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 individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is amazing. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Stabilizing exposure, standing beside us and saying “these neighborhoods deserve investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do service with you?
Today, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly trying to find partners to invest, offer financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are likewise constantly happy to host people if they wish to see a few of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had access. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Im constantly difficult magnates to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with absolutely different perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big distinction.
Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone needs to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and fortunately we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new places this fall
I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are also always prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally havent had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment includes industry leaders and topics associated with speeding up an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his know-how and track record of developing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect 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 begin your company?
I had 2 essential moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas expense, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas bill. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my business. I named it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.
Share with us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, totally sustainable and completely budget-friendly development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 domestic systems, a coffeehouse, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
When individuals discover who is behind our business, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it. To me, thats pretty gratifying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is essential is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. Were aiming to cut energy expenses for households in half. Thats a big offer, you know. That quantity of cash effects the spending plan of daily households
What obstacles do you face? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a service, any organization, was going to be hard. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not want to invest; they do not wish to partner; they do not desire to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made extremely little, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that coalition structure is essential. My voice just means so much, however the more I can bring pals to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need