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

Show us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, entirely economical and completely sustainable advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property units, a coffeehouse, a service 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 always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is important is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. That amount of cash impacts the budget of daily families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say 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. I believe the lesson is that union structure is crucial.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment features industry leaders and topics associated with speeding up a fair and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and performance history of developing constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting transform neighborhoods and their effect on the world. 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 start your business?
I had 2 turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas bill. And so, sadly, we had our gas and heat turned off. For around a year in my teens, we had to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I dont care what happens the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is progressing; those minutes are with you permanently. As I talk about that with different groups around the nation, it has become clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
The second essential moment was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things around the world. People were being available in to request a financial investment around renewable energy, and I postured a question to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is amazing, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that aid 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 income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families often reside in multi-family structures, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to call specific households and the expense of getting those individuals informed and then subscribing to renewable resource is not a favorable company design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace forever. So I stopped my job. I believe I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the general public real estate where I matured. So everything is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and focused on improving their lifestyle

Inform us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody should have access. Somebody, some entity, has to work as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone. Thats what my mission is, and luckily we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new areas this fall

So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners work with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly searching for partners to invest, use financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are also always going to host individuals if they wish to see a few of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had gain access to. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Because I think that has real worth, Im always challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with completely different viewpoints. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.

I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always important. We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to.