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

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

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 constantly important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. Then, if there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge deal. Were currently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods deserve financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are also constantly prepared to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically have not had gain access to. Im always difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I think that has genuine value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent just to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with totally different perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics connected to accelerating an equitable and simply shift to a sustainable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and track record of creating constant returns with a personal passion for helping 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 effect on Americas transition to a clean economy.
CHECKED 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 received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas costs. 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 up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick with you. I dont care what happens the rest of your career or what your quality of life is progressing; those moments are with you permanently. As I speak about that with different groups around the country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a great thing
The second turning point was probably 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was purchasing a host of things around the world. Individuals were can be found in to ask for an investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is incredible, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that help everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? 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 live 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 get in touch with individual households and the cost of getting those individuals educated and after that registering for renewable resource is not a favorable 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 market permanently. I quit my task. I think I kipped down 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 general public real estate where I matured. So whatever is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and concentrated on enhancing their lifestyle

Show us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be building a $30 million, totally economical and completely sustainable advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property systems, a cafe, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
When people discover who is behind our company, I believe there is constantly a shock. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it. To me, thats quite satisfying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is very important is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. Were intending to cut utility expenses for households in half. Thats a big offer, you know. That quantity of cash effects the budget plan of everyday families
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable housing 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 crucial.

Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you run in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everyone ought to have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.