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

So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak directly with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big offer. Were currently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners do service with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, use financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are also always happy to host people if they want to see a few of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Im always tough magnates to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about people with completely different viewpoints. I like the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.

Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, primary clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture 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 a fair and just shift to a sustainable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his expertise and track record of creating constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping change communities and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a clean 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 two essential moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas expense, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas costs. Therefore, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut off. For approximately a year in my teens, we had to boil water and carry it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely hard times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I dont care what happens the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is moving forward; those moments are with you forever. As I talk about that with different groups around the country, it has become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
The second essential moment was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things around the globe. People were being available in to request for a financial investment around eco-friendly energy, and I positioned a concern to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is spectacular, and the expense of solar is boiling down, however how does that aid everyday 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 confused that I would even dare inquire about the daily individuals. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households typically live in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to call private families and the expense of getting those people informed and after that registering for renewable resource is not a favorable service 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. I quit my task. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my business. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up. Everything is I do is targeted to households in those situations and focused on improving their quality of life

Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, entirely budget-friendly and totally sustainable advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential 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 believe there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have a financial impact that resonates with individuals, and its a quite effective message. That quantity of money effects the budget plan of daily families
What difficulties do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that union structure is crucial.

I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also always ready 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 structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had access.