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

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

What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak straight with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. Then, if there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
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How can potential partners work with you?
We are also always willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access. Im always tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has genuine value
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How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about people with absolutely various point of views. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.
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By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment features market leaders and subjects related to speeding up a fair and simply shift to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are flourishing in the renewable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and performance history of producing consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas shift to a tidy economy.
LEARNT 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 2 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas expense, and she was only making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt afford the gas bill. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For approximately a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and carry it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick to you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving on; those moments are with you forever. As I discuss that with different groups around the country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, whichs not a good thing
.
The 2nd pivotal minute was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things around the world. People were can be found in to request for an investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar companies is incredible, and the cost of solar is boiling down, but how does that help everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily individuals. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households frequently reside in multi-family structures, and it is difficult to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to call specific households and the cost of getting those individuals informed and after that subscribing to eco-friendly energy is not a beneficial business model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace forever. So I stopped my job. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my business. Since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life
.

Share with us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, totally inexpensive and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 property units, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
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What impact are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That amount of money impacts the spending plan of daily households
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What obstacles do you deal with? 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 wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition structure is important.

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

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