling movements or holding their heads in unusual positions. 

See the release: 

— The Department of Health Services is backing the CDC’s move to allow a second dose of COVID-19 boosters for adults aged 50 or older. 

Federal officials this week announced their approval for a second booster dose for these adults as well as certain immunocompromised individuals over age 12. In a release yesterday, DHS said it “strongly recommends” that all eligible people get at least one booster vaccine dose as soon as possible. 

The agency says people who had received a booster were 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19 during the recent omicron surge compared to the unvaccinated, and were seven times less likely to be hospitalized. 

“The latest research suggests that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine against severe outcomes is reduced over time in adults ages 50 and older, as well as immunocompromised individuals,” said Stephanie Schauer, immunization program manager for the DHS Division of Public Health. “So, this second booster dose could help increase protection for these higher-risk individuals.”

See the release: 

— A team of UW-Madison scientists are testing bats in North America for the COVID-19 virus as part of a pandemic surveillance effort. 

Tony Goldberg, a researcher in the UW School of Veterinary Science, and members of his lab are capturing bats to test them for the presence of the virus, which is suspected to have originated from bats in China. 

According to a release from the university, if bats are infected with the virus, they could pass it back to humans and extend the pandemic. Research efforts are ongoing, but haven’t yet detected the virus in bats in the southwestern United States, the release shows. 

The testing effort is focused on bats migrating from South America to New Mexico and other areas in the region, due to the diversity of the animals as well as their close proximity to humans. 

“The idea that viruses can move in either direction — from people to animals or animals to people — is important to understand,” Goldberg said in the release. 

Other organizations including the National Wildlife Health Center and USDA are conducting similar investigations, the release shows. 

A recent article in the scientific journal Nature found the COVID-19 virus has infected deer populations and is spreading between them. The release notes that while “transmission back from deer to humans has not been demonstrated conclusively, early results suggest that it might be happening.” 

See the release: 

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# Wisconsin’s economic growth among the slowest in the country in 2021

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# Why Oshkosh Corp. didn’t build USPS vehicles in a Foxconn facility in Mount Pleasant



– National Dairy Board nominations sought


– Old National Bank moving downtown Milwaukee office to high-profile office building

– Old National Bank to lease entire 8th Floor of Huron Building, open bank on ground floor


– The remaking of Downtown Racine’s streets is to begin next month


– Avian influenza found in wild birds in Wisconsin, DNR says


– Chipotle, Panera Bread planned at site of vacant gas station in West Bend


– On the level: Exploring the future of health care design

– Madison mental health response program now citywide

– Rock County health report identifies mental health, access to care as key focus areas


– Clarke hired as new executive VP, COO of Equity Co-op

– Anne Reed to retire as Wisconsin Humane Society’s president and CEO


– Sen. Baldwin: Ag funding bill to aid Wisconsin projects


– Winning pitch: Hammes Partners raises $739M for latest health care real estate fund

– Hammes Partners raises $739 million through latest health care real estate fund

– 100 East tower hits the market as owner pursues sale to resolve foreclosure

– Unique package protection service coming to Corners of Brookfield


– Kohl’s criticizes activist investor Macellum as seeking quick sale ‘at any price’


– Nola & Jacks offering free, first-time services for transgender clients


– What we know about the Man City-Bayern soccer match at Lambeau Field


– State regulators approve $171M gas plant near Wausau despite objections to the project


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

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