WED AM News: PACE Equity looks to continue growth by targeting new markets; WisBusiness: the Show with Barb LaMue of the NEW North

— After tripling its revenue last year to $300 million, a Milwaukee firm called PACE Equity aims to continue growing by gaining a foothold in areas where the PACE financing tool is newly available. 

That’s according to Beau Engman, the firm’s founder and president. In a recent interview, he discussed how his company provides capital to developers looking to build energy-efficient commercial buildings.

“We’re experts in leveraging this legislative program and helping customers optimize their design to maximize funding and their return on investment,” he said. 

PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, provides financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects linked to commercial or residential properties. A U.S. Department of Energy website shows the program allows property owners to finance the up-front cost of projects and pay the associated costs over time through a voluntary assessment. 

“The whole PACE industry did about $1.3 billion last year, which is about twice what it was the year before that,” Engman said. “So the industry itself is growing pretty well.” 

He explained the PACE program exists in about 30 states — including Wisconsin — and a number of cities are now authorizing its use. 

“So you have new markets coming online like New York, like Las Vegas, like Philadelphia just came online, Chicago just came online,” he said. “What our goal is at PACE Equity is to have a local presence in all these markets, so that helps fuel our growth. We’re working directly with the local community.” 

The firm has about 15 employees at its Milwaukee corporate office, while another 20 workers are based in cities around the country to facilitate those efforts, he said. 

As part of its growth strategy, PACE Equity recently launched a new financing option called CIRRUS Low Carbon, which aims to provide lower-cost capital for buildings with a smaller carbon footprint. He said the company partnered with the national New Buildings Institute to develop a specification providing a framework for low-carbon buildings. 

By meeting that specification, clients can obtain funding “at a much lower cost” through this new option, he said. 

“We think that’s going to fuel our growth dramatically, as there’s no other product like it in the market today,” he said. 

— In the latest episode of “ The Show,” Barb LaMue of NEW North Inc. talks about economic growth throughout northeastern Wisconsin and new business development. 

LaMue is the president and CEO of the 18-county organization. 

Also in this edition, Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still recaps the March 14 Tech Summit at Lambeau Field and highlights recent public policy initiatives. 

Watch the show here: 

— Gov. Tony Evers as part of National Agriculture Day signed a bill to invest nearly $900,000 to promote dairy exports in his hometown of Plymouth. 

The bill allows the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to use unused money intended for rural development loans to provide grants supporting dairy exports. The guv said he was proud to sign the legislation and emphasized the dairy industry’s importance in the state.

“Our dairy industry is not only core to our economy, but it’s core to who we are as a state,” Evers said. “This bipartisan legislation builds on our work to expand and increase our dairy exports so folks around the globe can experience the high-quality dairy products we know and love produced right here in Wisconsin.”

See the release:

— Madison officials and RENEW Wisconsin have launched the city’s seventh annual residential solar group buy program. 

The MadiSUN program helps homeowners in the area install solar systems. Since 2016, the program has facilitated about $3.5 million in solar energy investments, according to a release. More than 200 homes in Madison have installed solar systems through the program, the release shows. 

Stacie Reece, sustainability program coordinator for the city, says each installation furthers Madison’s renewable energy goals. 

“The MadiSUN program helps make it easy for residents to select an installer and get a cost-effective and high-quality solar system for their home,” she said in the release. 

Local firms Arch Solar and Full Spectrum Solar will be designing and installing arrays for those who join the program. Stanley Minnick, head of sales for Arch Solar, notes the federal Investment Tax Credits program can cover 26 percent of the cost of installing a solar system through the end of the year. 

“This will likely be a record-setting year for residential solar,” Minnick said in the release. 

MadiSUN is administered by the nonprofit renewable energy advocacy group RENEW Wisconsin on behalf of the city. Loans for the program are provided by an Iowa bank called greenpenny and the Colorado-based Clean Energy Credit Union. 

See the release: 

— ND Paper says it will expand the capacity of its Biron mill by converting a production machine from coated mechanical papers to recycled packaging products. 

The company is the U.S. subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper Limited based in China. Its U.S. operations are based in Illinois, with another mill located in Maine. 

According to a release from the company, the Biron facility currently operates two paper production lines with a total annual capacity of about 530,000 tons. 

One paper machine produces about 270,000 tons each year of corrugating medium and linerboard for packaging, while the other produces about 260,000 tons annually of lightweight coated mechanical papers, used in products such as catalogs and magazines. 

Once the conversion process is complete, the company says the second machine will be able to produce over 500,000 tons of packaging paper, bringing the facility’s overall capacity to over 800,000 tons. As part of that transition, the company says it will modify the machine and construct a new recycling facility to provide pulp used in the production process.

Construction is set to begin by the end of the month and is expected to be completed by year’s end, the release shows. 

ND Paper says demand for packaging materials has “experienced substantial growth” due to higher demand for e-commerce and more sustainable products. 

See the release:

— COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison will be closing April 3, Dane County health officials announced. 

In line with the statewide trend, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining in Dane County following the peak of the omicron surge in January, according to the Public Health Madison & Dane County dashboard. 

“As we have done throughout the COVID pandemic, we are simply adjusting our response to meet the current needs of our community,” Janel Heinrich, director of PHMDC, said in a release. 

The release shows more than 450,000 tests and 111,000 vaccines have been provided at the facility since May 2020. The agency says it will continue providing these services at other clinic sites in Madison, as well as through weekly mobile vaccination clinics. 

See details about remaining testing and vaccination options here: 

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# American Family Children’s Hospital nurses plead for more help in neonatal ICU

# NCAA tournament sets weekend revenue records for Fiserv Forum

# Haribo hiring 100 employees to work at Pleasant Prairie factory



– State milk production rebounds in February


– Schaefer chosen as WFBF’s Ag in the Classroom coordinator

– UW-La Crosse program offers teachers pathway to become school psychologist without leaving the classroom


– DNR: More groundwater released by pipeline aquifer ruptures


– COVID-19 testing, vaccination clinics at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center to close next month

– COVID testing and vaccine clinics at Alliant Energy Center to close April 3

– With COVID still out there, immunocompromised in Wisconsin worry about life after mask mandates


– Veterans in local cell tower apprenticeship can now use G.I. Bill funds


– Owners of $492M power line appeal federal judge’s ruling that blocks project’s Mississippi River crossing


– Henkels hired as DBA, Edge Co-op managing director

– Zilber exec Kersey retires, industrial leader Chad Navis becomes vice president


– Owner mum on why MKE Brewing Co. being put up for sale

– Rehrig Pacific to expand Pleasant Prairie facility


– 10 years after on-air seizure, former Madison anchor advocates epilepsy awareness


– Idled Trempealeau County frac sand mine has been purchased by Smart Sand Inc.


– Milwaukee Habitat gifted $5.75 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott


– Coworking office company Expansive takes over Mayfair Collection space

– With Quarles & Brady reducing its office space, brokers work to attract new tenants, add amenities to 411 East Wisconsin Center


– What’s the likelihood that ‘select bidders’ will make a serious run at Kohl’s?

– The Buzz: Cellcom changing store lineup in Appleton, Grand Chute


– Dane County asks residents to complete broadband access survey


– Xcel starts $50M upgrade of hydroelectric dam near Menomonie


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

City of Madison: Launches residential solar program

Fox Valley Elevator: Acquires assets of Waupaca Elevator Company, Inc.