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

I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are likewise always ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically havent had access.

Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody should have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and fortunately we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some new areas this fall

So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. Then, if there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big deal. Were currently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing beside us and saying “these communities deserve financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners do service with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, use financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are also constantly ready to host individuals if they wish to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had access. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Due to the fact that I believe that has genuine value, Im always challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great just to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about people with totally various perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big distinction.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment includes market leaders and subjects related to speeding up an equitable and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions 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 professional with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his knowledge and performance history of producing constant returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their influence 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 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 business?
I had two essential minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas expense. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
The second pivotal minute was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things all over the world. Individuals were being available in to request a financial investment around renewable resource, and I presented a question to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is spectacular, and the expense of solar is coming down, however how does that aid daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households often live in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to call individual families and the cost of getting those people informed and after that registering for renewable resource 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 market permanently. So I stopped my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I began my company. Because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Whatever is I do is targeted to families in those situations and focused on improving their quality of life

Show us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely affordable and totally sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 domestic units, a cafe, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That quantity of cash effects the spending plan of everyday households
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a service, any company, was going to be difficult. With that said, access to capital is ungodly tough. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks dont want to invest; they dont wish to partner; they dont wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made extremely small, incremental development. I think the lesson is that union structure is important. My voice just implies so much, however the more I can bring good friends to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement