Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Share with us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, totally cost effective and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential systems, a coffeehouse, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is very important is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. Were aiming to cut utility expenses for families in half. Thats a huge deal, you understand. That quantity of money effects the spending plan of daily families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that union structure is important.
What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is amazing. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge offer. Were currently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods deserve investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners do company with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always looking for partners to invest, offer financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are also always going to host individuals if they desire to see a few of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had access. We are also going to be broadening our board. Im constantly tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has real worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering people with completely different point of views. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.
Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you run in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all communities, all families, everybody must have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.
I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always important. We are likewise constantly ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment features industry leaders and subjects related to accelerating an equitable and simply shift to a sustainable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the eco-friendly energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his proficiency and performance history of producing constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform communities and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a clean economy.
READ MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to start your company?
I had two critical moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt afford the gas expense. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The second essential minute was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things around the world. Individuals were can be found in to request an investment around renewable energy, and I posed a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar companies is spectacular, and the expense of solar is boiling down, however how does that aid daily people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the daily people. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households typically reside in multi-family structures, and it is hard to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to call individual households and the cost of getting those individuals informed and then registering for eco-friendly energy is not a beneficial service design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. So I stopped my job. I believe I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my company. Since that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those circumstances and focused on enhancing their lifestyle