Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.

So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always important. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do organization with you?
Today, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, provide debt or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are also constantly happy to host people if they wish to see a few of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to. We are also going to be expanding our board. Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has genuine value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with absolutely different point of views. I like the networking.
I believe we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment features industry leaders and subjects related to speeding up an equitable and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the renewable resource 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 realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and track record of developing constant returns with an individual passion 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 influence on Americas transition to a tidy economy.
FOUND OUT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to begin your business?
I had two pivotal minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas bill. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The 2nd turning point was probably 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things around the world. People were can be found in to ask for a financial investment around sustainable energy, and I presented a concern to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is spectacular, and the cost of solar is boiling down, but how does that assistance daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their income on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare inquire about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households often live in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to contact specific families and the cost of getting those people educated and then signing up for sustainable energy is not a favorable company design.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace forever. I quit my task. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I began my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the general public housing where I grew up. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and focused on improving their lifestyle

Inform us about your company? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all communities, all families, everyone should have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.

Show 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 collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffeehouse, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
When people learn who is behind our business, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it. To me, thats quite rewarding. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is necessary is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were aiming to cut energy expenses for families in half. Thats a huge offer, you know. That quantity of cash effects the budget of everyday families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were constructing 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 think the lesson is that union building is crucial.

I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also constantly willing to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had gain access to.