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

Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you run in, main customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody should 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 learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are also always prepared to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had access.

What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak straight with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is incredible. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were currently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Normalizing direct exposure, standing beside us and saying “these neighborhoods deserve investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners do service with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, offer financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the very 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 neighborhoods. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that traditionally havent had gain access to. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Because I believe that has genuine value, Im constantly challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent just to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning about individuals with completely different viewpoints. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment includes market leaders and topics associated with speeding up an equitable and simply transition to an eco-friendly energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his expertise and track record of developing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting transform neighborhoods and their impact on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas shift to a clean economy.
LEARNT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to begin your company?
I had two pivotal moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas expense, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas expense. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the everyday people. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I began my company. I named it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up.

Show us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, entirely sustainable and entirely budget friendly development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential systems, a coffeehouse, a business 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 discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were intending to cut energy expenses for households in half. Thats a huge offer, you understand. That amount of cash effects the budget plan of daily households
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable housing 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 crucial.