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

Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, areas you operate in, primary customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone needs to have access. Someone, some entity, has to act as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and thankfully we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be announcing some new places this fall

So 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 valuable. Stabilizing 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 business with you?
We are likewise constantly ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to. Im constantly tough leading 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 terrific just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with absolutely different point of views. 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 huge distinction.

I think there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise always prepared 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 building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had gain access to.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics associated with accelerating an equitable and simply shift to an eco-friendly energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and performance history of developing consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting transform neighborhoods and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact on Americas transition to a tidy economy.
FOUND OUT 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 two turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making ten bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas bill. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I do not care what happens the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is moving on; those minutes are with you forever. As I speak about that with various groups around the country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
The 2nd essential moment was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things worldwide. People were can be found in to request a financial investment around renewable energy, and I posed a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is amazing, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that aid everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the everyday individuals. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households often 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 structure owners, you have to contact individual families and the cost of getting those individuals informed and after that signing up for sustainable energy is not a beneficial company design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace permanently. I stopped my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my company. Because that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those circumstances and concentrated on improving their quality of life

Share with us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, entirely economical and entirely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic systems, a coffee shop, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
When individuals learn who is behind our company, I think there is always a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is necessary is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. Were aiming to cut energy expenses for families in half. Thats a huge offer, you understand. That amount of cash effects the budget of daily families
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any organization, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and state that were developing 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. Some banks dont wish to invest; they do not want to partner; they do not want to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to eliminate here, and weve made very little, incremental development. I think the lesson is that union building is very important. My voice just means a lot, but the more I can bring friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement