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

Show us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, completely sustainable and totally economical development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property systems, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. Were aiming to cut utility costs for households in half. Thats a huge offer, you understand. That quantity of cash impacts the budget of everyday households
What challenges do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a service, any company, was going to be hard. With that said, access to capital is ungodly challenging. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they do not wish to partner; they dont want to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made very small, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that union structure is essential. My voice just suggests a lot, but the more I can bring friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need

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

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics connected to accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the eco-friendly energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets specialist 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 combine his know-how and performance history of developing consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact 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 business?
I had 2 pivotal moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The second turning point was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things all over the world. Individuals were coming in to ask for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is magnificent, and the expense of solar is boiling down, but how does that aid daily people?” 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 puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the daily individuals. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households often reside in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to contact private households and the cost of getting those individuals informed and then registering for eco-friendly energy is not a favorable service design.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace forever. So I quit my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my company. Because that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to households in those circumstances and concentrated on enhancing their quality of life

What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthy of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners do service with you?
We are likewise constantly willing 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 building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had access. Im constantly tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and finding out about people with absolutely various point of views. I like the networking.
I believe we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge difference.

Tell us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you operate in, primary consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all households, everyone needs to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.