Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally sustainable and totally economical development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffeehouse, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is necessary is we have a financial effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. Were aiming to cut energy expenditures for households in half. Thats a big deal, you know. That amount of money impacts the budget plan of daily families
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable real estate 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 building is crucial.
So 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 always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a big offer. Were presently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of products to support our tasks. Normalizing exposure, standing beside us and stating “these neighborhoods are deserving of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always looking for partners to invest, provide 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 exclusive; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that historically havent had access. We are also going to be expanding our board. Because I believe that has real worth, Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with totally different perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features industry leaders and subjects related to accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment 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 finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his expertise and track record of producing constant returns with an individual passion for assisting change neighborhoods and their influence 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 clean 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 two essential minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas expense, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas bill. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily people. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. I named it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up.
Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody must have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, needs to serve 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, however we will be revealing some new places this fall
I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise always prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. 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.