Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, primary customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all communities, all households, everybody needs to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.
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 valuable. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are worthy of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can prospective partners do service with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, offer debt or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are likewise constantly willing to host people if they wish to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had access. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Because I think that has genuine worth, Im always challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific just to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with totally various perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.
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 installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation includes industry leaders and topics connected to speeding up an equitable and simply shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the renewable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his proficiency and performance history of creating consistent returns with a personal passion for assisting transform communities and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence 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 start your company?
I had 2 turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas bill, and she was only making ten bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas costs. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut off. For around a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and bring it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what happens the rest of your profession or what your quality of life is progressing; those minutes are with you permanently. As I discuss that with different groups around the nation, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
The 2nd turning point was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things around the globe. Individuals were can be found in to request for an investment around renewable resource, and I presented a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is spectacular, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that help daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families often live in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to call private families and the expense of getting those individuals educated and then signing up for renewable resource is not a favorable business model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace permanently. I quit my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my company. Since that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those circumstances and focused on enhancing their quality of life
I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are also always prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology 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 traditionally havent had access.
Share with us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, completely sustainable and completely inexpensive advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic units, a cafe, a company 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 people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is very important is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. Were intending to cut utility costs for families in half. Thats a big deal, you know. That amount of money effects the spending plan of everyday families
What difficulties do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any service, was going to be difficult. With that said, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks dont want to invest; they do not wish to partner; they dont want to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made extremely little, incremental development. I think the lesson is that union building is very important. My voice just indicates a lot, however the more I can bring friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need