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

Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you run in, primary customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone must have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to function as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and fortunately we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be revealing some new places this fall

Show us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, completely cost effective and entirely sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential units, a cafe, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
When individuals discover who is behind our business, I believe there is constantly a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. To me, thats quite fulfilling. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is crucial is we have a financial impact that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. Were intending to cut energy expenditures for families in half. Thats a big deal, you understand. That amount of money impacts the budget plan of everyday households
What difficulties 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 communities are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that coalition structure is essential.

I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always important. We are likewise always ready to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people once a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access.

So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners do company with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, use debt or buy some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are likewise always ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically have not had access. We are also going to be broadening our board. Because I believe that has genuine value, Im constantly difficult leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with absolutely various perspectives. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big distinction.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment features industry leaders and topics related to accelerating a fair and just transition to an eco-friendly energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his know-how and track record of producing consistent returns with a personal passion for assisting transform communities and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition 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 begin your company?
I had two essential minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas bill, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily individuals. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up.